Summer is a little bigger around these parts than in other regions of the country. It is when we venture from our caves, squint at that brilliant, frightening orb in the sky and again enjoy the mood-altering effects of Vitamin D.
Ahhhhhhhh. Deuces, Paxil!
Another thing that lifts our spirits around this time of year is the realization we will soon get to check out some of our favorite bands in the great and no-longer-soggy outdoors. Summer may not officially begin for another month, but for the last 11 years the Gorge Amphitheatre's Sasquatch Music Festival has served as the unofficial kickoff to summer concert and festival season. And, with that in mind, here are 20 big events you need to mark on your calendars, pronto:
1. Sasquatch! 2013
(May 24 to 27, Gorge Amphitheatre, George):
What other summer music festival is compelling enough to make thousands of pasty hipsters risk spontaneously combusting in the desert sun, forgo basic hygiene for days at a time and brave those heinous Gorge Honey Buckets? Shudder.
Among the acts playing the main stage this time around are Seattle's breakout act of the year Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, along with Elvis Costello, Mumford & Sons, Vampire Weekend and Ben Gibbard's other band the Postal Service celebrating the 10th anniversary of its debut album “Give Up.” Four-day passes are $337.50, but few, if any, remain; http://www.sasquatchfestival.com.
2. Vans Warped Tour
(June 15, White River Amphitheatre, Auburn):
Formerly held at the Gorge, the Ozzfest of pop-punk has migrated to this side of the Cascades for this year's tour launch, which will include Silverstein, the Black Dahlia Murder, Hawthorne Heights, Motion City Soundtrack, Bless the Fall and an army of other bands spread out on multiple stages. The action starts at 11:30 a.m., and tickets are $37.50; http://www.vanswarpedtour.com.
3. Brew Five Three Tacoma Beer & Blues Festival
(June 22, Broadway, downtown Tacoma):
This new beer lovers' block party – organized by Broadway Center and the Beer Essentials – will take over Broadway, between South Ninth and 11th streets, from 1-10 p.m. Tacoma Brewing, Engine House No. 9 and other local brewers will serve up the suds, with music provided by T-Town Aces, Chris Stevens’ Surf Monkeys, Snake Oil Elixir All Stars and the godfather of Northwest blues Bill Engelhardt and his latest version of Little Bill & the Bluenotes. Tickets are $25 through June 15, $30 later; http://www.broadwaycenter.org.
4. Paradiso Festival
(June 28 and 29, Gorge Amphitheatre, George):
Seattle's USC Events returns with an expanded version of its massive electronic music festival. Headlining this year are Tiesto on June 28, and Kaskade on June 29, with Dig Dug, Christopher Lawrence, Lazy Rich and Tacoma native Donald Glaude among other DJs spinning the hottest dance cuts. Two-day passes are $160, $300 for the VIP package, and you must be 18 or older to attend; http://www.paradisofestival.com.
5. Art on the Ave
(July 14, 6th Avenue, Tacoma):
Some 10,000 revelers are expected to attend the 15th installment of this 6th Avenue showcase, which Tacoma Weekly readers voted Tacoma's best festival for 2012. The street will be blocked off from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., between Cedar and Trafton streets. And stages will again be hosted by Jazzbones, O'Malley's Irish Pub and Dirty Oscar’s Annex. The lineup is still taking shape but already looks promising with local favorites Fun Police, Kramer, the Fame Riot, Ben Union and the Dignitaries among those already on board; http://www.artontheave.org.
6. Paul McCartney's Out There Tour
(July 19, Safeco Field, Seattle):
It is always an epic event when Macca, “the cute one,” shows up to dust off his big hits with the Beatles, Wings and as a solo artists. This year, he has generated extra buzz by hinting at a new album and by recording “Cut Me Some Slack,” a new cut he wrote with the surviving members of Nirvana. Should we expect related surprises? Tickets are $50 to $280; http://www.ticketmaster.com.
