Look Ahead

The Biggest In-Person Festivals and Events in Seattle: Summer 2021 Edition

ZooTunes, North Bend Film Fest, Shakespeare in the Park, and More
June 22, 2021
Breathtaking views and expansive adventures await at Crystal Mountain this summer. Ride the scenic gondola up to Washington’s highest elevation restaurant and meet Mount Rainier face to face.
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The summer concert series ZooTunes returns to the Woodland Park Zoo's bucolic North Meadow with sets from Naked Giants (pictured), Shabazz Palaces, Tres Leches, and other local acts from July to August. (Courtesy of the band)

Regardless of how you feel about Washington State fully reopening at the end of June (maybe you're jonesing for human interaction beyond your immediate pod, or perhaps you're feeling anxious about rejoining the world), it's happening, and with those loosened restrictions comes a plethora of in-person festivals and events—some of which are newly imagined while others are reincarnated from their pre-COVID origins. To help you prepare for popular happenings that will likely sell out, we've rounded up this summer's biggest festivals (like the brand-new Day In Day Out Festival and Shakespeare in the Park), concerts (like Brandi Carlile with Sheryl Crow and Neumos' Grand Reopening Party), art openings (like Monet at Étretat at the Seattle Art Museum and Tip Toland at the Bellevue Arts Museum), and more (like The Stranger's Summer Drive-In Series and the Seafair Torchlight Run) all the way through Labor Day. Plan away, baby!


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JUNE

PRIDE

The AMP Dedication
Celebrate the long-awaited completion of the Seattle AIDS Memorial Pathway—a public art project that honors the victims of the AIDS epidemic through a Seattle-centric lens—by checking out the artwork, chatting with contributing artists (including Christopher Paul Jordan, Storme Webber, and Horatio Hung-Yan Law), and learning more about the project.
Capitol Hill Plaza (Sat June 26)

Columbia City Pride Block Party
Columbia City's Ferdinand Street patio space will play host to the neighborhood's first-ever Pride block party, which promises a disco DJ set, drag performances by Queen Andrew Scott, raffles, miniature ponies (!!), and plenty of food and drinks. 
The Patio, Columbia City (Sun June 27)

Rise Up: Stonewall and the LGBTQ Rights Movement
Rolling in at the tail-end of Pride month, this new ongoing exhibit explores the cultural transformation that propelled the underground LGBTQIA+ rights movement "into an intrinsic element of who we are as a nation." Developed by Newseum, an affiliate of the Freedom Forum that "fosters First Amendment freedoms for all," the show will be composed of an as-yet-unannounced collection of historic documents and artifacts. 
Museum of Pop Culture, Seattle Center (Sat June 26-ongoing)

Taking B[l]ack Pride
In memory of the late Dominique Lucious, Diamond Kyree Sanders, Jaida Peterson, and other Black trans Americans who have lost their lives to hateful violence, join the Trans Women of Color Solidarity Network and other organizations for an afternoon of food, performances, and other socially distant Pride activities in the park. There will even be a mobile vaccine clinic onsite for anyone who still needs a COVID shot.
Jimi Hendrix Park, Central District (Sat June 26)

COMMUNITY

Plantasia
Get inspired for your summer gardening and repotting ventures at this mega plant sale bolstered by raffles, live music and entertainment, and a plant-themed cocktail bar. 
Renton Pavilion (June 26-27)

Shoreline Arts Festival
This annual family-friendly affair will once again play host to over 60 artist booths, live performances on an outdoor stage, and continent-spanning cultural demonstrations (like Latin handicrafts, African drumming and dancing, and Chinese paper crafts). Take-home art kits themed around Pride and Northwest wildlife are a new addition this year. 
Animal Acres Park, Shoreline (June 26-27)

Slug Fest
After it rains, slugs abound in Pacific Northwest grasses and gardens. Why not celebrate their slimy presence? Take a tentacled tram, make slug crafts, and slide down a soapy track in a Human Slug Race. Plus, meet critters up close and take a photo by a giant slug statue.
Northwest Trek Wildlife Park, Eatonville (June 26-27)

FILM

BECU Drive-in Movies at Marymoor Park
For the last 17 years or so, Marymoor Park has been one of Seattle's hottest destinations for outdoor movie viewing. While you won't be able to set up on the grass this year, BECU will keep the tradition going by shifting to a drive-in model for the second year, screening classic flicks like A Knight's Tale on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays through July. Food trucks will be onsite, too.
Marymoor Park, Redmond (through July 29)

