Tom Walker, left, Russ Link, Randy Hudson and Tom Fisher are The Rural Characters, circa 2019, coming together April 7 for a Clinton Community Hall benefit performance. They hope to put “the septic slush fund over the top but not above ground.” (Photo provided)

Tom Walker, left, Russ Link, Randy Hudson and Tom Fisher are The Rural Characters, circa 2019, coming together April 7 for a Clinton Community Hall benefit performance. They hope to put “the septic slush fund over the top but not above ground.” (Photo provided)

Septic system fix gets final push from DrainFest

‘Rural Characters’ reunite for benefit with ‘waste-free’ golden oldies

A blast from the past is helping ensure the future of Clinton Community Hall.

The Rural Characters, a longtime, good-time bunch of South Whidbey guys, will strike up the band and test the pipes of the hall’s new septic system on Sunday, April 7.

Called DrainFest ‘19, the early evening of song and dance promises “20 years of waste-free golden hits” and other potty puns.

The members of the Rural Characters are known for their humorous original tunes with island-life-based lyrics, especially about depending on undependable ferries.

The band consists of Tom Walker, Tim Fisher, Randy Hudson and Russell Link, who is stepping in for original member Gordy Adams, who died in 2015.

“This concert in Clinton with a new fourth member, Russell Link, is officially our first reunion as The Rural Characters,” Fisher said. “Clinton is special to us because we all live in Clinton and have always felt that Clinton needed us as much as we need Clinton.”

DrainFest is a way to thank the community for raising nearly $14,000 to fix the hall’s six-decade-old septic system, which needed to be completely retrenched and replaced with new lines and tanks following a near collapse in December.

The hall stayed open for many scheduled events but without indoor restrooms or the use of its kitchen.

But a few more repairs are still needed.

“Nothing we have done to improve the hall has come without unexpected surprises, and the septic system has been no different,” said Catherine Billera, president of the Clinton Progressive Association that oversee’s the popular South Whidbey meeting and event center. “While the community came out in full support with wallets open, for which we are immensely grateful, we encountered several issues that increased the expense.”

Billera said the old firehouse foundation had to be removed in order to provide a reserve location, the old septic tank needed to be deactivated and an old oil tank had to be drained and removed.

“This concert will be the answer for those additional expenses,” she said. “We are hoping for a huge turnout.”

The band planned everything, including contacting Cozy’s and Island Nosh about providing food to sell. About the show, Fisher said: “We’ll be doing 17 songs at DrainFest and are hoping to put the septic slush fund over the top but not above ground.”

— DrainFest’19: From 5:30-7 p.m., Sunday, April 7 at Clinton Community Hall. There will be a benefit concert with food available for purchase donated by Cozy’s Roadhouse and Island Nosh. $15 suggested donation. More information:www.facebook.com/clintoncommunityhall

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