Artesian Rumble Arkestra

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Motivation for starting the band

An early core of this band (begun in 2007 and operated under various names such as the Peace Bandits, the Olympia Free-Radicals) was motivated by ethnomusicologist Charlie Keil, to infuse public gatherings, especially political gatherings, with joyful music. The band had an infusion of new people and new energy in 2008, also with the similar purpose. An early focus of the band – which remains up to the present – is to support a Friday peace vigil in Olympia.

Initial Influences

Band ethics and decision making

The band has no overall leader. We invite band members to step up to the plate, to lead rehearsals, direct on gigs. Usually people bring music/suggestions to band rehearsals. Occasionally we will look for consensus, but ultimately set lists are at the discretion of whoever is leading that gig.

Mission statement/Points of unity

“We play for the socially just….. or the just social”

How the band decides on which material to play

Anyone can bring ideas to the band, in any form. It’s a matter of band preference and how seriously anyone champions certain tunes as what gets into the repertoire. The band takes turns as music director, which is where actual set list decisions are made.


The band is somewhat open to new members but there’s a bit of a vetting process. People can jam with the band during weekly public jams (at the peace vigil). If they’re a fit, in terms of heart and willingness, and if the band is in need of what they have to offer, they invite them to our formal rehearsals. Sometimes, with the band’s permission, the band recruits friends and acquaintances. Rehearsal space is a limiting factor.

Prioritizing gigs

The band has no formal way to prioritize. It makes them feel great when they can add musical energy to the public good. As for disagreements: this has yet to really manifest but in the abstract, they decided that if the band was somewhat split on an issue, that folks could still go play but not call themselves the Artesians.

Dealing with money

When the band does get paid gigs (school graduations, weddings. openings, clubs), they put it into a bank account. They decide on how the money gets used, which has mainly been to subsidize bandmate’s travel to gigs and festivals. Members volunteer to serve as treasurer.

Festival Participation



Honk! Fest West