Doe Bay Festival has always seemed like something out of a cliché screenplay about Seattle's indie music scene. A bunch of bearded dudes and (non-bearded) ladies camping in the woods of a majestic Pacific Northwest island, playing music? What's next, a shot of the Space Needle in the mist? Here's the catch: Doe Bay Fest actually exists—and tickets sell out every year. Given the festival's overwhelming popularity, its producers, Artist Home, have decided to expand their reach with the new Timber! Outdoor Music Festival on July 26 and 27. No ferry trip required for this one. Staged 40 minutes from Seattle in Carnation's Tolt MacDonald Park, Timber! brings regional rock bands and singer-songwriters such as the Helio Sequence, Fruit Bats, Noah Gundersen, Bryan John Appleby, Lemolo, and Kithkin together for two days of concerts and outdoor summertime activities.
For our latest Fiendish Conversation, we talked to Artist Home owner Kevin Sur about adult summer camp, scheduling conflicts with Capitol Hill Block Party, and a new winter music festival in the works.
How did the idea for Timber! come about?
A lot of the creative ideas came out of us just doing Doe Bay Fest and embracing all the things that we really loved, and using that as a foundation for what we wanted to do. From there, we were looking for any place to do a new festival, and King County Parks actually approached us. Having experienced Doe Bay Fest and seeing other events we’d done, they came to us to see if we wanted to bring a big event into one of their parks. It was just a no-brainer.
Are you trying to make Timber! feel like an inland Doe Bay Fest, or are you trying to position it as a different entity?
There’ll be some similarities that can’t be avoided. We’re definitely trying to give it its own identity. I think that the longer we do it, the more the grain of that identity will become apparent. We’re working a lot with local businesses and organizations in Carnation, and I think they’re going to have their own unique elements. The park is much bigger; it’s a little bit easier to access. There are campfire pits at every campsite, so just the sheer element of having campfire pits on that canvas. And we’re doing a lot of outdoor activities that we haven’t done at Doe Bay. We’re having an astrophysicist from UW do a star talk with local astronomy groups. The Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance is doing a mountain bike ride. And we’re trying to do more to celebrate just the culture of camping and the outdoors.
So it’s almost a weekend summer camp for adults?
Exactly. Yes, that’s it exactly. We’ve even put pictures up on our Facebook page from the movie Meatballs. We do want this to feel like a huge neighborhood campout, and like a big summer camp.
Were there any other spots that were considered for Timber! other than Carnation?
Yeah, spots all over the state and even in Oregon. I was probably visiting a new location at least once or twice a month throughout last year: a lot of small farms, like family-owned farms, other parks... But we’re really happy with Carnation and probably couldn’t have launched this without the help of the Parks.
You mentioned local businesses are going to be involved. How so?
We’re bringing music outside of the park—a short walk into a couple of local businesses. One of them is this place Pete’s Grill and Pub, which is kind of a local watering hole that has live music. Two of the bands that are playing Timber!—Hobosexual and Baltic Cousins—are actually going to be playing in there late at night. All of the festivalgoers will be able to go in there for free from 10 o’clock till closing time. On Sunday morning, we’re doing sort of a hangover brunch at another place called Sliders, which is a local restaurant that serves sliders and beer and wine. They’re going to do a breakfast and brunch there, and we’re going to have live music there as well.
As far as the timing of the fest goes, was it a conscious decision to go head-to-head to with Capitol Hill Block Party or something that couldn’t be avoided?
Yeah, we were actually trying to avoid it. We had to give King County Parks a year’s notice in terms of when we were going to do it, and Capitol Block Party had typically been the second-to-last weekend of July, not the last weekend. We didn’t want to be on the same weekend. It wasn’t until we were already announced and out there that we found out when their dates were. It was just an accident. We want everyone to do well.
Which local up-and-coming local bands do you think people should check out?
Hobosexual—who is playing Timber!—hands down one of the best live shows in Seattle. Just unapologetic '70s heavy rock, but amazing musicianship. Another band that we booked for Timber! that I’m really excited about is this guy Vikesh Kapoor, who’s sort of a folk protest singer. You don’t find many protest singers, let alone protest singers that do extremely well. I’m very much addicted to his music right now. Aside from that, some of my favorite bands that I think fly under the radar too much are Cumulus and Dude York, one of my favorite local rock and roll, punk-inspired bands. They remind me a lot of the kind of '80s bratty, Recess Records punk bands. I’ve always been a huge fan of Prom Queen. It’s Celene Ramadan’s one-woman garage rock extravaganza.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
We’re gonna be announcing a new thing we’re doing soon. It’s going to be in January, up in Leavenworth, and involve skiing and lots of music. We’ve signed the papers on it for locations. We’re still kind of working with different resorts and the ski hill. We don’t even have a name for it yet, but we’re going to bring people up to the mountains in the middle of the winter, and it’ll be skiing and snowboarding during the day, music-all-night kind of thing.
Timber! Outdoor Music Festival
July 26 & 27, Tolt MacDonald Park, Carnation, $45–$1,000