The third of four Music in the Park events this summer in Centralia will harken back to arguably the most famous outdoor concert in United States history.
George Washington Park will take on the appearance of Woodstock from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday for a free concert by Olympia band Strike 9 presented by the Centralia Downtown Association. The music itself will not resemble the soundtrack of the 1969 spectacle celebrating its 50th anniversary this week, but patrons are encouraged to wear tie-dye and dress up for a costume contest.
“I think it’s such a great opportunity to have a theme based off such an iconic event,” said CDA member and Centralia City Councilor Rebecca Staebler. “Woodstock was the iconic version of ‘music on the lawn’ and I think just the fun feel and people sitting in the grass listening to music, that’s kind of what our Music in the Park has been — people coming together to have a good time, enjoy some good music and enjoy each other’s company.”
Strike 9 plays a mix of classic rock hits from the 1970s to the 1990s and features Centralia High School Class of 1975 member Ross Rutledge on drums and vocals. Rutledge said in a press release that the band plays songs from famous groups ranging from Stone Temple Pilots to Pink Floyd and the Dave Matthews Band. Bass guitarist Mark Fletcher also grew up in the area.
“We’re excited about it,” guitarist Brian Cockrell said. “We’ve played at National Night Out in the park the past few years. (The downtown association) is getting good sponsorship for Music in the Park and we’ve had communication from the business owners about it. I think it’s a good community activity, for sure.”
Along with the music, activities for children have become a staple of the monthly concerts. Staebler said that a bubble machine provided by the CDA has been a big hit and that she’s working to secure a number of other child-friendly activities such as a magic act.
“We might have some other activities that, if people’s schedules allow, they’ll show up. It’ll be an opportunity for some spontaneous things as well, which fits in with the Woodstock theme.”
Attendees of Music in the Park can bring their own picnic food or purchase purchase individual pizzas from Milltown Pizza. The last of four concerts this year will take place on Sept. 14 with a performance by Carnales de Tierra Caliente and a celebration of Mexican Independence Day, which is Sept. 16.
The downtown association revived Music in the Park earlier this year. The series went on hiatus in 2018 following years of on-and-off programming. Maritza Lopez leads the CDA committee tasked with bringing the concert series back to downtown Centralia.
“We’ve had great crowds so far,” Staebler said. “The bands all have a different feel and draw, and the weather has been perfect so far, so hopefully we go 3-for-3 there. I think people have responded really well to having Music in the Park back in Centralia.