TeenFest returns to Sammamish

Sixth annual event focused on local music, building community for teen population.

For Lynette Ecklund, the skate park at the Sammamish Commons is much more than concrete and metal.

After moving away from the area for more than a decade, Ecklund and her family returned to Sammamish in 2012. Of the many changes they found, it is the skate park that has stuck out.

“He lives and breathes skating,” Ecklund said of her elder son Brandon, an incoming freshman at Skyline. “He spends hours here every day.”

Brandon Ecklund was one of a few hundred youngsters at the skate park and Sammamish Commons last Friday for TeenFest, as the Boys and Girls Clubs Teen Center partnered with the city again to host the event geared at integrating teens in the community and showcasing their talents.

Lynette said like most teens, her son faces difficulties in school and skating has become a positive outlet and teaching tool for those moments.

“We tell him everyone learns in a different way,” she said. “He has continued to persevere in school and this is the first event that has resonated with him in such a positive way.”

Along with the ever-popular skate competition, TeenFest also held a battle of the bands featuring seven bands from Redmond to Federal Way, including a trio from Sammamish in SCINITE, Sleepy Heights and Stereotype Nation.

Zach Wenman, who took over as the Club Director for the Teen Center in 2012, said while the event has featured well-known performing acts like The Blue Scholars and even Macklemore in the past, his focus is on providing a stage for local musicians.

“All the bands did a great job this year, and there was some great fan support,” he said. “I’m really big into local music. Maybe we find the next Macklemore.”

Wenman added that while the middle school teens are usually more represented in Teen Center programming and at events, the hope is to put on more events like Teen Fest to bring out more of the high school crowd as well.

“Our high school programs have been more focused on community service,” Wenman said. “It was fun to see such a large high school turnout.”

For the Ecklund family, including soon-to-be high schooler Brandon, that is yet another reason the return to Sammamish came at exactly the right time.

“He has met other kids and was motivated to come out and practice every day,” Lynette said. “It impacts his whole attitude, this is a life-changer for us.”