Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Alaskan and National Acts to Share Stage at Sitka’s Homeskillet Fest, July 15-18 by Lia Chang

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In 2006, Nick Galanin, the founder of Homeskillet Records who is an accomplished visual artist, musician and multi-instrumentalist, created the Homeskillet Fest to showcase Alaskan musical talent and give Alaskan artists a chance to share the stage with professional musicians.

Sponsored by Sitka-based independent record label Homeskillet Records, the Festival is now in it’s fourth year with Langhorne Slim, whose summer tour includes stops at Lollapalooza and the Newport Folk Festival, as the featured headliner. The Homeskillet Fest runs July 15-18 in Sitka.

Each evening of the festival features performances by Alaska-based musicians or musicians with ties to Alaska, followed by a headliner from the Lower 48. More than 20 folk, rock, blues and hip hop acts are slated to perform over the four-day festival.

Highlights of the Festival include Chicago-based bluesman Steve Arvey on July 15, Michigan-based rockers Breathe Owl Breathe and San Francisco’s Sonny Smith on July 16, Seattle hip-hop artist Macklemore on July 17, and New York folk-rocker Langhorne Slim on July 18.

More than half of the performers in this year’s festival have recorded and released albums with Homeskillet Records. Each night of the festival is dedicated to a different style of music, and the festival opens on Wednesday, July 15 with Homeskillet artists Lee Asnin and Strummin’ Dog playing a set of acoustic blues at 7 p.m., before Avrey — who has a 30-year history in the Chicago blues world — makes his Homeskillet Fest debut.

Thursday’s focus is singer-songwriters, with an evening show at the Sheet’ka Kwaan Naa Kahidi Community House. Homeskillet act Jed Delong of Kotzebue and festival regular Kaninau from Hawaii will open the evening. Sonny Smith, who has performed at the previous two Homeskillet Fests, will follow, and Breathe Owl Breathe will close out the night.

Friday is hip hop night at the festival, with a 7 p.m. show at the Sitka ANB Hall. Mackelmore, one of the most popular hip hop acts in the Pacific Northwest, headlines the evening. Homeskillet Acts Rockwell Powers of Seattle and Phonetic of Sitka will also perform, as will Indefinite Etiquette of Anchorage. Meathead and Half Smoked are also on the evening’s bill.

The Festival concludes Saturday with Langhorne Slim’s performance at Harrigan Centennial Hall. A one-time musical guest on the Tonight Show with David Letterman, Langhorne Slim has generated almost 1 million hits on his myspace page and may be the best-known performer to play Homeskillet Fest to date.

Silver Jackson's new CD 'Thought I Found Gold'

Silver Jackson's new CD 'Thought I Found Gold'

Joining Langhorne Slim on the bill Saturday night will be Homeskillet acts Silver Jackson of Sitka, and GEO and Jack Ruby Presents of Portland, Oregon. Mark Verne and Sitka girl group the Sugar Shakers will also perform.

Festival tickets are available online now at Tickets will also be available at various Sitka businesses beginning in early July.

Silver Jackson’s new CD ‘Thought I found Gold,’ is a 9 track album featuring guests musicians from across the globe, including Breathe Owl Breathes’ own Andrea Moreno-Beals. Click here to purchase.

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