When I first met Craig Jewell four years ago, I remember thinking to myself, “Wow. He looks like a kid.” And when he started talking to me, I followed that groundbreaking bit of insight with, “Wow. He sounds like a kid.”
At 22 years old and sporting a pair of flip-flops and a seemingly unflappable happy-go-lucky demeanor, Jewell was, for all intents and purposes, a kid. He was also the newly minted owner of the Wild Buffalo, one of Bellingham’s biggest music venues.
Although Jewell’s flip-flops and easygoing vibe remain firmly intact, in the four years that he’s been at the helm of the Buffalo, he’s proven time and again that a lot of youthful energy—when combined with no small amount of smarts and some brand of otherworldly persuasiveness when it comes to luring bands to his bar—and the ability to take his job just seriously enough while still managing to have a good time can make for a pretty successful business model. Along the way, he’s also silenced naysayers and anyone prone to underestimating him (including me—although my days of not giving Jewell the credit he deserves are long over).
Clearly, this is a kid who knows how to get things done.
When Jewell first bought the music venue, what he purchased was a space that former owner John Goodman had lovingly crafted and built into a haven for blues musicians from this region and beyond. But Jewell had a broader vision and, along with trusty partner Roger Mills (who has been with the Buff in some capacity since long before Jewell could legally enter the bar), set about the task of fully realizing the venue’s potential.
To say that he’s succeeded beyond expectations would be an understatement.
These days, the Wild Buffalo is a stop for all manner of musicians and bands—of all types and genres—on their way from Seattle to Vancouver (and back), and many of these bands and musicians are of a size and level of fame that would suggest they’ve got no business playing a small-town music venue—even one as welcoming and that can draw the kind of audiences regularly found at the Buff. This incredible run of musical luck owes much to Jewell’s dogged persistence (another trait disguised by his laid-back personality)—and the Buffalo’s willingness to making inspired—albeit occasionally risky—booking decisions.
But one recent Buffalo booking choice carried with it no risk: the decision to throw themselves a birthday party and invite all those folks (meaning pretty much everyone) who have contributed to the Buffalo’s past and current success. The birthday bash will take place Mon., Oct. 1 and will feature Tycho and Heathered Pearls, who will provide the music for the raucous dance party the Buffalo has planned for its anniversary. I have to assume Jewell, Mills, and the entire Buffalo crew will be on hand to celebrate, and if you’ve never met Jewell, just keep your eye out for a blond kid in flip-flops who looks like he’s having a better time than anyone else there.
When I was 20 years old, I was exploring my newfound college freedom, weighing the benefits of single life vs. my then-contentious relationship with my then-boyfriend, running up too much… more »
Recently, I was stopped by someone in the street who wanted to know about any/all upcoming shows that her daughter might be interested in attending. Trouble is, her daughter is… more »
Everyone likes to take a little walk down memory lane from time to time. And, depending on your memory and the length of it, you can take your stroll at… more »
Several years ago, after I’d been broken up with by someone I wasn’t dating, a friend soothed my indignant ego with a bottle of tequila and mocked my plight by… more »
Nine years ago, Acorn Project was a band that had just found itself a name, was still honing its sound and while a glimmer of the live-music force they would… more »
In Bellingham, where music of all shapes and sizes can be found, people tend to have strong opinions about their aural entertainment. One person’s bliss-inducing sonic soundscape is another person’s… more »