Saturday, September 26, 2015

Doe Bay Fest 8

Joe's View of Doe Bay Fest 8
Rain??  Really?

Fear of Failure... Rain ...

On the Wednesday before Doe Bay Fest, the weather forecast was  100% chance of rain.  It looked like this was the year we would have to implement plan B.  That meant that we were also going to have to develop a plan B.  In the past, every time I started to develop a rain option, a 10 day forecast would take away the pressure and we would simply stick with plan A.  Weather, of course, is one of the items we cannot control.  So it looked like this year might be the end of our winning streak.

What we cannot have here is a failure to communicate!

Managing Expectations

 In the early years, we had to figure out all of the logistics.  In particular in the first year of Doe Bay Fest, we had no idea what  we were doing.  We had no permits and only a very loose plan.  In subsequent years, we had some close calls (Like a headliner canceling 3 days before the fest) but never really fell flat; but that was always a possibility.  That kept it exciting.

 We got better as time went on.  The fear of failure started to dissipate.  Unfortunately, it was replaced by the fear of disappointment.  We  had such good fortune ,that expectations were steadily on the rise.  Now our fear wasn’t that we would fall flat on our face, but rather that we would fail to create the magic and people would say it was fun but not as cool as last year or the year before.  This year, I was secretly hoping that Friday would be killer but Saturday would be rainy and people would say "Meh".  Then I would be able to say confidently that Doe Bay Fest 9 will be better.

But then again, what could be better than this?

I think it was after year one that I contacted my friend Norm Langill who started One Reel Vaudeville Show when we were young and went on to do Bumbershoot, Teatro Zinzanni and others.  He had no time to help me, but said it is simple, "under-promise and over-deliver."  We have tried to keep that in our DNA all of these years.

Jami & Jen - Doe Bay Fest Superstars!

Tough act to follow

Doe Bay Fest 7 was off the charts great.  I am pleased to say that most people report that Doe Bay Fest 8 was the best ever.  The property has fully recovered and, while we are savoring that success, we are already nervous about how to carry on such a tradition.  I am freaked but excited about Doe Bay Fest 9.

Doe Bay Fest 9 - Announcement
(I will send this out in an e-mail to all so everyone doesn't have to shlog through my blog)

o   There will be a Doe Bay Fest in 2016!

o   It will occur from Wednesday August 3rd through Monday, August 8th. 

o   Tickets will be available at the Doe Bay front desk for overnight guests beginning on Halloween weekend (actually the weekend before (The 24th) , since we will have a music event (Day Laborers) that weekend).   [Oh yeah, and everyone who comes to Write Doe Bay on October 9 can buy discounted tickets too!]
Below is another now famous photo of Kris Orlowski serenading a bunch of us on the beach including singing farewells to departing guests.  I include it here because Kris will be back at Doe Bay for Write Doe Bay and will perform at the Yoga studio on October 10th.  Open to Write and non-Write guests!

o   Some Christmas ticket and merchandise packages will be available online in early December. 


o   Some ONLINE TICKET packages MAY be available online from time to time through the Doe Bay Online Store. 

o   Other than that, tickets will be  solely available for overnight guests purchasing in person until the April Fool’s Day. (In the spirit of April Fool’s they won’t actually be available until after that weekend because again, we have a music event and want to make sure anyone attending gets to buy before tickets are released.  If there are any tickets remaining they will be offered to online purchasers as well as overnight guests.

o   Ticket prices will be $150.00.  We will offer a  discount per person to overnight guests through April 3rd or as long as supplies last.
DATE                                                     DISCOUNT AMOUNT
Oct 21, 2015 to New Year's Eve                   $50.00
January 2016                                                   $45.00
February 2016                                                 $40.00
March 2016                                                     $35.00
April 2016                                                         $30.00


Off-season visits 
We’d love to have guests who have experienced Doe Bay Fest, return in a quieter time to see another side of doe bay.  We are open year round except for a couple of weeks just prior to Christmas for major construction projects.  If you are thinking of coming to doe bay fest nine you can save as much as $50.00 per person by making a winter visit, as described above.  There are two possibilities:

1.)    Come up for a quiet weekend.  We have music almost every Friday night in the cafe and various events throughout the year.  However it is still very quiet compared to doe bay fest.