Drive-In at On the Boards: KEXP | Sonic Travelogue
A program of live music sessions recorded both in the KEXP studio and in remote locations across the globe comes to On the Boards' drive-in rig, featuring performances by Songhoy Blues, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, HuunHuur-Tu, and DakhaBrakha.
On the Boards, Queen Anne (June 25-26)

RhodZi & Church: Two Short Films By Charles Mudede
Appropriately screened in the Mudede Theater, MoM will show two back-to-back short films by The Stranger's resident filmmaker/philosopher Charles Mudede as part of his Planet C series, which is a part of e-flux’s Artist Cinema program. The first, "rhodZi" (June 17-July 15), is a collaboration between Mudede, director Adam Sekuler, and Tendai "Baba" Maraire of Shabazz Palaces. The second, "Church" (July 15-Aug 19), is a joint effort between Mudede, Bellen Drake, and Stranger Genius D.K. Pan.
Museum of Museums, First Hill (through Aug 19)

MUSIC & PERFORMANCE

Wallingford Porchfest
Wallingford residents have offered up their front yards and porches for a full day of live performances in the neighborhood, block-party style.
Various locations, Wallingford (Sat June 26)

JULY

COMMUNITY

First Caturday
Because even the laziest housecat is wild at heart, this monthly event is the perfect opportunity to treat your beloved feline to an outdoor adventure among other (leash-trained) kitties, whether they want to chase birds, eat bugs, or take a nap in the grass.
Cal Anderson Park, Capitol Hill (July 3-Sept 5)

Kirkland Summerfest: Beach Party
Kirkland's three-day music and arts festival highlights local music talent and also brings a street market, the Sales & Ales beer festival, and the Sip Kirkland Washington Wine & Beer Festival.
Marina Park, Kirkland (July 30-Aug 1)

Saint James Faire
This medieval fair invites you to "leave behind the hectic 21st century" and travel back in time to King Arthur's ancient realm of Somersetshire, where you'll get your fill of knightly combat, puppetry, minstrels, fiddle music, and era-appropriate dishes (such as "fenberry pye" and "roste beef aliper").
Camlann Medieval Village, Carnation (July 24-25)

Vashon Island Strawberry Festival
Despite its name, the Vashon Strawberry Festival brings a lot more than sweet red fruits. The 110-year-old community event is slightly pared down this year, but attendees can expect live sets in a grocery store parking lot from the Cumbieros, Wild Rumours, and other local bands, plus a vehicle parade at Vashon Center for the Arts. 
Various locations, Vashon Island (Sat July 17)

West Seattle Sidewalk Sales & Summer Fest
Spend some time shopping along California Ave, playing music trivia at Pegasus Books, and taking part in limited-capacity beer tastings at Elliott Bay Brewing and the Beer Junction. 
Various locations, West Seattle (July 9-10)

FILM

North Bend Film Festival
The hometown of many Twin Peaks shoots celebrates its fifth year with a new raft of strange, Northwest-themed movies. The event will be a hybrid of in-person and virtual screenings, though many of the biggest features in the festival (such as Todd Stephens's Swan Song, Carlson Young's debut The Blazing World, and Dash Shaw's surreal Cryptozoo) will be in-person.
North Bend Theatre and online (July 15-18)

The Stranger's Summer Drive-In Showcase
Three of The Stranger's amateur short-film festivals—the sexy trailblazer HUMP!, the stoner-ific SPLIFF, and the gore-tastic SLAY—will get the drive-in treatment at this Saturday-night summer showcase. 
Discover Burien Drive-In (July 10-Aug 7)

MUSEUMS

Monet at Étretat
SAM's resident Monet painting, Fishing Boats at Étretat, gets placed within a larger landscape of the French impressionist's work, focusing on pieces created during his times of artistic and financial struggle. The collection also brings a dozen works by Monet's contemporaries.
Seattle Art Museum, Downtown (July 1-Oct 17)

Stranger Than Fiction: The Incredible Science of Aerospace Medicine
Presented in a retro sci-fi comic book motif, this exhibition shows how aerospace engineers made it possible for humans to live in space, fly faster than a speeding bullet, and "snooze at a window seat that is inches away from an environment of certain death." 
Museum of Flight, Tukwila (July 3-ongoing)

