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Former Spokane DJ James Pants headlines Elkfest

Fri., June 6, 2014, midnight

James Pants, who now lives in Germany, returns to Spokane for Elkfest.
James Pants, who now lives in Germany, returns to Spokane for Elkfest.

James Pants is coming home.

The Germany-based deejay and multi-instrumentalist hasn’t performed in Spokane since moving overseas more than three years ago. Saturday, he’s closing out the second day of the 10th annual Elkfest.

An estimated 10,000 fans are expected to get down in Browne’s Addition during this weekend’s three-day extravaganza, billed as Spokane’s premier all-ages outdoor indie music festival. Music starts this afternoon.

Tonight’s headliner is Current Swell, an indie rock band from Victoria, B.C.

“It’s one that a lot of people (in Spokane) don’t know about, but it’s one a lot of people are going to be excited about,” said Marshall Powell, who founded the festival shortly after he began managing The Elk 11 years ago.

At the first Elkfest, in 2005, “We had six bands over two days on a little, teeny stage.” It was, Powell recalls, maybe 6 inches off the ground.

Now, planning for the event begins in January or February. Set-up started Thursday. And, it’s “kind of an all-hands-on-deck” situation for the staff.

“It gets very packed,” Powell said.

Admission is free. There’s a $2 cover – or donation of two cans of food – to get into The Elk’s patio, which expands to the west side of pub, overlooking Cannon Street, for the festival. Cannon Street closes between Pacific and Second avenues for the event.

Pants, aka James Singleton, performed at 2010 Elkfest, playing the last Sunday night slot and headlining the entire event.

He also played a New Year’s Eve show in Spokane that year, just two weeks before moving to Germany with his wife, Kat, and their 2-year-old daughter.

She’s 5 now and, according to Pants, “totally fluent” in German. She’s also been joined by a sister, who’s 1 year old and was born in Germany, where Pants has been touring and making records for indie powerhouse label Stones Throw Records.

Saturday’s performance in Spokane is 3  1/2 years in the making.

“James Pants is going to be great,” Powell said. “He has a big following in Spokane. It’s kind of a homecoming show.”

Powell, 35, who also manages The Two Seven Public House and Geno’s, where he’s a partner, expects this Elkfest to top last year’s event, which he called the “biggest ever.”

That’s in part because Minus the Bear, the Seattle indie rock band that performs Sunday night, “is the biggest headliner we’ve ever been able to get.”

Powell asks festgoers to “be respectful of the neighbors, ’cause they are very cool to us.”

Meantime, “We’re hoping for good weather.”

Powell will be at Elkfest all three days, so look for him. “I’ll be the one with the big, huge, giant sun hat on,” he said.


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