Seattle Summer Music Alfresco

Enjoy the sweet sounds of summer 2018 at these exciting outdoor festivals and concert series.

Summer is here, and the favorable weather is the perfect excuse to spend more time doing the things you love outdoors. That includes catching your favorite bands—or discovering new ones—at the many music festivals, concert series and free shows coming up in and near Seattle.

FESTIVALS

Three days, six stages, 92 musical acts and more than 20,000 attendees make up the Capitol Hill Block Party, an annual festival that runs July 20- 22 in the city's hippest neighborhood. This year's lineup includes singer-songwriter Father John Misty, rapper/artist collective Brockhampton and electronic dance music DJ Dillon Francis as headliners. There will be several beer gardens on-site, and your festival wristband allows re-entry so you can also stroll around to check out some of Capitol Hill's awesome restaurants, bars and shops between acts.

Set in picturesque Tolt-MacDonald Park in Snoqualmie Valley, the annual Timber! festival on July 12-14 is about two hours east of Seattle, but well worth the trek. In addition to performances from alternative acts Car Seat Headrest, Kyle Craft, Thao (of The Get Down Stay Down) and more than 20 others, Timber! offers a full schedule of outdoor activities from yoga and kayaking to nature painting and wilderness safety classes. The family-friendly festival's Camp Timber! program offers special concerts and activities to keep the kids happy.

This three-day Bumbershoot Labor Day weekend festival of music, comedy, art, film and all-around good times has been Seattle's most eagerly awaited late-summer event for more than 45 years. 2018 headlining acts including J. Cole, The Chainsmokers,  SZA and Fleet Foxes will share the Seattle Center stages with dozens more national and local musicians covering the gamut from folk to rap in addition to stand-up stars such as Eugene Mirman, Langston Kerman and Emily Heller. Other entertainment includes the Northwest RockArt poster show, Yogashoot and modern dance performances. 

CONCERTS FOR A CAUSE

A tradition for more than three decades, ZooTunes brings beloved acts from the worlds of rock, blues, folk and soul to the North Meadow at Woodland Park Zoo. Even better, proceeds from ticket sales help fund animal care, conservation projects and educational programs. This month, catch The Roots on July 22 and The Psychedelic Furs on July 29—the hits keep coming throughout the summer with shows like Adam Ant and The Fixx on August 2 and Amos Lee on August 5.

Over on the Eastside, pack a blanket and a picnic dinner for your trip to Redmond’s Marymoor Park, where the natural environment only enhances the sounds coming from the stage. This month’s eclectic lineup of Marymoor Park Concerts includes Vance Joy on July 1, electronic band Sylvan Esso on July 14, and Sublime with Rome and Lupe Fiasco on July 28; some highlights later in the season include Willie Nelson and Family with Alison Krauss on August 1 and Jason Mraz on September 8 and 9. A portion of the revenue from ticket sales supports the operation and maintenance of King County Parks.

Add together big-name musicians, a beautiful venue and some of the best wine around, and you’ve got the recipe for a great night out at the Chateau Ste. Michelle’s Summer Concert Series, held at the venerable winery’s amphitheater in Woodinville. There are nine shows in July alone; highlights include Woodinville Bluegrass Classic with headliners Bela Fleck & The Flecktones on July 13, Sheryl Crow on July 21 and 22, Wine Country Blues Festival: TajMo: The Taj Mahal & Keb’ Mo’ Band, Dirty Dozen Brass Band on July 29. Proceeds from the series support the winery's charitable contributions program, which benefits a wide range of non-profit organizations.

FREE-FOR-ALLS

Combine browsing with listening at the Sounds of Summer Concert Series at University Village, an open-air shopping center. The free Wednesday-evening concerts begin July 11 with Dudley Manlove Quartet, followed by Nite Wave and DoctorFunK, respectively, on the following two Wednesdays. The Paperboys on August 1 and funk group Eldridge Gravy & The Court Supreme on August 15. Grab a bite to eat from a local restaurant, find something refreshing to sip in the Ram Restaurant beer garden, and send the kids off to burn some energy in a dedicated play area. Each concert begins at 7 p.m.

Shoreline and Lake Forest parks host another free Wednesday-evening concert series—Summer Concerts in the Park— with shows starting at 6:30 p.m. The first concert of the season is on July 11 at Lake Forest Park’s Pfingst Animal Acres Park, featuring Deseo Carmin, whose music fuses latin, jazz and funk.

For some music during the daytime, the Downtown Summer Sounds concert series, presented by the Downtown Seattle Association features free shows at various venues in the downtown area starting July 9 with Kenya-born folk singer-songwriter Naomi Wachira. Visit the website for the full lineup of more than 30 through the end of August.

Every Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m., head to the Ballard Locks for the free summer concerts series, which offers everything from marching-band melodies to show tunes to jazz. In addition to the music, you can check out the fish ladder, stroll through the botanical garden and watch the boats in the locks transition from freshwater to saltwater.

Concerts at the Mural sponsored by Seattle Center and alternative radio station KEXP, bring live music to the Mural Ampitherater every Friday in August, starting with local all-female punk band Tacocat on August 3 , followed by the Afghan Whigs on August 10.