Wynton Marsalis Courtesy Earshot Jazz Festival

Music Festivals

In summer, an array of music festivals fills up the entertainment calendar.

Capitol Hill Block Party (capitolhillblockparty.com) shuts down a segment of Pike Street in order to bring some of the hottest names (think A$AP Rocky, Odesza, Chvrches) in hip-hop, indie rock, and electronic music to Seattle’s trendiest neighborhood. Those wanting to escape the city while indulging in live tunes can head to the majestic wooded campgrounds of nearby Carnation for Timber! Outdoor Music Festival (timbermusicfest.com). Even free neighborhood celebrations like Fremont Solstice ( fremontsolstice.com), Ballard SeafoodFest (seafoodfest.org), West Seattle Summer Fest (wsjunction.org/summerfest), and South Lake Union Block Party (slublockparty.com) now boast musical lineups with some of Seattle’s best local bands.

The city wraps up summer each Labor Day weekend with its largest festival, Bumbershoot (*bumbershoot.org). The event takes over Seattle Center (*305 Harrison St; seattlecenter.com) and showcases huge rock, rap, and EDM artists (Lorde, Weezer, The Roots, and Flume are among the headliners this year) on stages spread across the campus, including KeyArena (*keyarena.com) and Memorial Stadium (*401 Fifth Ave N). Bumbershoot also features comedy, theater, dance, and visual arts, so it’s truly Seattle’s grandest artistic blowout.

If you’re planning ahead, next spring the city hosts the second annual Upstream Music Fest and Summit (*upstreammusicfest.com) in Pioneer Square. The festival and conference is Seattle’s version of Austin’s SXSW, with performances by top artists and featured speakers discussing the future of the music industry.

Festivals also exist for those into other musical genres. Classical devotees love Seattle Chamber Music Society Summer Festival (*seattlechambermusic.org), which mixes the works of composers to serve as a musical discussion featuring local and acclaimed international maestros. Meanwhile, October’s Earshot Jazz Festival (*earshot.org) offers a bevy of diverse jazz concerts—including some genre-blurring evenings—across the city for more than a month. There’s no shortage of smooth sounds.


See who’s playing around town on our Events Calendar.

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