For many, summer means music festivals — but it’s also the perfect time to take a camping trip. Summer Meltdown offers the best of both worlds with a rock, funk, electronic and bluegrass-heavy lineup at a venue between a glacier-capped mountain and a lazy river. The bill is just as epic as the scenery this year with Bassnectar, Big Gigantic and Greensky Bluegrass headlining. As a bonus, the festival is both eco-conscious and kid-friendly. Nature lovers, meet your perfect music festival match.
Aug. 2 – 5
WHERE TO STAY
Camp! Darrington, Wash. is about 90 minutes northeast of Seattle and known mostly for hosting the legendary Darrington Bluegrass Festival. It is one of the most scenic venues in the entire United States, so pitch your tent under a shady Douglas fir tree and wake up every morning with a lungful of fresh air. If you prefer an offsite bed, there are a couple of options in nearby Arlington. If you feeling like taking a hike, then use Globo Surf to find out what’s in the area.
In the upper reaches of Wash. state, your neighbors will probably be cool and crunchy hippies with lots of tattoos who love the great outdoors. Chat them up — it’s a safe bet everybody has an interesting backstory.
CLAIM TO FESTIVAL FAME
Festival producer Josh Clauson started Summer Meltdown in 2000 as a seasonal party, and the ticket price was 10 bucks and included a keg cup. After moving to Darrington, Wash., the fest’s charms became Mother Nature’s. Tucked between a glorious mountain and river, Summer Meltdown packs a plethora of outdoor activities and music into one epic weekend.
SKIP IF …
You’re more indoorsy. Camping and exploring nature’s playground is certainly a big part of the draw of Summer Meltdown. If sleeping in a tent and going electricity-free for a couple days sounds less like a vacation and more like a chore to you, seek out a more citified summer fest.
“Into the Sun,” Bassnectar ft. Mimi Page
“Living Over,” Greensky Bluegrass
“Killer Bee,” Beats Antique
“The Little Things,” Big Gigantic
WHAT TO WEAR
You’ll likely see lots of hippie chicks in long, flowy skirts, homemade triangle tops and bare feet. By all means, go groovy, but also pack for comfort and action — that means everything from hiking shoes to a bathing suit to a fleece hoodie for nights that can get quite chilly.
BEST DRINK OR BITE
All that fresh air, uphill climbing and trance dancing will leave you especially famished. Refuel the healthy way with a green smoothie — or take advantage of all those burned calories and dig into a gyro.
Bassnectar has risen to the top of the crowded electronic music genre, and with good reason. Every time he plays, he throws a party. Make sure to catch Greensky Bluegrass, too — their impressive light show and large-scale production are custom-made for the festival stage.
TAKE THE LONG WAY HOME
You’ll have to clear out of the campgrounds by noon Monday, but that doesn’t mean shaking the dust off your shoes for good. Stick around and explore nearby parks. If you’re craving the comforts of modern life — or just a good hot shower — head back to Seattle. Hit the loud and lively Pike’s Place Market, where you can grab a cup of coffee from the original Starbucks, then take a trip up the famous Space Needle to admire the handiwork of your fellow man.
SUMMER MELTDOWN IS FOR YOU IF
You prefer your music with a side of mountain living. There’s nothing like the combination to restore your soul.
Summer Meltdown is equal parts camping trip and music festival, but that doesn’t mean you have to be in tip-top shape to attend. You can lounge around playing cards or float down the lazy river. Darrington, Wash. makes no demands on your time, and besides, the lineup offers plenty of thrills. Make the road trip with your best buds because Summer Meltdown is the kind of festival where you make those lifetime memories.