'Meltdown' festival producer says show to go on despite mudslide

DARRINGTON, WA - An annual summer rock festival in this hard-hit community will go on as planned this August, despite the deadly Highway 530 landslide.

"We never once thought that we weren't going to do it," says Josh Clauson, producer of Summer Meltdown. "It may take a little longer to get out there, but what we do out there is going to be more important than ever."

Summer Meltdown 14 is set for August 7-10 at the White Horse Mountain Amphitheater in Darrington. Clauson says up to 50 bands will perform on 4 stages. Festival attendees frequently camp out for some or all of the event.

Clauson says he was "stunned, just stunned" when he heard about the slide.

"Our hearts are really going out to everyone who's been dealing with [the slide] over the last couple of weeks," he says. "More than ever people will be ready to pack up and get out to Darrington to support that community."

Clauson doesn't think attendees will be deterred by a detour, if SR 530 remains closed at festival time. "A large majority of our fan base comes from Bellingham," he says. "They'll just take Highway 20 from Sedro-Wolley out to Darrington."

From Seattle, he says, the highway closure would add about 75 minutes to the drive.

The festival is an annual economic boon to Darrington and the surrounding area. Clauson says this year a portion of festival proceeds will go to help the affected communities rebuild.