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Bend-based band Wayward Soul returns to Brokedown Soakdown for the festival's second year

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ayward Soul, a Bend-based eclectic band that blends styles ranging from Americana and roots to soul and funk, played last year's Brokedown Soakdown festival at Summer Lake Hot Springs, and can't wait to return this summer.

"We're going to try to reel it off for the second year," Cameron Harris, Wayward Soul's bassist says. "We have this little seed of an event that we created. People participated and enjoyed and had fun and we're stepping it up. Stacie [Johnson] and Aaron [Chambers] have done a great job with the lineup this year."

The event itself is organized by Johnson and Chambers of Bend-based band Broken Down Guitars, who got the idea while soaking there early last year. The lineup includes Broken Down Guitars, Elektrapod, Goodbye Dyna, Fortune's Folly, Butterfly Breakdown, Zahira, Ubuntu and several other bands from throughout the state.

"We're trying to ramp up the production and take that next appropriate step of what we created and just try to grow this thing and build this thing out there," Harris says. "That really fires me up because you can consume other people's stuff, but I think the real satisfaction comes in creating something. And so I feel part ownership of what they've created just because we as a band were there and helped produce this thing. I'm excited to see it take the next step in evolution."

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ayward Soul got its start about two years ago as part of the Make-A-Band program in Bend. Music producers came, picked musicians who didn't know each other to form a band and they were given a month to create songs for a showcase. Think Battle of the Bands, only this is the first time you're ever met your bandmates.

Now, two years later, Wayward Soul continues onward with an ever-evolving collaboration style.

"It's [the collaboration process] developed a lot," drummer Chad Hester says. "We started more focused, oriented around the country vibe and our singers. Over time, we've gotten to know each other and our different influences have come into play. Cameron Harris, our bassist and I, each have a much different vibe—more funk, rock. I have more jazz, he has more reggae and that started to come into play a little more."

For Grace Cooper, vocalist, pianist, acoustic guitarist and youngest member of Wayward Soul, this is the first time she's been deeply invested in the music scene. Prior to Make-A-Band, she did some busking but hadn't been in a band.

"This has been a really cool experience, beyond anything I could have asked for," Cooper says. "I love that we're still together and still collaborating. Learning how to work with other people through this has been really eye-opening for me as a musician."

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peaking with Harris, Cooper and Hester, the band cannot wait to return to Summer Lake Hot Springs and Brokedown Soakdown. Each credits Johnson and Chambers for their vision and efforts in creating this special festival.

"This place, Summer Lake Hot Springs, is magical," Hester says with enthusiasm. "You're looking out across this massive plain behind this small stage sitting in the middle of nowhere. Behind you, you've got these old school barns and beautiful hot springs you can soak in. To go and soak in a hot springs, stare at a stage while you're soaking and behind it is this gorgeous sunset with the salt flats, it's just unreal. It's such a cool place. The stars at night, you see everything."

Brokedown Soakdown

Fri., Aug 4 – Sun., Aug 6.

Summer Lake Hot Springs

41777 Oregon 31, Paisley, Ore.

$60, includes camping, hot springs and music all weekend.


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