2.)    Come up for a yoga studio party weekend.  We try to allocate one weekend a month and have one or two bands come up and play a Saturday night party.  These have proven to be fun and a taste of Doe Bay Fest without quite as many people.  However 50 people in the yoga studio in winter feels almost the same as 50 people in yoga studio at Doe Bay Fest except for the lack of 1500 people standing outside trying to get in.  If you have a group of people (perhaps your doe bay fest posse) and you have a favorite band or two, please consider being the instigator of a quiet season yoga studio party.  If you have at least 12 people and some favorite bands please look over the dates below and email    It is best if you know the band well enough to determine their availability and interest. 
For Planning Purposes, here are some  dates:

a.)    October 24 – Day laborers - Always a fun show.
b.)    October 31 - Halloween - There are other local events so we don't do a show, but Halloween is on a Saturday night so, if you got inspired to get a band for a Halloween party weekend, we would help and support you.  A friend of Doe Bay, Aubrey, will be having her Birthday that weekend, so you know there will be singing.

c.)     November 20 – Ethan J. Perry

d.)    December 5 – Valley Maker and maybe the Solvents.  I am talking to Bobby Bare, Jr. about spending that weekend with us.  Not firm yet but you may want to make a reservation now.

e.)    December 30 – You pick a band  or just be here for the grand re-opening.  

f.)      New Year’s Eve – Big music party - GEMS.  Maybe the best place in the world to be on New Years eve and day

g.)     January 23 – Available

h.)    Feb 12 to 15 - Valentine’s Day weekend – We always do a romantic music scene.

i.)      Feb 27 – Available

j.)      March 12 – Available

k.)     April Fool’s Day weekend – Available (last weekend before online releases)

 The easiest way to pick a date is to go to our new events calendar on the website... 

Doe Bay Fest Video Contest

Some people were intimidated by the early contest submissions but we had nine submissions.  Please look at the following links. I need your help selecting the best so I need an advisory vote.  Please participate in the Survey. We want to announce winners soon!!



Joe’s Play by Play of the Festival Week


Sunday – Arrived on the Island for a party to support the Funhouse which is a nonprofit on Orcas Island.  I mention it because it was in a bucolic a setting and included good friends, good music and killer food.  In other words, it was the perfect prelude to doe bay fest. Flamenco dancing too!

Monday – our team was so well organized that I spent half of Monday working on the sculpture at Guest house.  My friend Tomas created it and we assembled it the previous week.

That is a tomato to die for!
Tuesday – now the countdown had begun.  People equipment and inventories started to arrive.  I had my last calm meal at the doe bay café.

I have an owner's prejudice, but I love the food at the Doe Bay Cafe.  It is the only place I ever eat where I KNOW that there are no corners cut.  Sysco trucks are not allowed on the property.  I was slow to be convinced that local and organic and unprocessed and made from scratch were important characteristics.  I am now a believer.  You can taste the difference.


Wednesday the pace began to quicken.  A number of clever guests figured out that Wednesday is the new Thursday.

There are always some deer (Does) who come as soon as we start to fence in the field.  I believe that it is now part of lore passed on from Deer Parents to their Deer Children.   "Yes it is some sort of human ritual.  They take over our land and fence us out.  But don't worry child, they get tired and go home."

<<<<<<<Dave Botha (another hugely important person at Doe Bay Fest) convinced his child that we built this huge pen for her and her Dad to play in.

The Tent
I decided to stop looking at the weather report, as it was scaring me.  At that point the forecast was 100 percent chance of rain.  It occurred to me that if they are going to say 100% they could just say it’s going to rain.  We pull the trigger and had our friend Veronica install a tent over the doe bay garden stage. 
We had always avoided tenting because we thought it would change the mood of the place.  I’m sure there are differing opinions, but virtually everyone liked the cover, especially the white mullioned windows in the back.  I know the performers scheduled for the afternoon hot sun shows really appreciated the tent.  By the way it will now become part of our standard operating procedure to install the tent.  If you missed the Ballroom Thieves (shown above), never make that mistake again.


 Two Bar needed to practice making margaritas, so a few good people stepped up to drink them .   If you don't know the story of Scott & Jenny, I will just have to tell you in person;  Suffice to say they are a huge part of Doe Bay Fest and our music community... and they are our friends. 

