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In the clouds in the city of subdued excitement

Chance of Rain: Enjoy the deep house music of Jamie Schwabl and Michael Manahan

The Blue Room in downtown Bellingham, Wash., doused in blue light during Chance of Rain on Sunday, Jan. 22, 2023. The blue light sets the relaxed mood for Chance of Rain. // Photo taken by Sophie Bechkowiak

“Chance of rain,” a commonly used phrase in Bellingham, is now the name of the newest recurring event at The Blue Room, an all ages event venue located downtown.

Michael Manahan from the Pacific Northwest and Jamie Schwabl from Southern California, two DJs who are now engaged, are the masterminds behind the event. They describe their sound as organic house, deep house and minimal techno.

“For us, it’s an opportunity to expand on how we’re feeling about winter and express that musically and to create an opportunity to bring people together,” said Manahan. 

It is a judgment-free space for people to come and enjoy music that isn’t represented as much in Bellingham, he said.

Schwabl added that Sunday tends to be a day people have off, especially in the service and bar industry. It can be nice to come shake everything off from the whole week, she said.

“It’s darker in these months, in the winter too, so we can begin earlier and sleep well after all that dancing,” Schwabl said. 

One thing Schwabl, Manahan and Martijn Wall, co-owner of The Blue Room, want everyone to know is that while the upstairs portion of the venue is exclusive to those 21 and over, the music is pumped into the lower area for all to enjoy. Everyone is welcome.

The main goal of the event is to create a sense of community, the trio said. It is much easier to create a sense of community with recurring events as more and more faces in the crowd become familiar. 

Recurring events also provide some comfort for the artists to try out new sounds. 

“Once you’re kind of locked in, I do more planning on the creative side so finding new songs to play, trying new things out, things I wouldn’t necessarily feel comfortable doing for a one-off,” said Walt Doyle, a DJ in Seattle. 


A Blue Room sandwich board advertises the venue and welcomes all in downtown Bellingham, Wash., on Sunday, Jan. 22, 2023. Creating an inviting space is an essential part of the Chance of Rain event and the Blue Room in general. // Photo taken by Sophie Bechkowiak

Chance of Rain is meant to play off of Bellingham's unofficial slogan, the city of subdued excitement. Manahan and Schwabl wanted to create a space that brought the slogan to life – a subdued, non-judgemental and inviting space for anyone to unwind in. Free from the stresses from the week prior but more mellow than a Saturday night — deeper, more connected. 

The wheels for this event have been turning since last summer. Manahan reached out to Wall with a business proposal for a weekly music event. Manahan wanted to wait until the upstairs part of the venue could allow alcohol. It was then up to Wall to get the liquor license for the upstairs part of the venue — previously, only the bar section downstairs was 21 and over. The stage and everywhere else in the downstairs portion is all ages. The upstairs lounge is the key to the feeling of the event, which was designed to create the feeling of being in the clouds.

“The energy that they are bringing to this place really matches with what we have envisioned for it,” said Wall. “The music they play is just awesome, gorgeous. You come up here and you can’t help but move. It just draws you in.” 

He went on to say that Manahan and Schwabl have not only invested their time and music, they’ve also put funding into refurnishing the upstairs space. New velvety blue loveseats line the windows and walls. 

Their first event was held in the beginning of January of this year. Since then, Chance of Rain has been held weekly.

Chance of Rain doesn’t have an end date in sight. For now, the group is focused on having fun and seeing where it takes them. You can join them every Sunday from 7 to 11 p.m. at the Blue Room, located at 202 E Holly St. units 301 and 401.

Sophie Bechkowiak

Sophie Bechkowiak (she/her) is writing for the opinion beat at The Front this quarter. She is in her fourth year at Western working towards a journalism news/editorial major and a philosophy minor. On her days off she enjoys thrifting, art, watching documentaries and goofing around with friends. 

You can reach her at  

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