Saturday could be last chance to attend jazz festival in historic Masonic castle

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This Saturday (March 8), YOU can enjoy a great party and share in making a little history at the perfect setting for a classic jazz festival – the historic Landmark Event Center in Des Moines.

It will be a last hurrah with non-stop jazz from 14 bands on three stages, along with dancing, food and beverages. The Landmark has been sold and is unlikely to continue as an event center.

Formerly the “Old Masonic Home,” Landmark is a grand facility of slate and copper, Terra Cotta and Terrazzo, marble and stained glass, and yes, even rumors of a ghost named “George” living on the 5th floor. The architect for Paradise Inn at Mt. Rainier designed the Landmark. The Des Moines facility high on a bluff overlooking Puget Sound opened its giant doors in 1926, just as the vintage jazz to be presented this Saturday was new.

The musicians at Burien Arts Association’s Sixth Annual Highline Classic Jazz Festival, 2:30-10 p.m., will perform a wide variety of jazz styles including early and mid-20th century jazz, from Dixieland, Gypsy Jazz, Blues, Western Swing, Ragtime, Big Band Swing and cool Latin jazz as well as Straight Ahead Jazz classics.

The unique festival features FREE Swing and Latin dance instruction, taught by Walter and Celina Dill Walter is Co-creator of Living Traditions Dance in Seattle and currently runs, based in Whidbey Island and Ballard.

EJ’s Catering will serve a full dinner at $16. The delicious menu features red curry cod or chicken parmesan, seasonal fresh fruit, cheese ravioli with marinara or Alfredo sauce, bread sticks, harvest salad with roasted garlic/balsamic vinaigrette, dessert pastries and a glass of wine.

There will also be two no-host wine bars and a coffee bar from Burien Press.

There is still time to help insure the success of the festival and the Burien Arts Association for now and the future by becoming a festival Individual Sponsor.

For a $100 donation, an Individual Sponsor will receive two festival tickets ($80 value), two tickets for festival drawings ($10 value), back stage passes to the performers’ Hospitality Room and VIP parking right next to the front door.

Each drawing ticket is good for two chances to win a basketful of prizes, including CDs from festival bands, wine, chocolates, gifts from local businesses and more.

To purchase Individual Sponsorships, contact festival director Lance Haslund at [email protected] or 206-550-4824. Make checks payable to Burien Arts.

Festival director Lance Haslund admits he is sad to be losing the Landmark as a venue.

“Jazz festival attendees will truly miss the chance to visit this amazing venue, as will many others who have, over the past decade, attended weddings and other events such as the Poverty Bay Wine Festival,” Haslund noted.

“At this time, the future of the festival is uncertain, “Haslund revealed. “We in Burien Arts want to keep our festival in the Highline area, but no other venue in the area that we know of offers a comparable experience.

As this year’s headliner, Haslund has secured Casey McGill’s Orchestra, a 14-piece group playing Big Band swing.

“Casey is known around town as one of the classic jazz guys,” notes Haslund. “He lives the part. He’s got a little pencil-thin mustache, wears clothes from the era, plays ukulele and coronet and sings.”

Thirteen other top classic bands are also featured. For a full schedule and more information, visit

Tickets are $40 for adults, $35 for seniors (65 and over), and FREE for youth 18 and under. They are sold at Burien Arts Gallery, 826 SW 152nd St., in Burien. Tickets are also available at Brown Paper Tickets,

The Landmark Event Center is located at 23660 Marine View Drive South in Des Moines.

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2 Responses to “Saturday could be last chance to attend jazz festival in historic Masonic castle”
  1. Elizabeth says:

    No where in this article does it point out that the Landmark Center (former Masonic Retirement Home) new owners (or owners to be) have plans to tear down the building.

    • Elizabeth that’s because we don’t report speculative stories.

      I had heard this also, but right now it’s all unsubstantiated, at least from the Des Moines officials I spoke with.

      Do you have some insider info you’d like to share? If so, please email me directly at [email protected].


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