Homer Alaska - Arts

Story last updated at 3:42 PM on Wednesday, July 18, 2012

KBBI's Concert on the Lawn entertains for 33 summers

By Michael Armstrong
Staff Writer


Photographer: McKibben Jackinsky, Homer News

Homer Band "Work In Progress" performs at the 2010 Concert on the Lawn, starting with "Memphis," written by the band's bass player, Jenny Martin, third from left.

It might be kickin' it old school, but when you have a classic like KBBI AM 890 Public Radio's annual Concert on the Lawn, why mess with success? Take two days of a summer weekend, mix with a line-up of Alaska's best musical acts and stir with a venue that has the best view in the world and you get the biggest outdoor musical festival in town.

Next weekend, July 27 and 28, Concert on the Lawn returns for its 33rd year. That's long enough for toddlers who went to the first festival in the old Homer Intermediate School gym to bring their children. Like the 33 and a third revolutions-per-minute of vinyl albums, call it a long-playing tradition.

Once again, Concert on the Lawn is at Karen Hornaday Park. The concert got its lawn name when KBBI had offices in what's now Town Square and held a concert in its backyard. Now it's uphill in town at the best city park on the Kenai Peninsula with a panoramic view of Kachemak Bay.

The program committee that organizes the line up has a simple plan, said KBBI general manager Dave Anderson.

"We try to establish a flow as the day progresses," he said. "The music gets a little louder and a little livelier."

Take Saturday's program. The Rubber Boot Leggers starts off the day with sea shanties. You might have heard some of them at the Salty Dawg for the Wooden Boat Festival. OK, that could be pretty lively, come to think of it.

Anchorage musician Emma Hill, who played at Bunnell Street Arts Center last year, brings her strong voice to the afternoon. A singer-songwriter with two albums out, in her original compositions she sounds like a young Allison Krauss.

JoAnn and Monte keep the groove going. That's Monte, by the way, as in Mr. Davis, our own Homer Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center director.

"They go way back to the early to mid-1970s in Fairbanks, where I first saw them perform," Anderson said. "I've been a fan ever since. I'm really glad they moved back down and got selected for the show."

Another classic Alaska act playing Saturday is Gary Sloan, known for his blues and experimental music, but lately into Americana. Sloan just had his 1980 Harmonitalk album re-released by Finders Keepers records in the United Kingdom.

"We're really thrilled to have Gary and his band performing," Anderson said. "He's just an Alaska musical icon."

Concert on the Lawn favorite Nervis Rex from Anchorage follows Sloan.

"They really rock the stage and get the dancers going," Anderson said of Nervis Rex, a ska band from Anchorage.

Superfrequency, heard recently at the Down East Fest, rounds out the evening.

On Sunday, new singer Janessa Blackmore from Seward will be very entertaining, Anderson said. She plays the hot, hip new instrument, the ukulele.

"She really has just something about her," Anderson said.

Popular Homer group Seafaring Strangers brings its mix of modern folk music with eclectic influences. It started with lead singer Sally Wills performing sea shanties with Dave Gerard and has grown to include Tim Quinn, Knute Tonga, Steve Mueller, Jeff Szarzi and Kathy Stingley.

Johnny B, known for his boogie-woogie piano playing, mixes it up with his rockabilly band, The Pink Slips. Other performers on Sunday include Feeding Frenzy, a high-energy folk band from Fairbanks, 907 from Kenai and local bar favorite, The Holy Santos Gang.

Concert on the Lawn is KBBI's biggest fundraiser, with squads of volunteers already building the stage and getting the event ready. After long debate, KBBI raised ticket prices $2 for adults and a $1 for youth under 18. Tickets are $22 a day for adults and $11 a day for youth — but youth get in free if accompanied by parents or guardians. Proceeds go "to keep the programs and the Bush Lines on there," Anderson said.

"We just appreciate the support from the community for this event and hope everyone comes out to join us and have a good time."

Michael Armstrong can be reached at michael. armstrong@homernews.com.


Photo by McKibben Jackinsky

A trio of tiny dancers gets the party started at the 31st annual Concert On the Lawn Saturday afternoon at Karen Hornaday Park.

KBBI Concert on the Lawn

WHEN: Saturday-Sunday, July 28-29Gates open at noon both days; music starts at 1 p.m.

WHERE: Karen Hornaday Park

TICKETS: Tickets are daily $22, $11 youth under 18 (free with parent or guardian)


Noon-10 p.m.

The Rubber Boot Leggers

Jon Crocker

Dan "Dirty D" Pascucci

JoAnn and Monte

Emma Hill


Gary Sloan's American Music

Nervis Rex



Noon to 9 p.m.

Janessa Blackmore

Jackie Schafer & the Standard Deviations

Seafaring Strangers

The Pink Slips

Beer Money

Feeding Frenzy


Holy Santos Gang

*Band line-up is subject to change

No parking: In front of residences, South Peninsula Hospital,Kenai Physical Therapy