Culture Dose: Summer’s Coming!

Photo by Meredith Ruth, Courtesy Wanderlust Festival

A preview of upcoming concerts, fests + awesome happenings. 

If we squint past the dizzying haze of gray, we finally see summer approaching, and we are so stinkin’ ready to welcome it with wide-open, sun-deprived arms. You too? Before we even get there, though, there’s an intriguing lineup of events that has our curiosity piqued. Pull out your iCalendar; it’s time to get plotting.


Music lovers, listen up! The region’s barrage of fantastic festivals will arrive soon enough—ranging from the brand-new Upstream Music Fest + Summit (May 11-13) and Marymoor Park’s summer jams to Woodland Park’s Zoo Tunes and Chateau Ste. Michelle’s wine country concerts.

Then there’s Timber! (July 13-15), downtown’s Capitol Hill Block Party (July 21-23), Happy Valley, Oregon’s Pickathon (August 3-6) and dreamy Orcas Island’s Doe Bay Fest (August 10-13). The list goes on.

March to May by Elle Hanley Photography
March to May by Elle Hanley Photography

But even before all that summer goodness, check out the following upcoming shows:

Harp and guitar duo March to May comes to Triple Door this Thursday, April 20, to celebrate the release of their new record “Through the Night.” A lovely collection of Pacific Northwest indie folk that was greatly influenced by the region’s natural environment, the album’s been described as “rich and alive, yet perhaps a little dark around the edges, and with an introspective bent that add richness and complexity.”

Vieux Farka Touré by Cole Ramstad
Vieux Farka Touré by Cole Ramstad

The legendary Vieux Farka Touré comes to Nectar Lounge Wednesday, May 3. The evening also features Clinton Fearon (solo acoustic) and DJ Darek Mazzone (KEXP). Often referred to as “The Hendrix of the Sahara,” Vieux Farka Touré—the son of legendary Malian guitar player Ali Farka Touré, who died in 2006—was born in Niafunké, Mali in 1981. Speaking from personal experience, you won’t want to miss experiencing this talent live.

Joe Purdy and Lydia Ramsey take the stage at Tractor Tavern this Sunday, April 23, and The Wild Reeds play there May 15. At downtown’s Showbox, amazing sister trio Joseph stops by Thursday, April 27, and the Fleet Foxes take the spotlight Friday, May 19.

Wild Reeds comes to Tractor Tavern on 5/15.


We could not be more excited to welcome Seattle Repertory Theatre’s production of David Byrne and Fatboy Slim’s HERE LIES LOVE, which takes over Bagley Wright Theatre through May 28. The space promises to transform “into a wild dance party, where techno beats spin and tell the story of the People Power Revolution that inspired the world and changed the Philippines forever. Here Lies Love traces the non-violent restoration of democracy in the Philippines in 1986 and follows the meteoric rise and dramatic fall of the controversial First Lady of the Philippines, Imelda Marcos. Two-time Tony-nominated director Alex Timbers helms David Byrne (Talking Heads) and Fatboy Slim’s one-of-a-kind “poperetta” about the Filipina “Steel Butterfly” and the power of the people.”

For movie aficionados, the 43rd Annual Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF) returns from May 18 through June 11. (The full schedule goes up/single-ticket sales open May 4.) Known for its wide-ranging and eclectic programming (think short films and documentaries from more than 80 countries), the fest boasts numbers like: 400-plus films, 25 days and an impressive 155,000 attendees.

Through May 20, Nike Imoru’s Ode, comes to Fremont’s West of Lenin Theater. In the piece, “She spotlights an actor’s story where past, present and all-powerful imagination collide in a beautiful stage song. Ode is a dance-theatre fusion of storytelling that depicts the journey of a life filled with wit, wonder, faith and a good dose of ruthless reality.”

On April 29, Independent Bookstore Day 2017 means in-store parties, readings and other literary to-dos, and this year brings the Seattle Indie Bookstore Challenge, too.

Seattle Repertory Theatre’s production of Here Lies Love. Photo by Navid Baraty,
Seattle Repertory Theatre’s production of Here Lies Love. Photo by Navid Baraty.

Looking for a cultural Mother’s Day excursion the whole family can enjoy? Check out the Camano Island Studio Tour, a (free) annual event that brings together more than 40 artists during two weekends in May (including Mother’s Day). The tour includes art displays set up in studios, homes and even outdoor installations. Why not make a day of it: grab brunch en route, or pack a picnic to enjoy in the Island’s state park, where alluring beach views await.


Photo by Meredith Ruth, Courtesy Wanderlust Festival
Photo by Meredith Ruth for Wanderlust Festival

There’s no better way to get a mind-body-soul boost than by attending Wanderlust 108, which returns to the Seattle area Sunday, May 21, from 7:30 a.m to 3:30 p.m. (at Lake Sammamish State Park). As “The World’s Only Mindful Triathlon,” the fun-filled day includes highlights like a spirited run-walk 5K, a 75-minute yoga flow session and a 30-minute guided group meditation. Participants are also lucky enough to listen to the uplifting tunes of MC Yogi and the wise, inspiring words of speaker Danielle LaPorte.

Courtesy Washington Brewery Running Series
Courtesy Washington Brewery Running Series

Looking for motivation to hit the trails around town? The brand-new Washington Brewery Running Series allows you to break a sweat, while donating to a good cause and making new Seattle friends. “We are all about being active, having fun and giving back to our local community,” organizers explain. Since the organization’s 2012 inaugural event at Fulton Brewing Co. (Minneapolis, MN), they’ve donated more than $40k to local nonprofits. After running (or walking) an enjoyable 5k(ish) course, participants receive a free craft brew and take-home treat (like a collector’s pint glass or seasonal swag). The series rotates at breweries around town; the next outing takes place May 6 at Fremont’s Outlander Brewery.

Courtesy Alderbrook Resort and Spa
Courtesy Alderbrook Resort and Spa


This spring also seems the perfect time to sample the culinary riches of the region. April means all things oyster-centric at Alderbrook Resort & Spa, a lovely destination for a tranquil weekend getaway. The popular food lover’s tradition—Oyster Month—treats guests to a fresh and authentic Hood Canal experience, allowing them to enjoy daily oyster harvests at Alderbrook’s dock, beach tours, oyster BBQs, chef oyster shucking and much more (all complimentary!).

On April 29, Seattle dives into it’s first Cheese and Meat Festival, during which McCaw Hall plays host to two tasting sessions, one from 3 to 5 and another from 7 to 9 p.m. Aside from being a great opportunity for local producers to reach a greater audience, the fest partnered with Food Lifeline, meaning ticket sales go directly to this wonderful organization.

Looking to up your own cooking game? Check out Hot Stove Society, a year-round cooking school operated by Tom Douglas Restaurants with a curriculum that ranges widely from light-hearted and sociable to skill-building and challenging. “Our classes are about many things from how to cut up a chicken, to how to build a delicious cocktail, to finding out who’s the hottest chef in Portland.”

Pike Place Market by Corinne Whiting
Pike Place Market by Corinne Whiting

Last but not least, mark your calendar for Thursday, June 29 (from 1 to 7 p.m), when Pike Place Market celebrates the opening of the much anticipated MarketFront expansion with an afternoon ceremony featuring Mayor Ed Murray, performances by local musicians, bites from MarketFront vendors and activities to help visitors explore the brand-new space.

So while summer’s readying itself for all the sun-kissed splendor soon to come, we’ll be filling our days with cultural adventures and delicious delights. Hope to see y’all there!