The HUM: The time has come for local oysters

It’s that time once again, time for The Big O, the 29th annual Arcata Bay Oyster Festival, brought to you by Arcata Main Street, who take over the Arcata Plaza overflowing it with food, drink, music and revelry. 

And what would it be with some controversy or other? It’s tradition. 

This time we have a dueling O-Fest south of here, with local brewers in a protest of sorts saying “Shuck, Yeah!” (More on that “local” controversy in a minute.)

First, full disclosure, I will be one of the judges at Arcata’s O-Fest, tasting a slew of oysters, raw and cooked, and other stuff, too much to try actually, but enjoyable. Over 30 local oyster companies and restaurants are represented at O-Fest, some enter the contest, some don’t. Either way, I get my fill. 

O-Fest proper is “same as it ever was,” with the “ritual” Oyster Calling (at noon) Shuck-and-Swallow (at 2 p.m.) and music all day on two stages. The Americana-esque Green Stage has Gatehouse Well, Deadbird Son and Ghost Train. The Flagpole Stage has the jazzy James Zeller Trio, Afro-reggae with JuDrum and Seed’n’Soil, and the always funky Diggin Dirt. Elsewhere, The Lost Coasters have a pedal steel duo.

As is noted (for better or worse), “The Oyster Festival is Arcata Main Street’s only fundraiser of the year.”  To maximize income, they made a sweet deal with SeaQuake Brewery out of Crescent City for beer (with Humboldt Cider Co. supplying cider, and Trinity River Vineyards offering wine). 

Other Humboldt-based brewers were left out, basically because they felt they needed a better deal, one that took into account the local nature of their businesses. 

Six Rivers Brewery in McKinleyville handed buttons saying, “Support Your Local Brewery!” A counter fest, Shuck Yeah! was organized. 

“Do you enjoy local beer? Local oysters? Wanna support both?” they asked, inviting you to join a half dozen local breweries gathering at Eel River Brewery Beer Garden in Fortuna “for our first annual celebration dedicated to showcasing Humboldt County Craft Beer and Humboldt Bay harvested oysters!” Eel River Brewing had a previously planned event, “Summer in the Triangle,” set for June 22 with music and beer, but without oysters. That was cancelled and replaced with what seems to be an anti-O-Fest party.

Yes, they’ll have music, reggae by Irie Rockers (1 p.m.) covers by The Undercovers (3 p.m.) and more reggae by Woven Roots (5 p.m.) Whether this will become a new tradition, pitting one fest against another, remains to be seen.

There’s also “Local Fest” on Saturday at the Jam, described by Pete C. as “an all day event with local music and a local tap takeover… Come support your local scene!!” (Free and all ages.) “So, if you want local beer, you can get it right off the Plaza, with music” from noon on including Elderberry Rust String Band (bluegrass-ish) Shakey: Neil Young Tribute, The Getdown (funky), and Rosewater (your weekly Dead tribute). 

The Eureka Summer Concerts Series celebrates a 22nd season of free shows Thursdays from 6 to 8 p.m. at Madaket Plaza at the foot of C Street in Eureka. Starting June 13 with R&B by Fargo Brothers, then June 20 reggae with Irie Rockers. BTW, they killed the opening for Mykal Rose the other day.) More to come in the series, including more “tributes.” 

In McKinleyville that same Thursday evening, June 13, it’s the other Chamber Mixer, this one for the Humboldt County Cannabis Chamber of Commerce. Bring your business card, buy some raffle tickets at Satori Wellness. You don’t need to be a member to attend, alternating between NoHum and SoHum.

Mojave Green and Lone Star Junction, “two of the most kick-ass Humboldt bands around” offer “an evening of rockin’ Outlaw Country covers and originals that are sure to supply the necessary soundtrack to your beer drinking Thursday night,” at The Jam for a change.

Friday, June 14 is an Arts! Arcata night. Details elsewhere in this section. 

Friday (7 p.m.) Northtown Books welcomes Jacqueline Suskin to read from her new poetry book, The Edge of the Continent Volume Two - The City. You may recall in Vol. 1, she wrote of Humboldt and thereabouts as she sold freeform work at the Poem Store at the Farmers’ Market and elsewhere. The further adventures find her heading south, a “move through the struggle of finding beauty, purpose, and joy in urbanity, and in doing so discovers the infinite inspiration that exists in a place as unique as Los Angeles.” Welcome back. 

Friday evening at The Basement it’s the Greg Camphuis Quartet. “Jazz gets electric!” Need we say more? (Maybe.) 

Returning to O-Day Saturday, The Basement has PD3 (Fred & Junior plus Paul DeMark on drums).

Saturday evening, June 15, it’s the first Outer Space outdoors “Forest Show” of the season. “Meet in the big grass field at Redwood Park at 5:30 p.m. 

The walking audience takes off at 6 p.m. to hear Mash YellowBird, Blood Hunny, Cornbread Willie “and more!” The O-Space folks ask, “Please respect the forest! This show is a safer space for all creatures big and small, animals and plants alike.” Email [email protected] with any questions.

Mazzotti’s on the Plaza has smokin’ reggae on that night by the “legendary” Warrior King and The Rootz Warriors from Jamaica on their “Nuf Fraid Tour.” It’s a 21-plus show, doors at 9:30 p.m. hosted in partnership with Proper Wellness Center, a medical cannabis dispensary in Eureka.

Same Saturday at the Blue Lake Casino presents Cherry Poppin’ Daddies in the Sapphire Palace. Remember “Zoot Suit Riot” from 1997, a song that helped kick off the neo-swing movement? Frontman Steve Perry is still at it. Last year the Eugene-based band released Bigger Life, which Perry says has, “songs that will allow us to touch base with our punk/ska audience [as we] continue to play the all swing, classy theater type shows that are our bread and butter.” So, neo-swing/ska/punk? Why not?

Sunday, June 16, at 3 p.m. at Graves Museum, catch “For the Love of Cohen: Leonard Cohen Tribute Concert,” an intimate afternoon of classic songs by one of my favorite songwriters. Laura Hennings and Patti Hecht aka Gin & Laura are joined by Jerryl Lynn Rubin (piano), Matt Wardynski (clarinet), Randy Carrico (bass) and Jonathan Claasen (drums) for songs they love. Hallelujah!  

Same Sunday, aka “Sundaze” at The Jam, Deep Groove Society has dance music by Ben Annand, Jan van Lier, Marjo Lak, and Joe-E.

I’ve exceeded my word-count and only made it to Sunday. Oh well. Check for more. 





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