Sasshoot? Bumberfest? Sub Pop Block Party? There are so many music festivals in and around Seattle, it can be pretty easy to get them all mixed up. Here is a handy guide with dates, locations and links so that you can plan your summer.
Sasquatch: When: May 24-26 Where: the Gorge Amphitheatre Line-up Highlights: Modest Mouse, R.E.M., The New Pornographers, M.I.A., The Breeders, Grand Archives, The Cure, Death Cab for Cutie, Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks, The Blakes, Sera Cahoone, The Cops, The Flaming Lips, The Mars Volta, Built to Spill, The Cave Singers, Kinski My thoughts: A very impressive line-up. Plus many of these artists have not revealed plans to get any closer to Seattle than this. More info: http://sasquatchfestival.com/2008/
Noise for the Needy: When: June 11-15 Where: Various clubs around Seattle Line-up Highlights: The Black Angels, Peter Parker, The Heavy Hearts, Math & Physics Club, New Faces, Lonesome Rhoads & the Good Company, Past Lives, Partman Parthorse, Amateur Radio Operator, Feral Children, Common Market My thoughts: Lots of great shows happening all over town. Proceeds this year will benefit Urban Rest Stop. More info: http://www.noisefortheneedy.org/2008/index.php
Georgetown Music Fest: When: June 13-14 Where: Georgetown neighborhood Line-up Highlights: Helmet, The Hands, Slender Means, Carrie Akre, The Lashes, Skullbot, Helms Alee, and more My thoughts: Last year’s best festival has once again assembled a great line-up of mostly local bands. While you’re in the neighborhood, grab some pizza at Stellar Pizza and a drink at the 9 lb. Hammer. More info: http://www.georgetownmusicfest.com/
Fremont Fair: When: June 21-22 Where: Fremont neighborhood Line-up Highlights: Nothing has been announced My thoughts: Always eclectic, but some years are a little light on established artists More info: http://www.fremontfair.com/
West Seattle Summer Fest: When: July 11-13 Where: West Seattle Line-up Highlights: To be announced My thoughts: Like the Fremont Fair, small but eclectic. The 2006 line-up included big names like John Doe and Kristin Hersh’s band, 50 Foot Wave. More info: http://www.westseattlefestival.com/
Sub Pop 20th Anniversary: When: July 12-13 Where: Marymoor Park (Redmond, WA) Line-up Highlights: The Vaselines, Iron & Wine, Mudhoney, Fleet Foxes, The Helio Sequence, Pissed Jeans, Seaweed, Wolf Parade, Green River, Red Red Meat, Kinski, Grand Archives and more. As part of this celebration there is a comedy night July 11th at the Moore Theatre featuring Sub Pop comedy artists David Cross, Patton Oswalt, Todd Barry, and Eugene Mirman. And on July 12th at the Showbox, The Gutter Twins (feat. Mark Lanegan and Greg Dulli) will be playing a show along with Brothers of the Sonic Cloth (feat. Tad Doyle) My thoughts: Rather than focus on the big commercial successes (Soundgarden, The Shins, The Postal Service), the line-up focuses on the many other great records the label has put out in the last 20 years. And there are still more bands to be added (a Sunny Day Real Estate reunion would really make me happy). More info: http://www.subpop.com/releases/sub_pop/misc/sub_pops_20th_anniversary
Capitol Hill Block Party: When: July 25-26 Where: Capitol Hill Neighborhood Line-up Highlights: Les Savy Fav, U.S.E., Past Lives, The Heavy Hearts, pleasureboaters, Black Elk, Zeke, Akimbo, The Hands, Voyager One, Feral Children, New Faces. More to be announced June 2nd. My thoughts: Last year the festival felt some growing pains. Mainly, more people wanting to see bands playing on the stage inside Neumos than could fit inside the building (If you saw , or wanted to see, Grand Archives, Girl Talk, or The Cave Singers, you know what I’m talking about). This, plus the packed beer gardens lead to many negative opinions of last years block party. Let’s hope this is better organized than last year. More info: http://www.thestranger.com/blockparty
Seattle Music Fest: When: August 10-12 Where: Alki Beach Line-up Highlights: To be announced My thoughts: A mix of Seattle buzz bands, up and coming bands, and a national act or two. This event has been cancelled more than once due to lack of funding. More info: http://www.northwestarts.org/seattlemusicfest/aboutsmf.htm
KEXP BBQ: When: ??? (usually in August) Where: South Lake Union Discovery Park (?) Line-up Highlights: To be announced My thoughts: Now in it’s 6th year, the KEXP BBQ is consistently good. Put on by music lovers, for music lovers. More info: http://www.kexp.org/home.asp
Bumbershoot: When: August 30 – September 1 Where: Seattle Center Line-up Highlights: Beck, Lucinda Williams, Stone Temple Pilots, Band of Horses, Neko Case, Del tha Funky Homosapien, and many more to be announced My thoughts: The general consensus at NWMB is the smaller stages are where it’s at. It’s not Austin City Limits, Sasquatch, or Cochella, but there is still likely to be some great performances. More info: http://bumbershoot.org/
Endfest: When: ??? (Last year it was in September) Where: ??? (Last year it was held in the Qwest Field parking lot, other years it has been held at the White River Amphitheatre) Line-up Highlights: To be announced My thoughts: Personally, I thought last year was great. I saw Social Distortion, The Smashing Pumpkins, Perry Ferrell’s Satellite Party, Bright Eyes, Hot Hot Heat, and Minus the Bear. There was also one stage I made sure to avoid that featured bands like the Used. It’s all going to depend on the way the line-up goes. You know there are going to be the flavor of the month bands that all the Eastside kids, whose parents just don’t understand them, want to see, but it will be interesting to see what indie/underground bands and alternative radio forefathers are put on the bill. More info: http://www.1077theend.com/
Others: The Folklife Festival happens at the Seattle Center May 23rd-26th http://www.nwfolklife.org/. On June 28th, the Wildrose will host an outdoor stage as part of Gay Pride Weekend featuring Hell’s Belles, Coconut Coolouts, The Heavy Hearts and more http://www.thewildrosebar.com/index.html. The What the Heck Fest happens in Anacortes, WA July 18-20 and features Calvin Johnson, Kimya Dawson, and more http://whattheheckfest.com/index.php. Hempfest happens August 16-17 at Myrtle Edwards Park http://hempfest.org/drupal/. The calendar for the Gorge, including the Warped Tour, can be found here, http://www.livenation.com/venue/getVenue/venueId/460. The White River Amphitheatre’s line-up is here, http://www.livenation.com/venue/getVenue/venueId/1224. The Decibel Festival, Seattle’s electronic music festival takes place September 25th – 28th, with other events happening all summer http://www.dbfestival.com/.
If you know of other music related festivals, please list them in the comments space.