Thursday we recruited some guests to perform on the beach to welcome, the first of many water taxis.  The wave of excitement built with each new round of arrivals.


We also had Doe Bay Security bless each arrival with incense.

Asha and Juniper showed up unannounced at Doe Bay Fest looking to volunteer, but were determined to be too flakey to use as volunteers because our volunteers need to be so together and they each had one foot planted firmly in the clouds. I was responsible for telling them, but couldn't. So instead I thought... "Play to people's strengths."  I renamed them the "Fairy Dust Twins" and asked them to greet boats. They did so in true Doe Bay style. Joe
Post-script - Our staff has stripped me of authority to make similar decisions in the future... just sayin'.


 Adra Boo and Michele Myers killed it as open microphone hosts.  Adra handle the outside duties while Michelle ran the show in the café.  Adra singing with Pearl was definitely a highlight.  After 10, the café was packed, but not uncomfortably so.  (side note I had been listening to ballroom thieves for months but no one had actually seen them in person.  If there was any anxiety about that, it went away as soon as they played at open MIC.  It was the best performance I have seen in there since Pickwick, Naomi and Isaac Pierce a few years ago.)  If you missed that show hopefully you did not miss them on the doe bay garden stage.  That was clearly a highlight performance. Hi Ho Silver Oh closed things out, but then a 14 year old saxophonist and vocalist ended the evening.


Friday -   I am not going to go through the whole lineup, but it was filled with pleasant surprises. The lineup on both stages looked to be the best Friday we had ever cobbled together and I think it was.  Again, Ballroom Thieves performing at about 150% set the bar pretty high.  Daniel Blue is a creative force to be reckoned with and it worked. 
 Lee Fields soul/R&B review was fun and included some of the best musicianship we have ever had at Doe Bay.  His drummer was an old friend from Quinn DeVeaux's band.


Friday was also Doe Bay Fest stalwart Kevin's Birthday.

Saturday - Filled with pleasant surprises including an old friend returning with a new band.  It was great to see Tyler and AVERS killed it!

The late night Treehouse shows – Part of our Worst kept secrets series.  My favorite part of Doe Bay Fest. 
  Bhi Bhiman was magnificent in the Treehouse on Saturday night!

We added the treehouse as a small crowd venue and Nick Jaina owned the place… In fact, he was going to be sleeping in his vehicle and after his presentation I said, “Please be the first artist to stay in the treehouse” which he did. Nick looped guitar sang and read from his book, Get it While You Can.  I wasn't the only person seriously moved by the performance.

Special thanks to Stelth Ulvang for bringing Nick.
Daniel Blue also made the treehouse come alive.  Hanging over the railing.   The mystery of who was exchanging vocal riffs with Daniel was partly solved, but I can't remember the answer.  Someone from a TV show contest??

Speaking of Stelth Ulvang, what a treat.  I was conversing with Stelth in January, 8 months before DBF8. He said,

If it worked out, though I'm colorado based now, I'd love to bring a small orchestral ensemble up as well.

I think I'd be a great fit,

Thanks for looking up my music and links below. Stelth
I said,
Then his recording schedule made it die on the vine... until....

Then, a week before the fest... he wrote :

    I know it's coming in hot, but curious if there is still a slot for me at Doe Bay this year-

My other band, The Lumineers, has pushed back their recording schedule, and I am now available to attend.

I know before I had mentioned doing something with a small orchestra, and if there were any cancellations, I could still get a chamber ensemble and get up there for a pretty spectacular performance-

Let me know if there is an opening, and otherwise let's plan for next year-

I responded:
It is crazy late but … hmmm yes.  Everything will be tricky about this but it creates a story and I love stories.

 Please keep it a secret as best you can.
That exchange led to some of the greatest moments of the week at Doe Bay Fest 8.  The Saturday Midnight show was incredible as were many collaborations that occurred all weekend.  Thank you Stelth and you are always welcome here.
With Hi Ho Silver Oh
The only shot I got from Midnight show

In the Yoga studio

 Sunday - Incredible music and Slippin and Slidin...  an annual unofficial tradition.



