Mudstock ready to rock

POULSBO — Bill Austin vowed he’d never throw another Mudstock again, but with just one week until its comeback he’s glad he changed his tune.

The music festival unplugged its last mic in 1996 and Austin said he’d lost so much of his own money in the endeavor that he wrote the event off all together.

But the original goal of fixing up the historic farmhouse at Nelson Park has him bringing it out of early retirement this Aug. 23-25.

“Over time you forget and this year when we needed to raise some more money I said ‘Maybe we should have another Mudstock’ and they all said ‘Yes!’ So, there is a lot of support behind it,” Austin said.

Austin decided just a scant four months ago that Mudstock would be resurrected, leaving a lot to be done in a short period of time. But in those few months organizers have managed to procure 14 bands (including Freddy Pink and the High Tops, who purportedly got back together for the event), six local eateries and plenty of beer and wine to keep the festival running.

“We did actually find Elvis living in the old house and he’s going to make an appearance and I think we might have Janis Joplin there, too,” Austin added, referring to a couple of the more colorful local entertainers planning to attend the event.

One major change for this year’s Mudstock was that it will be held inside Nelson Park, instead of on a blocked-off portion of Lindvig Way as in previous years. Austin said being able to set up the festival prior to 5 a.m. the day of the event will be a welcomed change for organizers, and having all of its streets open is something the city certainly supports.

“That last one made a lot of people angry,” admitted Austin. “But, of course, it made a lot of people very happy too.”

Though it’s not much more than a gutted home at the moment Austin and his group, the Bight of Poulsbo, see potential in the old Nelson farmhouse.

Despite the occasional setback, like having to stop work to have some asbestos removed, most weekends someone is working on the structure. Recently, work on the house has been stopped temporarily to give way to Mudstock preparations.

“I really wanted to have guided tours of the house during Mudstock but the city says it’s not safe so we’re going to rope it off and people can look at it from there,” Austin said, adding that work on the house will resume after Mudstock.

No matter how far along the house remodel is, Austin said one of his greatest joys is knowing he and his group brought the issue to the forefront of people’s minds.

“Six months ago most people didn’t even know where Nelson Park was,” he said.

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