Terri Grant & Purnima Patel: Trace
This joint exhibition from Northwest glass artists Terri Grant and Purnima Patel started at the Pilchuck Glass School's Douglas fir-lined campus in Stanwood, where they took inspiration from the landscape to explore new ways of working within the art form.  
Bellevue Arts Museum (July 23-Jan 2)

Tip Toland
Hyperrealism is already kind of unnerving, especially in sculpted form. Nothing quite gets you into uncanny valley territory like a facsimile of life in perfect stillness. Northwest artist Tip Toland's painted clay figures seem to concentrate our reality to explosive density, whether through their apparent emotional extremity or their air of not-quite-humanity. Four of these sculptures, plus some ceramic paintings, will be displayed at BAM. 
Bellevue Arts Museum (July 23-Jan 2)

Will Rawls: Everlasting Stranger
New York-based choreographer and writer Will Rawls explores the relationship between language, dance, and image through stop-motion animation. In this installation, a live, automated camera photographs the frame-by-frame actions of four dancers, slowing their movement into picture-like fragments.
Henry Art Gallery, University District (July 17-Aug 15)

MUSIC & PERFORMANCE

BeautyBoiz REVIVAL
Head to this newly reopened Sodo nightclub to get down to house music curated by Cookie Couture, PAPI.WAV, and Alfonso Tan while a cast of go-go dancers, drag queens, and BeautyBoiz residents (R. Gatsby, Britt Brutality, Isis, Augusto Essence, and Sarah Kendall) dazzle you with performances. 
Supernova, Sodo (Sun July 4)

Brit Floyd - World Tour 2021
The self-proclaimed world's finest Pink Floyd cover act, Brit Floyd, will come back to Seattle to prove their '70s psych-rock worth in their immersive summer tour.
Paramount Theatre, Downtown (Sat July 3)

Chastity Belt
Uber-popular Seattle-based post-pop quartet Chastity Belt is back with new material and a new tour. 
Neumos, Capitol Hill (Fri July 23)

Dacha Theatre Summer Park Shows
The local theater company is bringing two of its touring shows to as-yet-unannounced Seattle parks this summer. The first, Star Play (opening July 23), is billed as a "galaxy-sized epic adventure shrunk to be a sweetly witty bedtime story," while the drive-in production Dears In Headlights (opening July 30) picks bits and pieces from Dacha's past productions, like An Awfully Big Adventure and Metamorphoses.
Various locations TBA (July 23 & 30)

GreenStage's Shakespeare in the Park
Spreading out one's favorite snacks on a picnic blanket and swatting away gnats as players belt familiar verses of iambic pentameter across a park lawn never gets old. GreenStage's free Shakespeare in the Park series returns this year with productions of A Midsummer Night's Dream, Twelfth Night, and The Tempest at parks across town. 
Various locations (July 9-Aug 14)

Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit with Lucinda Williams
Here's hoping Lucinda Williams will indulge the crowd with her classic ballad "Something About What Happens When We Talk" at this tour stop with Grammy-winning poetic alt-country giants Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit. 
Paramount Theatre, Downtown (Tues July 20)

Neumos' Grand Reopening Party
The darkly driving post-punk and old wave-charged music makers of Spirit Award will headline Neumos' official reopening party with tracks from their brand-new record. Joining them on the bill are Antonioni, Black Ends, and KEXP's DJ Morgan. Chong the Nomad, Archie, and Slow Shudder will keep things going around the corner at Barboza, while Double Sunrise Club will liven up The Runaway.
Various locations, Capitol Hill (Thurs July 1)

Queer/Bar Summer Series
The Capitol Hill LGBTQ+ bar returns with a summer chock-full of in-person drag performances from Lady Bunny (July 16), Kandy Muse (Aug 6), Crystal Methyd (July 17), and others. 
Queer/Bar, Capitol Hill (July 9-Sept 18)

Sángo, Dave B, Stas THEE Boss
"Seattle-based DJ and producer Sángo pulls from Brazilian funk, hip-hop, rap, and R&B to create sounds that get worked into your brain," writes The Stranger's Jasmyne Keimig. Catch him on stage with fellow Seattleites Dave B and Stas THEE Boss.
Neptune Theatre, University District (Sat July 10)