 Other Miscellaneous ---

Photography - The average pictures on this blog are mine and the great ones are from Talitha Bullock; official Doe Bay Fest 8 Photographer

FEEDBACK PLEASE - We try for perfection.  It is relatively easy to please 95% but that last 5 is hard; sometimes because a couple are grumpy (weaned on a pickle as my father used to say) but way more because we blow it and nobody tells us.  Examples – some camp spots were tough (near stickers or whatever).  We will always move you to someplace better if possible.  We will do better at making it easy to ask and you can do better by asking.  Thanks

Champagne Champagne
Swearing from the stage – Probably the toughest issue I faced came a few days after the fest. I received two emails and one letter which noted the problem.   I will share part of my response as it gives my perspective.  My conclusion, which will not satisfy some, is that we will always lead with our values and balance competing interests.    My values are different than some.  I am not offended by curse words.  I am offended by censorship.  I am careful not to judge art.  I can like or dislike but I will not ask an artist to change their art to acquiesce to my preferences.  I am not afraid to have my children or young grandchildren exposed to swearing.  I do not believe that they will be corrupted by hearing words.  Frankly I am more concerned that subtle words which perpetuate racism or intolerance may, by their very subtlety, sway them more than swear words.  So we will try not to offend guests or to limit artists.

 Launching the Boys! -


  One of the best things about Doe Bay Fest has been working with Chad and Kevin.  These are two wonderful individuals.  I am a tough collaborator at times (they might say at most times.)  We have learned a lot together.  What is a creative hobby for me has morphed into a career for both of them and our local community (both the music community and the general community) is better off for their involvement. PLEASE SUPPORT THEM IN TIMBER AND EVERYTHING THEY DO WITH ARTISTHOME!
Jami Mitchell is Doe Bay Fest!  I can't thank her enough!


Tears – I am not a crier.  But as the fest winds down I am sometimes brought to tears.  Usually it is dancing with Maureen while Kevin plays, “that song”.  This year it was random.  I had no idea what to expect at the inaugural treehouse show but Nick Jaina had me in tears… and that was only Friday night.  During Motopony I saw Rebecca Blue sitting under the apple tree.  I am not confident enough to approach tall beautiful women married to one of my dear friends, but I took the chance and held my hand up and she joined me while Daniel launched into “She is Spirit”…. The lyrics, Daniel’s presentation and Rebecca’s warmth didn’t make me cry but made tears flow down my cheeks.  Weird and wonderful like so much of Doe Bay Fest.

Two of my favorite people in one photo!

The Doe Bay Staff - Please give them a big round of applause!
The Brotherton Family

Doe Bay Fest has always been a family affair for the Brotherton Family.  I mentioned from the stage casually that Maureen and I were about to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary.  I was very moved that it was applauded loudly. Maureen is a wonderful partner in life and makes so many things possible.   All of our kids have been involved and in attendance with many of their friends since the beginning.  Maureen and I have 5 children and now six grandchildren. I am hopeful that they will someday realize that Papa is kind of cool for putting on Doe Bay Fest.  Not sure why that is important to me but it is!
Jane Elizabeth Brotherton
My best to any and all who were patient enough to read this.  I hope to see you all at Doe Bay or elsewhere.


Saturday, December 3, 2011

Back to UGANDA (October 2011)

One of the best things about returning to Uganda is to see our little girl and Maureen's namesake,
Daisy Maureen Okodia.  She lives in a village known as Aminocera which is near the small city of Lira which is North of Kampala and on the way to Gulu.  Daisy is the 2 year old daughter of our friends Robert and Eunice.  Their village of Aminocera has become the centerpiece of most of Maureen's work in Uganda.  Daisy has turned into a strong willed little girl in the last two years.  One of my favorite moments from this trip was when Daisy said to a couple other little girls that she was going to play with her Mzungu friends.  She was referring to us using the Swahili term for white people.

Robert showed up to greet us wearing a shirt I had given him several years ago from a company I sold about 8 years ago.  Sweetlix schwag has risen to collector's item status in America and is apparently a pretty hot item in Uganda as well.

We originally met Robert at the White House Hotel in Lira.  We had a hilarious stay there in 2007.  It was a little rustic.  I recall some pretty serious water problems and more mosquitos inside our net than outside.  Every mosquito you killed on the inside was full of bright red blood and the net was dotted with signs of past mosquito deaths.  We have now found much nicer accommodations in Lira, but returned to the White House for lunch one day.  As always I was greeted warmly by the armed guard.