CHEHALIS – His 1971 hijacking of a Northwest Airlines flight from Portland to Seattle remains the only unsolved aviation crime in the history of the United States.
The man popularly known as DB Cooper demanded and received $200,000 in a duffel bag, then parachuted from the Northwest Airlines plane somewhere over Southwest Washington and wasn’t heard from again.
But like many criminals, Cooper couldn’t resist returning to the scene of the crime, and on Saturday will present his Second Annual DB Cooper Music Festival at the Southwest Washington Fairgrounds in Chehalis, the mid-point of his famed flight.
A special correspondent for Lewis County Sirens.com caught up with the notorious hijacker to talk about the upcoming festival.
“I feel kind of bad that the authorities have spent so much tax payer money trying to track me down over the years,” says Cooper (not his real name). “So bringing some smoking hot music to Southwest Washington is my way of giving back to the community.”
Topping the three-stage, all-day musical lineup are names like Curtis Salgado, 2013’s worldwide Blues Entertainer of the Year; six-time Grammy nominee Maria Muldaur; finalist on season one of “The Voice” Vicci Martinez; blues pioneer Alice Stuart, and Capitol Records’ rising star Ethan Tucker.
But that’s just a sampling of the 22 acts that will be landing at the fairgrounds on the day after tomorrow, with gates opening at 11 a.m.
The festival is an expansion of the single-stage event held for the first time last year in Nisqually.
Cooper says he hopes to find a permanent home here in Lewis County, and if the event is successful, to expand it further to a full weekend of music.
“I’d like to see this become a destination event in the future, something that people will make people come from outside the area and stay for a while,” Cooper asserts. “I mean, if anyone knows how to drop some cash into Southwest Washington, it should be me. But this time, I’d like it to be unmarked bills. And I’d like to spread it around a little.”
Cooper says he’ll be at the festival all day, enjoying the music and kicking up his heels, and that he isn’t worried about authorities placing him under arrest during the party.
“People have been turning themselves in to the FBI and claiming to be me for over forty years,” he explains. “At this point, I could walk into any police station in the country and say I’m DB Cooper, and no one will believe me. They will refer me to a local therapist and send me on my way.”
Cooper says his musical vision for the festival is two fold – to bring well known talent to Southwest Washington, but also to turn the spotlight on some great talent from the Pacific Northwest.
“One of the great things about doing this festival is that I get to scout performers in the area,” says Cooper, who himself is an accomplished harmonica and penny whistle player. “And I find that there are a lot of musical treasures that the average person doesn’t even know about.
“I mean SweetKiss Momma? Those guys are some badass Southern Rockers. Sour Owl will rock your socks off with a piano player that’s older than Moses. And I’d be putting a ring on Brittany Kingery’s finger myself if I were forty years younger.
“Seriously, this musical lineup is worth jumping out of a plane for,” says Cooper. “But there will be plenty of parking, so I think it’s easier to just drive.”
The complete festival lineup and advance tickets for the event are available at www.dbcoopermusicfestival.com. Tickets for the full day of music are $35 in advance and $40 at the gate. Festival goers must be 21 or older to attend, and proof of age is required for entry.
DB Cooper Music Festival
When: Saturday, Aug 2, 2014
Where: Southwest Washington Fairgrounds, 2555 North National Avenue, Chehalis, Wash.
Parking: $5 per vehicle
Tickets sales online, here