Travel Plans

This Summer in Music Festivals

What’s worth the gas money? We tracked down the Northwest’s best.

By Allison Williams May 23, 2011

This is our Woodstock, only cleaner and with $9 beers.

With the Sasquatch! festival taking place at the Gorge next weekend, it’s officially summer concert season and it won’t rain again until September. (That is not completely true.) What’s on your calendar? Here’s the out-of-town Northwest music festivals we’re considering this summer:

Sasquatch!
Where & When: May 27-30, the Gorge Amphitheatre
Who: Foo Fighters, Sleigh Bells, Death Cab for Cutie
Why: It’s the first big shindig of the summer, taking place before you get burned out on camping and concert-going. If you don’t already have tickets, it’s time to sell your soul to the scalpers.

Vancouver Folk Music Festival
Where & When: July 15-17, Vancouver, BC
Who: Gillian Welch, Roseanne Cash, Josh Ritter, and…Tim Robbins. Yep, the actor.
Why: It’s Vancouver’s Folklife. And it’s held in Jericho Beach Park, which means there’s a nice breeze over the strumming and the humming.

EMRG+N+SEE
Where & When: July 15-18, Portland
Who: TBA
Why: Because apparently “new-school laptop crunk” is a thing, and you should probably broaden your horizons. This is all about creative, hard-to-classify acts, and attending will boost your indie cred.

Vans Warped Tour
Where & When: August 13, the Gorge Amphitheatre
Who: Gym Class Heroes, Less Than Jake, Paramore
Why: Look at your shoes. Are they Vans? Then you’re 13 years old and you will like this alt-rock tour, in which one band categories is “screamo."

Outside Lands
Where & When: August 12-14, San Francisco
Who: Muse, Arcade Fire, The Black Keys
Why: It’s under the Golden Gate Bridge, it’s the best mainstream rock bands you’re not embarrassed to like, and it also has art and food events. Outside Lands has something for everyone, which is why 70,000 people show up.

Dave Matthews Band Caravan
Where & When: September 2-4, the Gorge Amphitheatre
Who: DM and his B. Also Dispatch, Gogol Bordello and the Roots.
Why: Someday your kids are going to ask “What is a concert? All my music is made by robots.” You’ll tell them of long ago jam sessions and chillout tents and smoking grass on the grass. And you’ll only regret the Dave Matthews Band concerts you didn’t go to.

MusicfestNW
Where & When: September 7-11, Portland
Who: Still TBA. But we know who’s playing the announcement party on May 31: local acts Mad Rad, Weinland, And And And, and The Globes.
Why: It’s Portland’s Bumbershoot. And you know what they say about bumbershoots; if you don’t have your own, steal someone else’s. Last year they scored Panda Bear, the Decemberists and the National.

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