Back to Music

Olympia Acoustic Festival has big plans

Neo-folk world music to bluegrass and folk headed to Olympia Ballroom

Paul Mauer

Recommend Article
Total Recommendations (0)
Clip Article Email Article Print Article Share Article

With Coachella on the horizon and SWSX respectfully behind us, it can only mean one thing - 54 music fest season is officially in swing. The Olympia Acoustic Festival is just one of many in the South Sound, and it's a good one.

In its second year, the all-ages, two-stage festival is Saturday, March 29 at the historical Olympia Ballroom inside the Urban Onion in downtown Olympia.

More than 15 acts are slated to play; headliners are Juniper Circus, Sansel and the Skirt, Oly Mountain Boys, Shawn Smith and Science!

"We have a large variety of music," said Paul Mauer, co-coordinator. "There's neo-folk world music to bluegrass and folk. I wanted to put together a festival that was just diverse enough to pique peoples' interest, but keep the same vibe as last year. I think we captured it."

Mauer, a musician and performer himself, started the event last year with fellow musician Jabi Shriki. The two originally joked about putting together a "beard fest" to help represent the Pacific Northwest music community, but eventually rolled the idea into a viable plan and brought in the name Olympia Acoustic Festival.

Mauer said the fest is named after the city, the historic hotel that now houses the Urban Onion, and the ballroom above the Onion, all of which are named Olympia. The ballroom is where the main stage of the event will be held, along with a beer garden (after 7 p.m.) for 21 and older.

One thing about this festival that differs from most in Olympia is that there are two stages, allowing for more bands, more people and extra activities, such as local art vendors and food from Tamale Fusion. The stage in the Urban Onion is a relatively new addition.

Mauer says it was fortuitous that the Urban Onion remodeled last year, making it easy to hold the event and grow the festival. One point Mauer drives home is the fact that the festival is a way to expose people to new music and to create a network of musicians.

"The main force is the diverse, acoustically driven music of this region," he said. "It is a unique thing ... there are so many events in Olympia - Wooden Boat Festival, Hempfest, Lakefair - and I want try to get this to be an annual thing. I hope to get people out and to support grassroot efforts. That's what the music is about, and having a festival that embraces music camaraderie - people just getting together for music's sake is an Olympia thing. It's just something in the water - we're just hopeless romantics about music - everybody likes each other and everybody wants to help each other out."

For tickets, information and a complete lineup visit

OLYMPIA ACOUSTIC FESTIVAL, 1 p.m. to midnight, Saturday, March 29, The Olympia Ballroom, 116 Legion Way, Olympia, $12-$15, 12 and younger free, 360.259.1589

comments powered by Disqus

Site Search