The birthplace of icons like Jimi Hendrix and Nirvana, Seattle has always attracted the top talent in music from pop to jazz to alternative. This summer is no different, as thousands of music enthusiasts descend on the Emerald City to catch their favorite artists and bands at some of the region’s best festivals.
Here are eight not to pass up in Seattle and the surrounding area, all just minutes from The Woodmark:
May 25 – 28
One of the largest multicultural festivals in the nation, the Northwest Folklife Festival showcases the ever-evolving cultural traditions of the Pacific Northwest with more than 6,000 performers appearing over four days at the Seattle Center. Alongside Middle Eastern dancers, Mexican cooking demonstrations, and storytelling (there are more than 100 cultural communities represented), you will find a wealth of musical performances from bluegrass fiddlers to West African drummers to ska bands. And at this free annual festival – now in its 47th year – participation in the arts is as encouraged as observation.
Photo: Christopher Nelson, courtesy Northwest Folklife Festival
May 30 – June 3
A celebration of the creative power of music, the Bellevue Jazz & Blues Festival brings top national and regional artists to various venues across the city for more than 40 performances. Headlining this summer’s festival are Deva Mahal, a powerhouse vocalist and daughter of legendary blues musician Taj Mahal, and Dr. Lonnie Smith, who has been consistently hailed as the most creative jazz organist of our time.
Photo: Shervin Lainez, courtesy Bellevue Downtown Association
June 1 – 3
Miguel, Jawbreaker, and The Flaming Lips are just a few of the artists you can expect to see at Upstream Music Fest, a high-energy, three-day festival that pairs internationally acclaimed artists with rising talent from the Northwest and beyond. In the heart of Seattle’s historic arts and entertainment neighborhood, Pioneer Square, 15-plus venues offer truly personal experiences – with many stages having been curated by industry experts including Nirvana’s Krist Novoselic.
Photo: Sunny Martini, courtesy Upstream Music Fest
June 10 – September 15
An iconic chateau known for its exceptional wines, Washington’s founding winery is also home to a world-class Summer Concert Series from June to September. Since 1984, some of the best artists in jazz, rock, blues, and contemporary music (including James Taylor, John Legend, and The Beach Boys) have taken the stage at Chateau Ste. Michelle to benefit area nonprofits. The 35th year of the festival kicks off with Jethro Tull on June 10, followed by internationally recognized artists like Sheryl Crow, Ben Harper, and Rodrigo y Gabriela.
Photo: Chateau Ste. Michelle
July 12 – 14
A short drive from the city, Timber! Outdoor Music Festival combines music and nature for a festival that is truly unique to the Pacific Northwest. In between spectacular performances from the likes of Car Seat Headrest, Kyle Craft, and Thao, immerse yourself in the beauty of Tolt-MacDonald Park with adventures like kayaking the Snoqualmie River, yoga classes with Sacred Space Movement, and stargazing with astronomers from the Seattle Astronomical Society and astrophysicists from the University of Washington.
Photo: Timber! Outdoor Music Festival
July 13 – 15
One of the best neighborhood parties around is the West Seattle Summer Music Festival, a three-day outdoor gathering that showcases more than 25 talented local bands. The Briefs, Shannon & the Clams, Kinski, and Dude York are just a few of the artists that will take the stage this summer alongside an array of food trucks, local shopping vendors, an art market, beer garden, and even a Sunday Farmers Market. It’s all happening on California Avenue between SW Genesee Street and SW Edmunds Street.
Photo: Andy P. Photography, courtesy West Seattle Summer Music Festival
July 20 – 22
In the heart of Seattle’s Capitol Hill, this neighborhood-event-turned-bustling-festival has seen the likes of ODESZA, Macklemore, and The Lumineers. A consistently diverse lineup has made Capitol Hill Block Party a favorite among both Seattleites and visitors, and this summer is no different with talented national and local artists like Dillon Francis and Father John Misty taking the stage. Over the course of three days, attendees can enjoy an abundance of food trucks, beer gardens, and VIP lounges alongside six indoor and outdoor stages.
Photo: Joshua Lewis, courtesy Capitol Hill Block Party
August 31 – September 2
One of the largest and most-loved festivals in America, Bumbershoot has managed to maintain its creative Pacific Northwest spirit since its inception in 1971. The Labor Day weekend gathering at the Seattle Center not only features some of the biggest names in music – like this year’s J. Cole, The Chainsmokers, Fleet Foxes, and Lil Wayne – but also an immersive lineup of comedy shows, dance performances, art displays, and yoga classes that highlight the best parts of life in the Northwest.
Photo: David Conger, courtesy Bumbershoot
Featured Photo: Ben Lindbloom, courtesy Capitol Hill Block Party
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