While working as a marketing consultant, Bill Burke had the opportunity to travel extensively across the United States. Everywhere he went, it seemed, he would find a food or music festival. He knew the people of Spokane enjoyed food and live music and had a light-bulb moment.
“It seemed natural to try to do it here in Spokane,” he said. And thus, Pig Out in the Park was born. The inaugural event took place in 1979. Burke admittedly didn’t have too difficult a time getting Pig Out up and running, although it did take a while to make sure everybody was onboard.
“Really the issue with the event every year is finding enough people to participate to make it financially viable to do it, and we’ve never had any problems doing that,” he said. “We’ve been very fortunate being able to find participating vendors and then also sponsors that wanted to be involved and align themselves with the event.”
As far as growing pains go, Pig Out, which is celebrating the big 4-0 this year, has had it relatively pain-free. On the food side of things, Pig Out will feature 57 food booths, 245 menu items and four beer/wine gardens.
Burke said vendors come back to Pig Out year after year because it’s a good vendor event. They don’t get rich, he said, but it’s a good return on their investment. Along with those returning vendors, trends in the marketplace help Burke and his team determine which new vendors will be at Pig Out.
This year, Burke said attendees can expect to see a lot of authentic Hispanic food. Of course, live music is the other big draw for attendees, and over the course of Pig Out, there will be 75 concerts on four stages from local, regional and national acts.
This year’s festival will feature headlining performances by Creed’s Scott Stapp on Thursday, rapper Coolio (Aug. 30), Southern rockers Black Oak Arkansas (Aug. 31) and power-pop band the Posies (Sept. 1).
Stapp released his third solo album, “The Space Between the Shadows,” in July, and Coolio has juggled music, acting and cooking for years. Black Oak Arkansas released “Underdog Heroes” in May, and the Bellingham-born Posies are no strangers to Spokane, having performed at the Bartlett in January.
These concerts will all be on the Lilac Bowl Stage. When considering the entertainment, Burke tries to make sure the festival features something for everyone, although families get a little extra attention.
“We want to make sure it’s that kind of environment where everybody feels safe and fun, and the music adds to that,” he said. Burke said the headlining shows bring about 12,000-15,000 people to the park. Pig Out also will feature a public market featuring clothing, accessories, craft vendors, face painting, henna, local businesses and more.
“People like going to Riverfront Park right off the bat,” Burke said. “It’s a great environment to put on an event. Spokane likes live music and Spokane likes food, and bringing them together into the park and making it inexpensive and making the entertainment free, that all caught on. I think Spokane likes the value of it all.”
Looking ahead to the future of Pig Out, Burke hopes the festival can continue to operate as it has for years, bringing a mix of food and fun to Riverfront Park. “One of my heroes is Walt Disney, and Walt Disney believed successful events had something for all five senses,” Burke said. “That’s what I do at Pig Out. I make sure there’s something for all five senses so you’re fully entertained.”
Here’s the complete Pig Out in the Park entertainment schedule:
Wednesday: Lyle Morse (noon), Chris Molitor (2 p.m.), Chris Rieser and Jay Rawley (4 p.m.) and Casey Ryan (6 p.m.)
Thursday: Sara Brown (noon), Neil Elwell (2 p.m.), Dave McRae (4 p.m.) and Kicho (6 p.m.)
Aug. 30: Mark Holt (noon), Rudy Kubler (2 p.m.), Keith Conant (4 p.m.) and Cheryl Branz (6 p.m.)
Aug. 31: Echo Elysium (noon), Meghan Sullivan (2 p.m.), Bubble and Squeak (4 p.m.) and Colin Burgeson (6 p.m.)
Sept. 1: Miller’s Sun (noon), Steve Simmons and Steve Sackett (2 p.m.), Kyle Swafford (4 p.m.) and Bret Allen (6 p.m.)
Sept. 2: Ken Davis (noon), Just Plain Darin (4 p.m.) and Andy Rumsey with Phill Brannon (6 p.m.)
Lilac Bowl Stage
Thursday: Sunflower Dead (5 p.m.), Messer (6 p.m.) and Scott Stapp (7 p.m.)
Aug. 30: Cordell Drake (7 p.m.) and Coolio (8:30 p.m.)
Aug. 31: Limberlost (6:30 p.m.) and Black Oak Arkansas (8:30 p.m.)
Sept. 1: Bad Saint (6 p.m.) and the Posies (8 p.m.)
Wednesday: Shaiden Hutchman (noon), Joey Anderson (2:30 p.m.), Justin James (5 p.m.) and Deschamp! (7:30 p.m.)
Thursday: Steven King (noon), Starlite Motel/Blue Canoe (2:30 p.m.), Zaq Flanary (5 p.m.) and Kevin Shay Band (7:30 p.m.)
Aug. 30: Jolynn Hutton Yates (noon), Ashley Pyle (12:45 p.m.), Joshua Belliardo (1:30 p.m.), Meghan Sullivan (2:15 p.m.), James Walker (3 p.m.), Jody Piper (3:45 p.m.), Darren Eldridge (4:30 p.m.), H.J. Lally (5:15 p.m.), Lucas Brookbank Brown (6 p.m.), Clinton Lane Darnell (6:45 p.m.), Steve Livingston (7:30 p.m.) and Jacob Vanknowe (8:30 p.m.)
Aug. 31: Nicki Felten (noon), William Nover (12:45 p.m.), Tommy Gantt (1:30 p.m.), Ian Nixon (2:15 p.m.), Nathan Chartrey (3 p.m.), Aleisha Maureen (3:45 p.m.), Rusty Jackson (4:30 p.m.), Jason Perry (5:15 p.m.), Donnie Zero (6 p.m.), Kevin Dorin (6:45 p.m.), Routes (7:30 p.m.) and Bendi and Friends (8:30 p.m.)
Sept. 1: Maxie Ray Mills and Steve Sackett (noon), Spokane Songsmith Challenge Finalists (2 p.m.), Hillyard Billy’s (4:30 p.m.), Cassandra Wheeler (6:30 p.m.) and Spare Parts (8 p.m.)
Sept. 2: Pages of Harmony (noon), Nathan and Cameron (1:30 p.m.), Released From Quiet (4:30 p.m.) and Sovereign Trio (7 p.m.)
Wednesday: Daniel Hall (noon), 3D Band (2 p.m.), Sidestep (4 p.m.), the Nudge (6 p.m.) and Celebrate with Peter Rivera (8 p.m.)
Thursday: Sidetrack (noon), Elephant Gun Riot (2 p.m.), Bobby Patterson Band (4 p.m.), Indian Goat (6 p.m.) and Too Slim and the Taildraggers (7:30 p.m.)
Aug. 30: Doghouse Boyz (noon), in-flux (2:30 p.m.), America’s First Corp Band “Courage” (4 p.m.), Robin Barrett and Coyote Kings featuring Tiphony Dames (6 p.m.) and Teresa James and the Rhythm Tramps (8 p.m.)
Aug. 31: Desja Eagle Tail (noon), Atari Ferrari (2 p.m.), Civilized Animal (4 p.m.), Sovereign Citizen and the Non-Prophets (6 p.m.) and Super Sparkle (8:15 p.m.)
Sept. 1: Dragonfly (noon), Milonga (2 p.m.), Nu Jack City (4:30 p.m.), the Redneck Bees (6:30 p.m.) and Sammy Eubanks and the Workin’ Class (8 p.m.)
Sept. 2: Evergreen Afrodub Orchestra (noon), Ictus (2 p.m.), A Rave Up (4 p.m.), Trailer Park Girls (5:30 p.m.) and Kosta la Vista (7:30 p.m.)
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