Seattle Festival of Dance + Improvisation
The Seattle Festival of Dance and Improvisation, presented by Velocity Dance Center, is a diverse weeklong exploration of the art, with intensive classes, drop-in workshops, talks, jams, and performances, both online and in person.
Various locations and online (July 11-Aug 8)

Vashon Repertory Theatre Fest
The lineup for Vashon Rep's inaugural theater fest, which will take place at various theaters and stages across the island, looks excellent. It includes Peter Glazer's musical Woody Guthrie’s American Song at Ober Park, Elizabeth Heffron's magical realist Bo-Nita at Vashon Center for the Arts, and classics like Shakespeare's The Tempest at Open Space.
Various locations (
Jul 22-Aug 1)

Watershed Festival
This country-music festival will return to the Gorge for a wild weekend of twangin' goodness. Put on your "Shedder gear" (trucker hats?) and get ready for three whole days of down-home studs. This year's headliners include Tim McGraw, Dierks Bentley, Ashley McBride, Blanco Brown, and others.
Gorge Amphitheatre, George (July 30-Aug 1)

ZooTunes
Now in its 39th year (last year's festival was canceled due to COVID), ZooTunes is a Seattle tradition that brings big-name artists to the bucolic North Meadow of the Woodland Park Zoo. You can thank KEXP for curating this year's lineup, which includes melancholy indie-rockers the Posies (July 18), Seattle's Naked Giants, whose music is "raucous, good-natured fun that's particularly moshable," as The Stranger's Jasmyne Keimig has put it (Aug 8), the soulful, funky Afrobeat fusion group Polyrhythmics (Aug 25), Shabazz Palaces (Aug 22), and others. Seating pods will be available for parties of two, four, six, and 10, and outside food will not be permitted. 
Woodland Park Zoo, Phinney (July 18-Aug 25)

SPORTS & RECREATION

Seafair Torchlight Run 2021
Starting and ending in Myrtle Edwards Park, Seafair's signature 5K will yield some nice views of the waterfront.
Myrtle Edwards Park, Downtown (Sat July 31)

Seafair Triathlon
Prove your strength by swimming, cycling, and running in the adults' (13+) or kids' (6+) triathlon. It's not a trifling competition: The adults' course comprises one mile of swimming, 20 miles of biking, and a 10K run—you can also run and bike a duathlon or do the "sprint course," a half-mile in the drink, 12 miles on wheels, and 5K on foot.
Seward Park (Sun July 25)

AUGUST

COMMUNITY

LUSIO Lights Festival
The Kent farm will be filled with nature-inspired light-art installations. Attendees are encouraged to dress in "glowing, LED, light-up attire," which for many will mean a profusion of glow-stick necklaces.
Mary Olson Farm, Kent (Aug 27-28)

Tacoma Summer Fest
Urban Craft Uprising's annual Spring Fest has been rescheduled for summer, bringing handmade goods from over 75 local vendors—plus games and food trucks—to the Point Ruston waterfront.
Point Ruston, Tacoma (Aug 7-8)

FOOD & DRINK

Poverty Bay Brews & Blues Festival 2021
Because beer and blues are perfect bedfellows, spend a day alongside folksy musicians like the CD Woodbury Trio and Stacy Jones Band while you sip offerings from local breweries. 
Des Moines Beach Park, Des Moines (Sat Aug 28)

Whiskey & Wildbites
Wander through the zoo as you enjoy "a mix of global and local expressions" in the way of gourmet offerings from four different chefs and sip whiskey provided by four different distilleries.
Woodland Park Zoo, Phinney (Aug 5-26)

MUSIC & PERFORMANCE

Atmosphere and Cypress Hill
Alt-hip-hop stalwarts Atmosphere and Cypress Hill will share the stage on this Redmond tour stop. 
Marymoor Park, Redmond (Sun Aug 22)

Brandi Carlile with Sheryl Crow and Yola
"The experience of listening to Brandi Carlile's 2018 album, By the Way, I Forgive You, is similar to that of listening to Carole King's Tapestry or Bob Dylan's Blood on the Tracks; it's a little bit country, a little bit rock and roll, and a lot of hard truths about the human race," wrote former Stranger staffer Kim Selling. Your fandom energy will be tripled at this outdoor concert with Sheryl Crow and Yola, which we can only hope will involve a blissful rendition of "If It Makes You Happy." 
Gorge Amphitheatre, George (Sat Aug 14)

