Olympia is the sleepy Washington state capital with 46,000 residents. It’s a college town, with the progressive Evergreen State College providing a lot of its artistic-minded individuals. Olympia also has over one hundred bands—seriously. By that measure, it’s easy to assume that one in every 150 people plays in a band; but it feels at times like it’s much more than that. Over the last three decades, Olympia has held a niche spot on the music/pop-culture landscape. Time even went so far to call it the hippest city in the west long before Portland emerged as a hipster hub—and by some accounts emerged on the backs of Olympia ex-pats.
But Olympia isn’t without its drawbacks. According to the National Weather Service, Olympia has an annual cloud cover of 75%, and an average of 50.8 inches of rain per year. Although it doesn’t have the most total amount of rainfall per year, a three-decade study revealed that Olympia had the nation’s highest number of rainy days on a yearly average. So what does this all mean? Well, Olympian’s have a lot of time on their hands to stay in doors; which really helps you pass the time if you are in a band, which a large portion of the population are.
There is a tendency to write history from one’s own perspective, and scene reports are no different. Over the years I have provided scene reports to publications like Maximum Rocknroll, SSG Music and beyond, and the truth is, I have yet to run out of things to say in this context. While to some the town can feel stagnant, if you look at the vast push of cultural output over the last half-century, for a town of its size, it is staggering.
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