If there’s one thing that everyone should aspire to do, it’s own a place as gorgeous and relaxing as Doe Bay on Orcas Island.
And while that may not have been something that Joe Brotherton had on his bucket list years ago, it actually happened for him, as Brotherton came in and helped rebuild the island camping site to what it is today.
One of the many things that helped revive the resort was the Doe Bay Fest, which just completed its seventh annual music event this month.
Bringing together bands and music lovers to the greatest of the great Northwest, Caffe Vita had the opportunity to serve coffee and sponsor the festival, interacting with a number of fans and different musicians.
We also got the chance to sit down with Joe Brotherton himself to get a little background on the event and see some of the other projects he has his eyes on to host at Doe Bay.
How did an attorney and CPA in training come up with the idea for Doe Bay Fest?
“I was a musician as a kid, playing in rock bands from age 11 to about 17, and then started playing jazz after that. I’m a real estate guy, so, as far as buying Doe Bay, it was kind of a hobby project for me and I had the good fortune of making enough money doing other stuff that I was able to do this. In terms of doing the festival, I just tried tying the music in with the scene. The idea literally started around the dinner table with my five kids, with all of us tossing around the thought of doing a music festival, and one thing just led to the other.”
What’s your favorite thing about Doe Bay Fest weekend?
“The biggest surprise to me is just how fast Doe Bay became the coolest place to play, from the musicians point of view. We actually turn bands down now, that we would have begged for six years ago. In terms of good things from Doe Bay Fest, I mean, I’ve made 20 new memories from this weekend. We’ve had a lot of fun.
You know, the secret shows that we used to do that, well, aren’t so secret anymore, we used to hand out like 20 little tickets, but all of the kids who were handing them out kept telling me that everyone they tried giving them to already knew about it, so we knew that this wasn’t quite a secret show any longer. The plan for the first one was supposed to hike through the woods with some guys and have a small gathering, but instead of being 40 people, it was like 300.”
Is there anything that is at Doe Bay that is really significant?
“So there’s a lion statue down by the bay that has been here for as long as I can remember. Right after I first bought Doe Bay, all of a sudden it was gone. It was just a concrete block there for a long time. A few years later in our newsletter that we used to do, I put a fake ad in there that read something like, “Lost Cat,” and I put some pictures of the old lion from various people in there. Anyway, a family who comes and stays every year as like a family retreat, I get a call that said an artist was going to come and install our new lion, and that the Holt family had paid a very well known sculpture named Tomas Vrba to come and do it. They actually bought us that lion and now all the kids hang and sit on it. It’s a huge part of Doe Bay, and is one of the coolest things.”
What other events do you host on Doe Bay?
“We have music year-round now, because there’s music at the café each week. And then we do a yoga studio show, too. We also do a little bit of theater stuff, like Shakespeare last week. And then Write Doe Bay has sort of just taken off, which is becoming a bigger and bigger deal. And that’s a good one, because the quality of authors we’re getting is really good. This year we have had a load of weddings, with every weekend in July being a wedding. It’s been a good challenge for our staff with everything going on.”
How did you get connected with Caffe Vita?
“The vibe has just been really good with Caffe Vita. My buddy Pearl Nelson—who works at Vita—kept emailing me about it. Vita has just been really low key and everyone loves the coffee, always suggesting to go there when in Seattle.”