Celine Dion
Even if you only know her for the Titanic soundtrack, everyone knows Celine Dion is a legend. The pop superstar is going strong on her Courage World Tour, which will stop in Tacoma.
Tacoma Dome (Thurs Aug 26)

Chateau Ste. Michelle Summer Concert Series
The winery will bring acts like John Legend (Sept 9-10), Rodrigo y Gabriela (Tues Sept 7), Chicago (Aug 28-29), and Josh Groban (Aug 24-25) to its outdoor stage.
Chateau Ste. Michelle (Aug 20-Sept 18)

The Seattle Boylesque Festival
Male and genderqueer burlesque dancers from across the country will blast gender norms apart with the aid of titillating moves and generously bared skin. Don't miss local favorites like Ernie Von Schmaltz and Waxie Moon and guests from afar like Montreal's Mimi Minx and Sudbury's MC Unicorn.
Triple Door, Downtown (Aug 6-7)

Tame Impala with Perfume Genius
Australian psych-rock outfit Tame Impala, no strangers to the festival circuit, will head up this outdoor concert with support from queer pop dignitary (and excellent Tweeter) Perfume Genius. 
Gorge Amphitheatre, George (Fri Aug 6)

PRIDE

Alki Beach Pride
Now in its eighth year, this late-summer West Seattle Pride celebration will center around a car parade led by women’s motorcycle collective Rainier Ravens (Sat Aug 14), followed by a skate/bike/board Roll OUT led by Roll Around Seatown (Sun Aug 15). In between, look forward to a beach volleyball tournament, DJs, and live music performances.
Alki Beach, West Seattle (Aug 14-15)

SPORTS & RECREATION

Seattle Marathon Summer 5/10/15K 2021
Before the main Seattle Marathon in November, warm up with a 5, 10, or 15K course through Seward Park's old-growth forest.
Seward Park (Sat Aug 28)

SEPTEMBER

COMMUNITY

Bremerton Blackberry Festival
Stroll along the boardwalk sampling doughnuts, scones, pie, and lots more treats and drinks made just in time for peak blackberry season, all while local bands like Ranger & the ReArrangers play live. 
Bremerton Boardwalk (Sept 4-6)

GEEK & GAMING

PAX West
After a hiatus due to COVID, Seattle's annual Labor Day weekend convention devoted exclusively to gaming is back with panels, tournaments, pin trading, an expo hall, and more. It will sell out very fast.
Washington State Convention Center, Downtown (Sept 3-6)

MUSIC & PERFORMANCE

Columbia Bank Concert Series
Spend the summer trekking out to Puyallup for outdoor concerts with Roger Daltrey, Carrie Underwood, Macklemore, the Beach Boys, and other festival-circuit favorites.
Washington State Fair Events Center, Puyallup (Sept 3-26)

Day In Day Out Festival
TThe Capitol Hill Block Party may be kaput this year, but its organizers have something new in store. The Day In Day Out Festival will boast two days of sets from the likes of Kaytranada, Big Wild, Aminé, Travis Thompson, and CHVRCHES at Seattle Center's Fisher Pavillion, complete with an all-ages lawn, a 21+ VIP lounge, a beer garden, and food trucks.
Seattle Center (Sept 4-5)

Fisherman’s Village Music Festival
Celebrate the efforts of the Everett Music Initiative with this weekend festival, now in its seventh year, spread over several beloved local venues with live sets from local and touring talents.
Various locations, Everett (Sept 9-12)

Shannon and the Clams
Oakland’s Shannon and the Clams are always a doo-wop delight. Between their jukebox-pop panache and tremolo licks, they’re a show you’re always finding yourself snapping and hip-twisting along to. They warm you up with their beachy balminess and make your palms sweat from their sanguine sweetness. ZACH FRIMMEL
Neptune Theatre, University District (Fri Sept 3)

Sylvan Esso
Sylvan Esso will bring their electrified, multilayered pop (which is "clever, bright, and fully hitched to dance as a primary activity in a way that feels much like two-dimensional worship," as former Stranger staffer Kim Selling put it) to Redmond, where they'll be joined by supporting act Samia. 
Marymoor Park, Redmond (Tues Sept 7)

Too Many Zooz & Big Freedia
Brass-house trio Too Many Zooz has come a long way from their subway-busking days. They'll pass through Seattle on their co-headlining tour with Big Freedia, aka the Queen of Bounce. 
Showbox Sodo (Fri Sept 10)