These Northwest music festivals are already great, but they're probably better if you're stoned

Cathedral Pearls at Volume
Cathedral Pearls at Volume

There are two kinds of music festival attendees: Those who merely use it as an excuse to drink and party all weekend, and those who just want to chill and, you know, hear some music.

And since it's usually so damn expensive to drink in designated beer gardens — and because pot consumption is restricted within festival grounds (and we'd never condone sneaking anything in) — it's probably best to get your buzz on before you actually get there. Or, roll in with a weed-infused lozenge in your cheek. When you're surrounded by mobs of people all weekend, it can make the experience a lot more pleasant.

Either way, here are some upcoming music festivals in and around Washington that you can look forward to.


May 25-27

The Gorge Amphitheatre's most anticipated annual event — save for, maybe, Dave Matthews' semiregular residency — happens every Memorial Day weekend. If you've never been, it's something every Washingtonian should experience at least once. Some of the big names at this year's fest: Bon Iver, the National, Spoon, Modest Mouse and the legendary David Byrne.


June 1-2

Allow us to do a bit of self-promotion. The Inlander's annual music festival has, since it started seven years ago, grown into a two-night event that fills downtown Spokane venues with local favorites (Marshall McLean, Mama Doll, Super Sparkle) and great touring acts (the Helio Sequence, Maps and Atlases, Broncho). You don't wanna miss it.


June 1-3

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen's festival, now in its second year, takes over Seattle's Pioneer Square with live music and symposiums on the music industry. Upstream's two main stages will feature the sultry R&B stylings of Miguel, the classic pop-punk of Jawbreaker and the DayGlo psychedelia of the Flaming Lips. Spokane's own hip-hop artist Jango is also in the mix.


June 15-16

The Gorge's second summertime festival is a must for fans of EDM and electronica. Deadmau5, the producer best known for always wearing that grinning mouse mascot head, is this year's biggest get. We're going to venture a guess that weed isn't the only substance that'll be consumed that weekend, so stay hydrated, kids.

Capitol Hill Block Party

July 20-22

Seattle shuts down the Capitol Hill neighborhood every summer for this lively fest, which leans pretty heavily toward indie rock and pop. Amongst this year's performers: Father John Misty, Bully, Dude York and Ryan Caraveo, who's also performing at Volume.

Summer Meltdown

Aug. 2-5

If jam and roots bands are more your vibe, Summer Meltdown is where it's at. Held in the small town of Darrington, Washington, it's got Bassnectar, Greensky Bluegrass and Big Gigantic set to perform this year. And for anyone who happens to enjoy live music without the aid of substances, Meltdown offers sober campgrounds.


Aug. 3-5

Broken Social Scene, Shakey Graves and Built to Spill are set to play 2018's Pickathon, a small festival held in Happy Valley, Oregon, which is about 15 miles outside of Portland. It's family friendly and environmentally conscious, dedicated to being plastic-free and solar powered.


Aug. 3-5

For diehard country fans, it doesn't get much better than Watershed, another Gorge-set festival that specializes solely in honky-tonk. They get some of the genre's biggest names all in one place; Blake Shelton, Brad Paisley, Big and Rich, Clint Black and Brantley Gilbert are all set to perform this year.


Aug. 31-Sept. 2

The granddaddy of Washington music festivals, Seattle's Bumbershoot has been rocking and rolling since 1971. 2018's lineup hasn't been announced yet, but last year brought the likes of Lorde, Weezer, Odesza and the Roots. Expect something just as good.

Reclaiming Culture: The Tlingit and Haida Tribes of Alaska Repatriation @ Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture

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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.