7. Ethnic Fest/Click! Mobile Movie Series kickoff
*(July 27 and 28, Wright Park, Tacoma): *
Since 1986, Ethnic Fest has celebrated the various cultures and ethnicities that make up our community. This year’s festivities will include hands-on art projects, games, dance and live music, with styles ranging from Russian folk songs to Japanese Taiko and gospel.
Plus, Ethnic Fest is also the official kickoff for the Click! Mobile Movie series, with bands and family-friendly flicks being screened at local parks throughout the summer. “Wreck-It Ralph” will be shown after dark at Wright Park, followed by “Bedtime Stories” on Aug. 9 at STAR Center, “The Chronicles of Narnia” on Aug. 16 at Stewart Heights Park, “Madagascar 3” on Aug. 23 at Center at Norpoint and “The Odd Life of Timothy Green” on Aug. 30 at Point Defiance Park; http://www.metroparkstacoma.org/events.
8. Emerald Queen Casino's Taste of Tacoma
(June 28 to 30, Point Defiance Park, Tacoma):
It is billed as “the ultimate family picnic,” and 225,000 people are expected to show up to graze at dozens of booths manned by local restaurants. New this year is “The Taste Cooks,” a live cooking demonstration hosted by TV Tacoma’s Amanda Westbrooke. There will be beer and wine tastings for the grown ups and an eclectic mix of comedy, rock, jazz, R&B and other styles on multiple stages. Admission is free; http://www.tasteoftacoma.com.
9. Mayhem Festival
(July 3, White River Amphitheatre):
This has been summer's main event for local metalheads since Ozzfest went off the road a few years back. On the main stage this year are Rob Zombie, Mastodon, Five Finger Death Punch and Amon Amarth, with Children of Bodom and Machine Head headlining the other stages. Most tickets range from $31.50 to $69; http://www.ticketmaster.com.
10. Freedom Fair 2013
(July 4, Ruston Way Waterfront, Tacoma):
One of Tacoma's biggest festivals is expected to draw 100,000-plus to a two-mile stretch of Ruston Way Waterfront for music, air shows, food and more. But the event has struggled financially in recent years, and organizers at the non-profit Tacoma Events Commission are looking for help keeping the 33-year tradition alive. PayPal donations are being accepted at www.freedomfair.com; and the first 150 people to join the Freedom Fair Fan Club at a $45 fee are invited to take a Fourth of July cruise on the historic Point Ruston ferry boat.
11. Capitol Hill Block Party
(July 26 to 28, Capitol Hill neighborhood, Seattle):
Okay, forget that thing we said about hipsters at Sasquatch earlier; some of them have written that festival off as too bloated and corporate. Instead, they will head into the vortex of Washington hipsterdom that is Capitol Hill where they can check out Pitchfork.com-approved acts likes Girl Talk, El-P and Purity Ring. Oh, and some old guys called the Flaming Lips. Single-day tickets are $40. Skinny jeans, Grizzly Adams beards and PBR tallboys optional; http://www.capitolhillblockparty.com.
12. Rebel Riot
(Aug. 3, South 9th Street and Broadway, Tacoma):
This hotrod-centric event has migrated from the Dome District, where it was held last year, to Antique Row for its annual showcase of custom cars, rock music and pinup girls. Leading up to the main event is a steamy burlesque show that will be held Aug. 2, at the Fabulous Fifties Hall, 455 St. Helens Ave., on Aug. 2; http://www.therebelriot.com.
13. Music and Art at Wright Park
(Aug. 10, Wright Park, Tacoma):
Tacoma's most D.I.Y. and punk-oriented festival goes back 20 years, to when the owners of now-defunct Mother Records wanted to put on a summer showcase of local music. (A brief glimpse of that first festival can be seen in the video for Girl Trouble's “My Hometown.”) After a few years off, the festival roared back to life five years ago. One cancellation in 2011 aside, it has been going pretty strong ever since; MAWP featured 14 bands and drew about 2,500 fans last year to see the likes of Walking Papers, the Plastards and some ghetto knockoff of Seattle super-hero Phoenix Jones. (We suspect his alter ego may write for Tacoma Weekly.)
