Music and fun at Backyard Bash

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Nothing says summertime like spending a warm evening at an outdoor concert in Walla Walla, where families can gather and sip refreshments on the lawn and listen to some light music together. And at 3 p.m. Friday Wilson Promotions, as part of its 10th year anniversary concert series, will host Backyard Bash 4 at the Walla Walla Wine Incubator Park and give local families the chance to spend a fun, relaxing time relaxing in the sun.

Family friendly music and entertainment will feature bands Quarterflash, The Refugees, Micky and the Motorcars and An Dochas as well as volleyball, disc golf, food and beverages. Promoter Jay Wilson has called it "our biggest event of the summer" and promises a day of fun even if it rains.

Current forecasts predict that Friday's temperatures will be sunny and hot, possibly as high as 100 degrees, but if by some chance random rain clouds settle over the Walla Walla Valley, Backyard Bash will brave the storm and continue as planned.

In terms of entertainment, Marv and Rindy Ross, better known as Quarterflash, made gold- and platinum-selling albums only a couple of decades ago, touring with Elton John and Linda Ronstadt. Their song "Harden My Heart" was a 1980s classic and reached No. 1 on the US Mainstream Rock Tracks and No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100.

The concert charges a $15 entry fee and unused tickets from the first of these two events, Pendleton Convention Center, which hosted the opening Backyard Bash on Sunday, will be accepted. Wilson explained the rarity of such affordable concerts and encouraged those who can to attend the event on Sunday.

"You're not going to find another event in the area that charges $15 or six bands," said Wilson. Despite the recession and spreading thin-wallet syndrome, Wilson lowered the price to a near-nostalgic level, hoping especially to bring a variety of people to the event. "We're rolling back the clock to the price we charged 10 years ago," Wilson explained. "There really will be a great variety of music, something in there for everybody."

As with similar events in the past, Wilson Promotions is pairing up with a local charity to which a portion of the proceeds will be donated. A couple of years back, Backyard Bash contributed funds to the Christian Aid Center in Walla Walla and this year Wilson Promotions will work with the local chapter of Habitat for Humanity. Fundraising opportunities will include a guitar giveaway and a chance for those in attendance to make direct donations to the charity.

Wilson explained his choices for partnering with the international organization, "Well, they have a chapter locally and they've been building houses in the valley for some years now." "I like Habitat for Humanity," said Wilson. "I really appreciate what they're doing. They're putting people in houses they couldn't afford otherwise."

It is the first time the event will be at Wine Incubator Park -- located between Piper and Lockheed avenues near the Walla Walla Regional Airport.

"It's a nice big area to have an event," says Wilson. "Everyone will be able to watch the planes land and take off; it's a great setting for us this year." Backyard bash has been in the Tri-Cities in recent years but this summer Wilson Promotions wanted to bring the event back to its original venue in the Walla Walla Valley. "We live in Walla Walla," said Wilson. "There's a lot of quality here. At the end of the day we want to support Walla Walla."

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