Posted June 28, 2016

Music to Our Ears: Summertime Fests in the PNW


In the Pacific Northwest, music is deeply embedded in the fabric of our surroundings. Immediately after landing at Sea-Tac, travelers are welcomed by tunes piped through speakers by beloved local radio station KEXP. (No smooth jazz in this airport.) Year-round, city-wide stages proudly spotlight talents who call this place home. The  stretches of mountains, lakes and greenery seem to fuel jaw-dropping creativity, and by the time summer finally arrives, everyone’s amped to head outside and crank up the volume.

Portland-Area Parties

In downtown Portland, the Waterfront Blues Festival enlivens Tom McCall Waterfront Park in early July. That same urban space hosts Project Pabst August 27 and 28, welcoming such big names as Duran Duran, Ice Cube, Andrew W.K. and Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats. The punk-focused Warped Tour comes to the Portland Expo Center August 13 with New Found Glory, Less Than Jake, Maine, Reel Big Fish and Waka Flocka Flame.

Portland visitors can buy day tickets to Pickathon—a family-friendly gathering that takes place August 5 through 7 just outside city limits at Happy Valley’s Pendarvis Farm. Enjoy a full day of captivating sets in dreamy settings—think intimate barns and wooded stages. This year’s acts include Jeff Tweedy, Wolf Parade, Beach House, Fruit Bats and Thee Oh Sees.

Where to stay: Kimpton Hotels in Portland

Ashley Genevieve 20140725 Capitol Hill Block Party

Nighttime lights up with the Capitol Hill Block Party. (Photo credit: Ashley Genevieve)

Seattle-Area Sounds

Locals and visitors alike relish Seattle’s summertime extravaganzas like the annual Capitol Block Party, a music and arts bash that takes over six city blocks from July 22 through 24. Three indoor venues and two outdoor stages showcase 100-plus diverse artists from near and far—among them, Chvrches, The Cave Singers, Israel Nash, Goldlink, Odesza and Crystal Castles.

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Clear skies and picnic blankets are the perfect setting for live music at the BECU ZooTunes series. (Photo credit: Romy Brock/Woodland Park Zoo)

All summer long BECU ZooTunes brings outdoor concerts—of all genres—to the zoo’s tranquil North Meadow just five miles north of downtown.  Check out Pink Martini featuring China Forbes and Storm Large (August 3 and 4), Jeff Beck (August 21) and local darling Brandi Carlile (August 23 and 24). Although many shows have already sold out for the popular series held at Woodinville wine mecca Chateau Ste. Michelle, tickets still remain for John Fogerty: Rollin’ On The River (July 29), Culture Club (August 11), Gipsy Kings (August 25), An Evening with Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons (September 2) and Tears for Fears (September 18). These alfresco evenings take place on the site of Washington State’s oldest winery, surrounded by 105 wooded acres and located 20 miles northeast of Seattle.

Folks can buy reasonably-priced day tickets to Timber! Outdoor Music Festival, which happens July 14 through 16 in Tolt-MacDonald Park in Carnation, only 30 miles east of Seattle. Enjoy a laid-back vibe and the sounds of Langhorne Slim and the Law, Telekinesis, Deep Sea Diver and Lemolo. The sweet soundtrack carries into September with one of the city’s best-loved musical and cultural fetes—Bumbershoot—which fills downtown’s Seattle Center over Labor Day weekend. This year, catch stars like hometown heroes Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, plus Deathcab for Cutie, Father John Misty, Billy Idol, Margo Price, Third Eye Blind and Andrew Bird.

Where to stay: Kimpton Hotels in Seattle


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