The conditions couldn't have been more accommodating for a summer arts festival at an old dairy farm 58 miles north of Seattle—sunny but not sweltering, a cool river for swimming, and the shade of an old barn where people talked about the dozens of artworks they'd seen that day. They discussed modern dancers weaving colored rags into a large nest, clotheslines with white fabric that started on top of a riverbank and disappeared into the water below, hundreds of small red flags fluttering in a grid over a slow-moving slough populated by tiny fish.
One piece dominated the conversations: a miniature house by Jordan Schwartz along the path to the Stillaguamish River. (Nearly everyone had seen it, since nearly everyone had gone swimming.) From a distance, it looked like a simple dollhouse. But as people got closer, they could hear it hum with life. Inside, the house was packed with bees—climbing over tiny chairs, swarming against tiny windows, hanging around a honeycomb suspended from the ceiling and dwarfing the house's tiny furniture. From a few steps away, the piece looked like a cute visual pun—dollhouse as beehouse. But close up, peeking through the windows, it looked like a nightmare invasion of giant stinging insects.
Some photos from the festival:
Someone peeking through the beehouse.
Glowing dollhouses on scarecrows.
The beehouse, after the festival and minus most of the bees.
Red flags fluttering in the wind like little fish fluttered in the slough below.
Dingle-dangles? Homey socks? Cozies for your bolo balls?
Jane Austen was a swinger.
The review's conclusion:
Lo-Fi has matured over the years, but it still sometimes feels more like a backslapping community festival with an arts component—rigorous and slapdash by turns—than an arts festival. There's nothing inherently wrong with that. Local artists should have a weekend when they can gather, throw stuff at the wall, and see what sticks. But one wonders, if Lo-Fi continues to grow, whether it will make more room for an intense, varsity-level festival, perhaps with fewer works that show more concentrated effort.
You can read the whole thing—with more about some of the pieces shown above—here.