Azalea Festival this. Azalea Festival that.

Unless you've been living under a rock, that's all you've been hearing for the last few weeks andndash; in this newspaper, on the radio and local TV, and on the streets.

And rightly so.

The Azalea Festival is the biggest event of the year for the Brookings-Harbor community.

I've covered the event for more than a decade. However, that's nothing, considering the festival has been happening nearly every year since 1939.

You'd think people would become bored with this festival, moving on to bigger and better things. But, like me, they don't. Enthusiasm for the five-day event only seems to grow each year.

The Pilot's news staff, including me, will be out in force covering the various events.

Our festival coverage began Thursday with a reporter covering the Chetco Community Public Library's giant book sale. On Friday, we dropped in on the Brookings Garden Club's plant and flower sale (which continues today at the Chetco Grange Hall in Harbor). Friday evening, reporter Arwyn Rice and Jef Hatch attended the Vietnam Veterans Roll Call at Brookings City Hall (see story and photos in this issue).

Today, Pilot reporters will fan out across Brookings with cameras and notebooks in hand.

Hatch will cover the 7 a.m. 10K run and the parade, which begins at 10 a.m. Reporter Bill Schlichting will attend the Azalea Festival Program at Azalea Park in the afternoon. Bill and Jef also will cover events such as the car shows, the Party at the Port and the Saturday Night Art Gala.

I will be galavanting about town, covering various events and local music performances andndash; no surprise to regular readers of this column who know of my love for local live music.

By the end of the festivities, Pilot reporters will have filled plenty of notebooks and taken enough photos to fill two entire issues of the Pilot.

Unfortunately, readers will have to wait until Wednesday's issue to see the results of our efforts. Until then, go out and enjoy the festival!


As some of you know, I created a online music blog for the newspaper nearly two years ago. Check it out at

The idea of Coastal Grooves was to use web-based media technology to spotlight music news and events happening in Brookings-Harbor and the surrounding region.

The blog allows me to bring attention to the many talented musicians in the area as well as share some of my music discoveries andndash; local or not andndash; with other like-minded people.

For example, seven items have been posted on the blog this month, including stories, photos, videos, and free music and podcasts that can be downloaded or streamed on your computer.

If you check out the blog today, you will find a five-song podcast featuring a new blues rock group in Brookings called the Spence Brothers Band. You can also watch the new video from Brookings' alternative rock band Slow Children, as well as two videos of the Tony Furtado Trio, which played at Pistol River Friendship Hall earlier this month.

As an added bonus, I posted a podcast called "Covercast" that features about 40 minutes of popular pop and rock songs covered by local and non-local artists.

If you're into music and want to know what's happening on the local music scene, you'll find it at Coastal Grooves.