A Year in Music Fests

Music lovers have a lot of festival options in the Inland Northwest

The Volume Music Festival is the highlight of early summer in Spokane. - YOUNG KWAK
Young Kwak
The Volume Music Festival is the highlight of early summer in Spokane.


This year marks the first time the Tinnabulation Music Festival will take over Riverfront Park, so it remains to be seen how smoothly the operation runs. But it's hard not to deny the sheer wattage of the premiere lineup: The big headliners include Australian jam band the John Butler Trio, viral pop-rockers OK Go and alt-folk group American Authors. (tinnabulation.com)

WHERE & WHEN: Sept. 8-10, 2017; Riverfront Park, Spokane

COST: $43.50 will get you a single-day wristband; $102.50 gets you all three days


This is the granddaddy of Washington music festivals east of Seattle. George's scenic Gorge Amphitheatre has hosted Sasquatch! every Memorial Day weekend since its inception in 2002, and while its lineup size has fluctuated, the event typically lasts three or four days. Name a major artist and they've probably played; 2017's headliners included LCD Soundsystem, Chance the Rapper and Twenty One Pilots. (sasquatchfestival.com)

WHERE & WHEN: May 25-27, 2018; The Gorge Amphitheatre, George, Wash.

COST: About $100 for single-day tickets; $300 for full festival passes


It's time for a little self-promotion: The Inlander's annual music festival usually books about a hundred bands, both local and touring, and it completely takes over downtown Spokane, typically on the first Friday and Saturday of June. In terms of local fests, Volume gives you the most bang for your buck, and whatever your musical taste may be — whether you lean toward thrash metal or introspective, singer-songwriter stuff — we've got you covered. (volume.inlander.com)

WHERE & WHEN: June 1-2, 2018; Multiple locations throughout downtown Spokane

COST: Wristbands start at about $25 and get you full access for both days


One of the most anticipated summer music festivals is this Browne's Addition staple, which takes over one of Spokane's most historic neighborhoods with rock, blues and soul. Lineups aren't announced until the spring, but past performers have included indie rockers Minus the Bear, rapper Lyrics Born and the danceable electronica act Velella Velella. (elkfestspokane.com)

WHERE & WHEN: June 8-10, 2018; Browne's Addition, corner of Pacific and Cannon.

COST: Free, though access to the beer garden will cost you a couple bucks

Festival at Sandpoint

Bring your picnic baskets and lawn chairs for this fest, which has brought top-tier touring artists through Idaho during the first two weekends of August since the '80s. The Beach Boys, Ryan Adams, Wilco, Etta James — they all played past festivals; each year's lineup is announced in April. If the big artists aren't your cup of tea, there are budget-conscious family concerts and an annual grand finale featuring fireworks and the Spokane Symphony. (festivalatsandpoint.com)

WHERE & WHEN: August 2-12, 2018; War Memorial Field, 855 Ontario St., Sandpoint, Idaho • 888-265-4554

COST: Prices vary depending on the artist, but they typically range from $40 to $80

Blue Waters Bluegrass Festival

Their motto is "the water's blue, and the grass is, too," and they're not kidding. The annual Blue Waters Bluegrass festival takes place on the shores of Medical Lake. It's an intimate, weekend-long (and family-friendly) celebration of one of the most American of all musical genres. (bluewatersbluegrass.org)

WHERE & WHEN: August 10-12, 2018; Medical Lake

COST: Individual days are in the neighborhood of $25-$40, and weekend passes are around $55. Access to the campground is a separate fee.

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About The Author

Nathan Weinbender

Nathan Weinbender is the Inlander's Music & Film editor. He is also a film critic for Spokane Public Radio, where he has co-hosted the weekly film review show Movies 101 since 2011.