As a South Whidbey resident and mother of three, I was surprised and saddened to learn that business owner Tim Leonard continues to come under fire from neighbors for providing the safe, fun and low-cost community space that is the Machine Shop.
I have attended most of his Saturday music nights and I’ve watched him maintain a conscientious presence near the door, personally instructing guests to close the door behind them during amplified performances. He’s guided by a desire to provide a safe, enriching space for community members of all ages. I love the way he enriches life on Whidbey for young people, families, visitors and residents of all ages.
Music nights at the Machine Shop are a highlight of life on South Whidbey Island, and a huge relief for someone like me — a single parent making ends meet and unable to afford ferry rides and hotel rooms every time my family wants to hear a live band.
To be able to enjoy the artistry and fun of live music in my home town is a blessing. My two youngest daughters, ages 10 and 13, have been inspired by the music at the Machine Shop and have started their own band. They dream of someday performing there.
I’ve heard other young musicians express what a relief it is to finally have a local venue where they perform before a live audience. Tim Leonard is helping to make Langley a more welcoming home not just for tourists and retirees but also for students and working families.
Tim doesn’t provide live music events to get rich or anger the neighbors. Events are generally free, and donations go straight to the bands. Tim provides live music events to enrich the community to which he has been so committed for so long, and I consider him a pillar of Langley civic life. It would be a tragic loss to Langley’s community vitality if critical neighbors constrain the activities at this safe, warm and beautifully managed venue.