Back in the swing of things: Bayview Corner Street Dances return
— Created July 21, 2021 by Kacie Jo Voeller
By Kacie Jo Voeller
The sounds of summer have returned to Bayview, with bands playing every two weeks at the beloved Bayview Corner Street Dances.
The dances are held Wednesdays from 6-8 p.m. at the Bayview Cash Store located at 5603 Bayview Road. Admission is free, with beverages available for purchase. The event is put on by Goosefoot, a community organization committed to promoting a thriving South Whidbey. This year’s lineup will include Janie Cribbs and the T.Rust Band July 28, Western Heroes Aug. 11, PETE the Band Aug. 25, and Eric Vanderbilt-Matthews Quartet (EVM Quartet) Sept. 8.
Sami Postma, special events and education coordinator at Goosefoot, said the community is excited to have the dance back after last year’s cancellation due to COVID-19 concerns.
“It is a tradition that people have dearly missed and so we are really excited and glad that we can bring those back,” she said.
Postma said the event’s organizers are taking a number of steps to follow safety standards while continuing to create a fun and welcoming atmosphere for all. She said updated guidelines will be posted on Goosefoot’s website as well (goosefoot.org).
“We are readjusting how the bar works, so that people can have more space,” she said. “We bought more hand sanitizer stations as well so we are buying what gear we need and we are keeping an eye on what the current regulations are.”
The event is another way Goosefoot works to bring people together in the Bayview area and beyond.
“One of the biggest parts of our mission is to connect neighbors and really build a sense of community and place in Bayview and street dances are always great for that,” Postma said. “It is a place for friends to come out and see each other and it is a place to meet new people.”
Inclusivity and accessibility for all are also a key piece of the event, Postma said. She said the posters and social media posts for the dances had also been translated into Spanish.
“The dances are free for everybody,” she said. “We do not charge anything and these are not fundraisers for us. We just wanted to provide an equal and open space for everybody to come no matter what their situation is. There is plenty of parking (and) the buses go right by there.”
The bi-weekly event offers plenty of variety in terms of music, Postma said.
“We have a lot of different bands, too,” she said. “There is something for everyone, we do not just stick with one style. Pretty much our only requirement is: ‘Can people dance to this?’”
David Licastro, guitarist and vocalist of local band Western Heroes, said a number of factors make the event a great one.
“There are no age requirements,” he said. “Families can come out, children can come out and I have been teaching music in the community since 1980. And so it is great to be playing and have young students be able to be there and see what I do, which if you are playing in a wine bar, that just does not happen. So that sort of complete community involvement that includes all ages makes this very special.”
Licastro said he felt it was important for people to be able to reconnect with others in the community as COVID-related restrictions lift.
“It is hard to put that in words, but I think people are so ready to get out and be with other people that they used to be with on a somewhat regular basis,” he said. “And to have an event like this, I think it is really important for people’s basic morale.”
Western Heroes brings music meant to be “danceable,” Licastro shared.
“Stylistically, we are all over the map, from playing kind of punky polkas to rhythm and blues and sort of country-oriented stuff,” he said. “It is just whatever we do so long as it makes people want to move. We do some cover tunes, but typically they are hand-picked, they are not necessarily something that was in the top 40, it is just our favorite songs that we would like to do. But most of it is original.”
Dave Draper, guitarist for PETE the Band, said the event is one the group looks forward to playing year after year.
“The thing that is really special about it is how unpretentious it is,” he said. “It is just about people standing around in a parking lot with a band playing and having a beer and seeing people that they know really well.”
Draper said some on the island have even called the band “Whidbey’s quintessential garage band,” and said he felt the street dances in Bayview could also be seen as a quintessential island event.
“What I really like about it is, it is kind of one of the last remaining vestiges of what the Whidbey community was like some time ago,” he said. “We see all of our friends, there is no stage really separating anybody, so people come wandering down and wander around the stage and they are standing next to you.”
After not being able to play the event last year, Draper said both the band and the community are looking forward to the return of the dances.
“There is a huge sense of relief that it is happening because we are in such a crazy time right now,” he said.
Draper said the event is a great place for people to connect and offers a chance for the band to share its music in a fun and community-oriented atmosphere.
“Whidbey is a special place, and for us it is an opportunity to go and play,” he said. “One of the things I like about it is that we can turn up – no one tells us to turn down or tells us to do this or do that. They just do a really good job and it is always fun.”
For more information and updates, visit goosefoot.org.