Colombian artist Lido Pimienta will appear at the first-ever South Sound Block Party in Olympia this year. Photograph courtesy South Sound Block Party.

Planning. Remember a time when it didn't feel like little more than tempting fate? Even though the future of live entertainment is far from certain, it is looking like some of our favorite summer celebrations—music festivals, neighborhood street fairs, whatever Seafair is—are coming back to life. So here's a primer on what to plan for, around the city and the state.

 
 
Music

Belltown Bloom

May 6–7 | The Crocodile and Belltown Yacht Club, $55–295

Mainstays of the local venue circuit Tres Leches and the Black Ends round out a femme-heavy lineup headlined by the buoyant, dreamy indie pop group Alvvays. Also on deck: the silky, buzzy folk harmonies of burgeoning Portland-based outfit the Apricots. 

Fisherman’s Village Music Fest

May 19–21 | Everett, $30–140

This six-stage festival in downtown Everett, which highlights regional indie talent with acts like Seattle’s Deep Sea Diver and Haley Heynderickx of Portland, is a breath of crisp spring air. 

Beyond Wonderland

June 18–19 | Gorge Amphitheatre, $139–209

This two-day trip down the rabbit hole is an Alice in Wonderland–themed auditory buffet for electronic music lovers. Major national acts like Dombresky, Troyboi, and Porter Robinson share the spotlight with exciting homegrown talents Frida K and Weird Waifu. 

Watershed

July 29–31 | Gorge Amphitheatre, $225–1,199

Gear up for the most yeehaw weekend in Washington state. Country music lovers converge on the Gorge at the end of July to see major names like Miranda Lambert alongside rising stars like Canadian Tenille Townes.  

Bass Canyon

Aug 19–21 | Gorge Amphitheatre $249–429

Pyrotechnics, dazzling laser light shows, and enough heavy bass lines and stomach-twisting drops to leave you buzzing for days after the third weekend in August. Decompress from all the headbanging with a trip down the waterslide or some morning yoga at one of the Northwest’s major EDM fests.

South Sound Block Party

Aug 26–27 | Port of Olympia, $45–95

This one is the new kid on the block. Inaugural headliner Bully hails from Nashville, but the band's plaintively nostalgic grunge rock sound—and its membership in Sub Pop’s expansive brood—earns them honorary local status.

Capitol Hill Block Party

July 22–24 | Capitol Hill, $174–365

Block Party is back, baby. Though the ticket prices might garner some raised brows from folks who remember the free admission of yesteryear, big names like Charli XCX, Toro Y Moi, and Diplo don’t come cheap. For those seeking a whiff of the eau de antiestablishment that once clung to this fest: Day In Day Out might be more your speed.

Timber!

July 21–23 | Carnation, $65–150

The name gestures to the fact that this festival takes place amid a gorgeous crush of evergreens, just east of the city, a glittering band of the Snoqualmie River within easy reach. The vibes are resolutely chill, with a lineup that leans folky. 

Day In Day Out

Aug 12–14 | Fisher Green Pavilion, $85–375

Put on by Daydream State, which also produces Block Party, this one is like a sample platter of indie music. Evan Johnson, the company’s talent buyer, explains that it was carefully calibrated to appeal to listeners of all ages, from Mac DeMarco–loving millennials to more youthful Mitski fans.  

Thing

Aug 26–28 | Fort Worden, $130–825

The site of this Port Townsend–based music festival provides a stunning backdrop to three balmy days of music discovery. Though you might come for big names like Jungle and Modest Mouse, founder Adam Zacks hope you’ll leave having fallen in love with exhilaratingly fresh acts, like British indie rock duo Wet Leg. 

A vendor at Thing's night market.

Pride

Seattle Pride Parade

June 26 | Downtown Seattle, free

The Seattle Pride Foundation made headlines when they announced in March that they would be cutting ties with former corporate sponsor Amazon. The fourth-largest Pride parade in the country is on this year, with accompanying pomp and sans arrow logos.

Seattle Pride Fest

June 25–26 | Various

Not everyone has been so quick to break from the bosom of corporate sponsors; this weekend of programming across the city, from panels to drag brunches and outdoor movies, is presented by Delta. 

Queer/Pride and Cuff/Pride

June 25–26 | Queer/Bar and The Cuff Complex, $140

Indie hip-hop darling Princess Nokia and bubblegum electropop star Kim Petras headline this year at one of Pride’s biggest 21+ events. Cuff/Pride is a little grittier than its counterpart, with local rock linchpin Thunderpussy setting the tone alongside a bevy of “top tier DJs, drag queens, go-go dancers, and porn stars.”

Neighborhood Fests and Block Parties

University District Street Fair

May 21–22 | University District, free

Street performers and buskers take to the Ave, alongside local vendors and makers, providing a bustling weekend of shopping and noshing.  

Fremont Fair 

June 18–19 | Fremont, free

Six blocks at the “center of the universe” transform into a sprawling open air market interspersed with live music, food trucks, and, on Saturday, the Solstice Parade. Seattle’s famed fleet of art cars are also highlighted.

Fremont Summer Solstice Parade.

West Seattle Summer Fest

July 15–17 | West Seattle Junction, free

This 30-year-old tradition animates West Seattle with local music and artisan food and craft vendors. Here’s hoping we’ll be able to toast the completion of the bridge repair in one of the fest’s beer gardens.

Ballard Seafood Fest

July 15–19 | Ballard, free

Ballard may be losing more of its grunginess by the day, but the neighborhood hasn’t forgotten its maritime origins. It also happens to be a particularly scorching spot in our city’s hotbed of a craft beer scene, so expect this weekend in July to masterfully marry brews with prime seafood.

Other Fairs and Fetes

Northwest Folklife

May 27–30 | Seattle Center, donation suggested

Folklife, at 51, is one of Seattle’s oldest (and most steadfastly laid back) cultural events. The focus for this year is Metamorphosis: In with the Old, In with the New, with programming that focuses on evolution and transition. 

Seafair 

July 4–Aug 5 | Various

Seafair is hard to define, in part because it’s actually a collection of (mostly free to attend) events spread out across the month of July and edging into August. The seaplane races, the Fourth of July fireworks, and the Torchlight Runs are some of its most recognizable features. 

Evergreen State Fair

Aug 25–30 and Sept 1–5 | Evergreen State Fairgrounds, Monroe

Not to be confused with the Washington State Fair, which runs nearly the whole month of September, this one also features typical fair fixings: monster truck rides, pie eating contests, a carnival. Ticket prices have not yet been released, but you can check the website for updates.

Washington State Fair

Apr 14–16, Apr 21–24, and Sept 2–25 | Western Washington Fairgrounds, Puyallup

This is the one with the giant ferris wheel. The spring fair, running for two weekends in April, features a chainsaw carving invitational (how do we score an invite?) and the Swifty Swine racing pigs. 

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