A series of MAWP fundraisers will be held in the weeks leading up to the main event, including a May 31 show at the New Frontier Lounge (bands to be announced) and a yard sale on June 22 and 23. Meanwhile, monetary donations can be given online at http://www.shunpike.org.
14. Black Sabbath
(Aug. 24, Gorge Amphitheatre, George):
The godfathers of metal will be celebrating “13,” their first album with Ozzy Osbourne singing lead vocals since 1978. But what? No Bill Ward on drums? What's up with that? Most tickets are $45 to $99.50, with VIP packages available; http://www.ticketmaster.com.
15. Tacoma Maritime Fest
(Aug. 24 and 25, Thea Foss Park and Foss Waterway Seaport, Tacoma):
Last year, for its 20th anniversary, Maritime Fest featured more than 20 ships to explore, hydrofoil demos and sailboat races, a pirate costume contest and loads of live music, everything from classic rock to hip-hop. This year's festival will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day, and admission is free; http://www.maritimefest.org.
16. Dave Matthews Band
(Aug. 30 through Sept. 1, Gorge Amphitheatre):
Can you believe the DMB has been rocking hackey sack toting fans for more than two decades now? Expect all three nights to sell out, especially with Mr. Matthews still riding high from last year's “Away from the World,” the sequel to 2009's “Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King” album. Tickets are $48.50 to $75, or $120 for three-day lawn passes; http://www.ticketmaster.com.
(Aug. 31 to Sept. 2, Seattle Center):
Death Cab for Cutie, Kendrick Lamar, fun., and recent Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Heart are among the big names that will play the main stage at this year's festival. Tacoma's own Vicci Martinez will also make an appearance. Plus, we are hearing something about zombies. No, not '60s pop act the Zombies, who will be there, too; organizers insist there will be actual zombies roaming the Seattle Center grounds. Maybe we will stay home this year and keep a blunt object handy just in case.
For those willing to risk it, three-day passes are currently $120. Single, day-specific passes are $50 and single Any Day passes are $55. Platinum and Gold passes (which sold out in 2012) are also available. Find tickets and the full lineup at http://www.bumbershoot.org.
18. KISW Pain in the Grass
(Sept. 6 and 7, Gorge Amphitheatre):
Alice in Chains will be on the main stage as this summer rock gala – hosted by Seattle's KISW-FM (99.9) – expands to two days. Also on the bill are Jane's Addiction, Avenged Sevenfold, Volbeat, Coheed and Cambria, Walking Papers and more. Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. May 17 with single day tickets going for $59.50, two-day passes going for $99.90 and a limited number of VIP packages being sold for $199; http://www.ticketmaster.com.
19. Tacoma Craft Beer Festival
(Sept. 7, Cheney Stadium, Tacoma)
Tacoma's most popular brew fest may be moving to minor league ball park this year, but everything about it is strictly major league. From noon until 9 p.m., 6,000 to 7,000 beer-o-philes will celebrate the hoppy wares of more than 70 regional breweries, the likes of Tacoma's Harmon Brewing Company, Gig Harbor's 7 Seas Brewing and Graham's M.T. Head Brewing Company at least year's fest and its winter counterpart, the Big Beer Festival. That is not to mention all the music and grub. Updates will be posted at http://www.tacomacraftbeerfest.com
20. Washington State Fair
(Sept. 6 to 22, Washington State Fair Events Center, Puyallup):
Summer’s last big party has a new name, but you know how to “do the Puyallup.” First, gorge on some Earthquake Burgers and elephant ears. Then hop on the new looping inversion coaster and try to keep all that stuff down. Later, mellow out for a while with some adorable piglets. Then cap off your evening with some of the biggest names in pop at the 11,000-seat grandstand. This year's concert lineup includes Little Big Town (Sept. 9), Cee Lo Green (Sept. 12), Carrie Underwood (Sept. 13), Alabama (Sept. 16), Jeremy Camp and Jars of Clay (Sept. 17), Larry the Cable Guy (Sept. 19), Austin Mahone & Bridgit Mendler (Sept. 21) and Kid Rock (Sept. 22). Find hours and ticket prices at http://www.thefair.com.