ANACORTES — An annual music festival returned to Anacortes on Saturday, with audience members gathering at Causland Memorial Park to enjoy live performances.

The Shipwrecked! Music Fest featured 10 bands, all with local ties. The festival usually accompanies the Shipwreck Day flea market, held the third weekend of July, but the flea market was cancelled again this year due to COVID-19.

Sommer Carter, president of the Anacortes Music Project, said the nonprofit decided to move forward with the music festival only about a month ago. She said the nonprofit wanted to hold the event safely and without having to enforce social distancing and other rules.

There was a lot of interest from local bands in playing at the festival, she said.

“So many people are excited to play,” she said.

Carter said Saturday’s event drew crowds as good as any year. She said live music provides a chance for people to gather in an enjoyable atmosphere.

“That’s the whole reason we put this stuff on is because it makes us feel much more human, and it’s been a while since we’ve been able to feel comfortable around each other and see each other smile,” she said.

The Gift Machine, comprised of Dave and Andrea Matthies, performed on Saturday — the band’s first performance since the COVID-19 pandemic began. The band was formerly based in Anacortes and is now located in San Diego County in California.

Dave Matthies said while playing in front of family and friends was nerve-wracking, it was great to perform in front of a live audience again.

“Anacortes has the best crowds in the world,” he said. “There will be an eclectic mix of music and they’ll sit through all of it.”

Anacortes resident Patti Pattee said she has attended the music festival since it began in the early 2000s.

“Live music I’ve missed the most (during the pandemic),” she said on Saturday. “Music, community, language, dancing ... It feels wonderful.”

Carter said the Anacortes Music Project is planning a larger festival with 20 bands, called AMP Fest, for Sept. 4 at Seafarers Memorial Park.

— Reporter Jacqueline Allison: jallison@skagitpublishing.com, 360-416-2145, Twitter: @Jacqueline_SVH

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