A national music and outreach tour stopped by Battle Ground’s Kiwanis Park on Wednesday, Sept. 8, filling the park with guitar sounds as the sun set on a late summer day.
Bands who are part of The Extreme Tour took the stage at the park as they toured more than 40 stops for the West Coast iteration of the traveling event.
Eugene-based Plushie and Tennessee-based GR8FRT played for those gathered on one of the later dates on the four-month tour, which has visited the city in years past. Prior to the Battle Ground stop, the tour played in Stevenson, and planned to head to Lincoln City, Oregon, on its next stop, according to a tour calendar.
The Extreme Tour is “a group of artists and creatives who have a heart for communities … that are typically overlooked,” The Extreme Tour West Coast Primary Lead Damon Curtis said.
He said this year’s tour has particular significance given the lack of live music during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“People have been longing for connection, and this is the perfect way to do it, so if for no other reason, it’s just awesome to be able to build those bridges again,” Curtis said. “People have been isolated. They feel alone.”
Even after the music stopped, a handful of kids remained, talking with tour participants and forming connections, Curtis said. The tour’s connection with Battle Ground comes through its connection with resident Renea Miller, who has helped bring the tour to the city a number of times.
“Because of her passion, it’s exciting to partner with her,” Curtis said.
The tour’s appearance at 2019’s Harvest Days was a scheduling coincidence, Miller said. She herself first encountered the tour at X Fest NW in Stevenson and got involved with bringing the tour closer to home.
The tour’s outreach goes beyond the concerts. Miller mentioned the night before members of the tour encountered teens at the Walmart parking lot and made a connection. One teen practiced with a rope lasso, and one of the members of the tour team happened to have professional roping training. During the concert the tour member, John, showed some of his expertise while the music played.
Miller said one of the bands invited a group of local youth to join them for a future concert, highlighting the level of connection the tour makes on its many stops.
“The kids were really moved,” Miller said.