Northwest Festival Season is Gearing Up
AH! Do you smell that…? That oddly arousing and pungent smell? Of course you do. That’s the smell of thousands of dehydrated, sunburnt drugged out hippies, hipsters and bros alike that have spent a couple hundred bucks to have their minds forcefully taken advantage of—for a weekend—by music from all over the world . Welcome to festival season! We, Northwesterners, are spoiled because we live in an area of the nation that seems to have something superb each weekend! I understand how difficult it is to decide which to choose (shit, I’m in the same boat as you every summer) Believe me, the best are yet to come and you don’t want to miss out. Tune in, pull out your debit cards, and educate yourselves on the 5 best music festivals the PNW has to offer this summer with our guide and playlists below.
Summer’s not over so get out there.
Timber Music Festival July 26-27th
Spovangelist recommends: Hobosexual, Kithkin, Ivan & Alyosha, Quasi
Heralded as “innovators in art” by City Arts Magazine, Artist Home (also known as co-organizers of the Doe Bay Festival and producers of the popular Slack Fest and Artist Home Summer Bonfire Series) brings us—this weekend–the very first Timber! Music Festival, a rural alternative to Capitol Hill’s Block Party featuring some of the Northwest’s top singer-song writers, inc: Portland’s atmospheric-rock duo the Helio Sequence, and Seattle’s dream-pop Lemolo, in the woods man! Staged near Carnation, Tolt-MacDonald Park is a densely forested 574-acre property situated at the confluence of two rivers, Timber! continues Artist Home’s vision of uniting music, community, and the beautiful natural environment of the Pacific Northwest, this is sure to be an affordable event not to miss for the whole family!
PRO: Seattle’s Kithkin playing in their natural habitat, the Cascadian woods, hopefully it’ll go something like this.
CON: Where the hell is Carnation, Washington
PICKATHON (Happy Valley, OR) August 2nd-4th
Spovangelist recommends: King Tuff, Foxygen, Ty Segall, Veiux Farka Toure
I’ve been to plenty of music festivals, in this country and in Europe, and, quite simply, Pickathon is my favorite. The idea behind Pickathon has always been to make the best weekend festival of the year for music lovers.
Through the years, the Pendarvis Family Farm has hosted a diverse lineup of great music in six unique performance venues, with each venue creating its own separate reality. Not only have they managed to keep the crowd density low but they are the only large music festival (IN THE ENTIRE COUNTRY) to eliminate plastic and minimize single use items. They have recruited the finest food and beverage purveyors and they are focusing constantly on eliminating “normal” festival hassles, thus enabling individuals, couples and families to relax and enjoy. But don’t take my word for it, ask around. The festival’s reputation precedes itself Luckily, tickets are still available here; scope the lineup here and check out our Spotify playlist — to help you brush up on artists performing! Last years highlights included: Thee Oh Sees, Handsome Furs & Dr. Dog.
PROs: Andrew Bird playing in the middle of the woods at 10pm.. Plus its all, environmentally safe and stuff.
CON: SHOWER LINES
Summer Meltdown (Darrington, WA) Aug 8th-11th
Spovangelist recommends: Xavier Rudd, Emancipator, Monophonics, Blake Noble
Summer Meltdown is the “largest locally-produced independent camping and music festival in the Pacific Northwest.” The Summer Meltdown was founded by the band Flowmotion in 2000, as a community-based music festival on San Juan Islands relocating in 2006 due to immense popularity to Whitehorse Amphitheatre in Darrington, WA. Nestled at the foot of majestic Whitehorse Mountain the festival is held each August and features over 30 bands on three stages in three days. If you haven’t been to the Whitehorse Amphitheatre and/or you are looking for a summer distraction that’s kid and environment friendly, and you love some quality jams, you’ll love Summer Meltdown. Highlights last year included: Pickwick, Beats Antique & EOTO.
PRO: Gorgeous place for a festival
CONS: Same weekend as Doe Bay! Plus there are too many jam bands. What is this, the 90’s?
DOE BAY FESTIVAL (Olga, WA) Aug 8-11th
Spovangelist recommends: Shabazz Places, Tomten, Fly Moon Royalty, Cumulus
Music, arts, food, and Orcas Island. How the hell have I not heard of this?! This weekend festival is set in arguably one of the most scenic and beautiful areas of the NW. This wonderfully intimate festival should not be overlooked. Also, the resort is breathtaking. Shit, its ALL breathtaking. Tickets don’t include accommodations, so you gotta make those on your own. I’ve been told its even worth it to campout in your car. Highlights from last year include: Pickwick, Kithkin, Champagne Champagne and Damien Jurado.
Pro: Located on Orcas Island. PNW beauty at its finest.
Con: Tickets sold out in less than a day! So if you—indeed—scored one of those golden tickets, treasure it and have a good time, damn it!
Music Fest Northwest (Portland, OR) Sept. 3rd-8th
Spovangelist recommends: Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Charles Bradley, Pickwick, Dan Deacon.
Portland, stand up! Your city rules, man. Set the weekend after Bumbershoot, MFNW is basically Bumbershoot’s cool older brother. (Let’s be frank here, the quality of Bumbershoot has gotten worse over the years. Its kind of like the sibling your parents don’t like to talk about.) What makes this so unique, like Bumbershoot, you have A PLETHORA of bands to delight people of all ages to see perform all over the city! Intimate to large. Highlights from last year include: Swans, DIIV & Moonface.
Pro: it’s a music festival, IN PORTLAND! And there’s no sales tax. Also, extremely good price for the amount of bands you’ll be seeing. This festival is one of the reasons why the Northwest trumps everyone.
Con: Too many festivals this summer, we’re all going to be broke.
**I would like to throw an “honorable mention” to Total Fest in Missoula, MT! I’ve heard nothing but good things about you guys! I regrettably can’t make it out that way this year, but hopefully can next year. Let’s just say you’re a lovely woman, it’s not you, it’s me. I’ve discovered that I have a mild form of epilepsy and you bring on attacks because you make me too excited to be around you.