‘Bellingham and WWU is where it all began,’ and it’s where they will soon return

The rock group Death Cab for Cutie, at the 2006, Grammy Awards, will co-headline a Western Washington University Alumni show in Bellingham May 18 with fellow alums Odesza.
The rock group Death Cab for Cutie, at the 2006, Grammy Awards, will co-headline a Western Washington University Alumni show in Bellingham May 18 with fellow alums Odesza. MCCLATCHY-TRIBUNE NEWS SERVICE

Two music groups with roots stretching back to when band members were students at Western Washington University announced Friday plans to co-headline a benefit show this spring back in Bellingham.

Odesza and Death Cab for Cutie announced their “Double Major” performance scheduled for 5 p.m. May 18 at Civic Stadium will anchor the university’s Alumni Weekend festivities.

“Bellingham and WWU is where it all began,” Death Cab for Cutie’s Nick Harmer said in a press release announcing the event. “And as we have continued on, it’s been amazing to see and hear so much music continue to flow out of Bellingham too. So when we met Odesza our bond of being ‘from Bellingham’ was an instant connection.”

Net proceeds from the show will be donated to WWU’s Alumni Association Scholarship Endowment, according to the release, and a festival-level stage is planned to be erected at Civic Stadium for the event. Chong the Nomad, Robotaki and LipStitch are scheduled to open the show, according to the release.

“We are absolutely ecstatic that these two incredible groups of Western alumni are coming back to Bellingham, all with the goal of helping current and future WWU students,” said Deborah DeWees, Western’s assistant vice president for Alumni Relations, Annual Giving and Advancement Communications and executive director of the WWU Alumni Association. “We’re proud to call them ours, and even prouder that they feel this connection to their alma mater.”

Advance registration for pre-sale tickets is available at doublemajorbellingham.com, and pre-sale tickets will be available for purchase beginning at 10 a.m. Tuesday. Additional tickets will go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday.

WWU Alumni Association members can receive a promo code for a select pool of tickets and a VIP experience, the release said, adding that membership does not require you are a Western alum. Western students also will have an opportunity to receive a code for presale tickets.

For the past year, Death Cab for Cutie has been on the road across North and South America highlighting its “Thank You For Today” album. The band has made TV appearances including of CBS’s “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” and “The Late Late Show with James Corden,” ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” and the “Ellen DeGeneres Show.”

Odesza is on tour after its Grammy-nominated album “A Moment Apart,” including performances at the Staples Center in Los Angeles and the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

“This event has been months in the making, given their incredibly hectic touring and performance schedules, but they made the time for us, and we couldn’t be happier,” DeWees said.

For more information about the Double Major event, contact the WWU Alumni Association at 360-650-3353 or email alumni@wwu.edu.

Civic Stadium first?

Though there are no records to actually confirm it, “Double Major” may be the first concert to be held at Civic Stadium.

“For certain we have not had one since we installed the new turf, and that happened around 2000,” Bellingham Parks and Recreation Director Leslie Bryson told The Bellingham Herald.

Bryson said a number of concert events — mostly of the smaller, local variety — have inquired about using Civic since the artificial playing surface was installed, but the parks department has required a cover be placed over the turf to protect it.

“That’s a bit on the costly side,” Bryson said. “We haven’t had anybody willing to do that, until now.”

Bryson said concert organizer AEG (Anschutz Entertainment Group), which helps organize Bumbershoot, “has been great to work with on this” and was prepared for the cost of putting the protective cover over the turf.

The cover will allow concert organizers to put a maximum of 9,000 people on the field, based on the square footage, and another 3,800 people in the stands, Bryson said.

Before the turf was installed in 2000, Bryson said it was unlikely a concert was held at the stadium, because the varsity football teams at Western Washington, Bellingham and Sehome high schools were the only teams allowed to play on the grass surface and “it was a muddy mess by the time their seasons were done, and it took us most of the year to get it ready.”

“There may have been some much smaller concerts, but certainly nothing like this,” Bryson said.

David Rasbach joined The Bellingham Herald in 2005 and now covers breaking news. He has been an editor and writer in several western states since 1994.