Summertime and the Music is Easy
Grab your picnic basket, blanket and chair and get ready for a great season of summer music festivals around the Northwest! Events range from indoor concerts in theaters and concert halls, to alfresco events set amid the region's breathtaking natural beauty. With a multitude of festivals to choose from, you'll need a scorecard to keep track! Here are some to check out:
Olympic Music Festival Performances in June, July & August
A great festival in a beautiful location. Head to the barn in Quilcene for a summer of popular and romantic quintets plus Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story Suite and much more.
Music by the Sea July 7–15
This festival in beautiful Bamfield, B.C. opens with the tradition of playing a work by the festival’s Executive Artistic Director, Christopher Donison. Musicians sitting in a rowboat play a….well….the title of Donison’s work says it all! Three Fanfares, for horn in a distant rowboat and percussion on the shore. Music by the Sea is known for its innovative approach to the traditional chamber music format and includes music by J.S. Bach, Debussy, Darius Milhaud, Mozart and Brahms.
Walla Walla Chamber Music Festival June 7-22
Catch one of the concerts at Garrison Creek Cellars amid the verdant splendor of Les Collines Vineyards or one of the many festival concerts at the Power House Theatre, conceived as a copy of Shakespeare’s own theater in London. You’ll hear music from New Zealand, Germany, the U.S., Russia and Austria.
The Amadeus Chamber Music Festival June 22–24, & June 29-July 1
Bellingham’s new chamber music festival features some of the most beloved pieces from the chamber music repertoire in their inaugural season. The historical intimacy of chamber music returns as the festival holds its concerts in the acoustically perfect recital hall of The Amadeus Project.
For almost the entire month of July artists like Grammy award winning violinist James Ehnes play every kind of classical music imaginable from Claude Debussy to John Adams, from Peter Schickele (aka P.D.Q. Bach) to Franz Schubert, and from Bach to Rachmaninoff.
Waterfront Blues Festival July 4–8
From Portland’s own Curtis Salgado to Charlie Musselwhite, from Steve Miller to Booker T. and Elvin Bishop there’s something for everyone at Portland’s annual blues blowout at Tom McCall Waterfront Park on the west bank of the Willamette River.
Bellingham Festival of Music July 6–21
Violinist, Joshua Bell and cellist, Lynn Harrell are just two of the major talents teaming up with Michael Palmer and the Festival Orchestra this summer.
Icicle Creek Chamber Music Festival July 8–22
Set amid the breathtaking beauty of the Cascades, this annual festival celebrates three hundred years of inspired music by the world's most beloved composers, performed by world-class artists in the intimate and acoustically perfect setting of Canyon Wren Recital Hall.
Kairos Lyceum July 12–21
Young string players team up with the Kairos Quartet and other faculty members from Central Washington University in a program called, Chamber Music Madness, dedicated to the musical and personal development of young people through chamber music. Chamber Music Madness features concerts with both faculty and students.
Vancouver Folk Music Festival July 13–15
Set in Vancouver’s Jericho Beach Park the 35th annual VanFolkFest, for short, features over 54 acts including Lucinda Williams, Ani DiFranco, Marley’s Ghost and Ramblin’ Jack Elliott.
Lake Chelan Bach Fest July 13–21
Classical and jazz music will waft over Lake Chelan during this year’s festival featuring the music of Bach (of course!), Mozart, Haydn and Richard Rodgers just to name a few. You’ll enjoy the variety of music and venues with concerts at the outdoor Riverwalk Park Pavilion and at various churches and wineries in the area.
Port Townsend Jazz Festival July 26–28
Pianist Benny Green, the Centrum Faculty All-Star Big Band, Chuck Deardorff and Rodney Green are featured in concerts in Fort Worden State Park at the 1200 seat McCurdy Pavilion. This year also sees a return to the popular Jazz in the Clubs series, where intimate venues in downtown Port Townsend come alive with the sounds of jazz.
Methow Valley Chamber Music Festival July 27–August 4
The festival presents five center-stage concerts at its breathtaking venue at Signal Hill Ranch, a spacious barn with superb acoustics and a rustic, intimate feel. In their tradition of incorporating a theme that runs through all of their concerts, the music of Beethoven will be featured along with hidden gems by other composers and more recently penned works.
Mt. Hood Jazz Festival August 14 & 15
Gresham, Oregon’s Mt. Hood Community College is the setting for this annual festival which includes sets with the Four Freshman, Carl Saunders, Emily Braden Quartet and the Terrell Stafford Art Abrams Swing Machine.
Tumbleweed Music Festival September 1–2
This annual Labor Day Weekend folk festival takes place along the banks of the Columbia River in Richland’s Howard Amon Park and includes more than 65 acts at four outdoor stages, an indoor dance floor, songwriting contest, contra dance, over 30 workshops and many food and craft vendors.
Bumbershoot September 1–3
At the Seattle Center, this festival features dozens of acts and a diverse lineup including Tony Bennett, Gotye, Jane’s Addiction and The Jayhawks.