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Music festivals for summer 2017

Get ready to go outside

Aaron Starkey, right, and indie rock band Gibraltar are scheduled to play the annual Capitol Hill Block Party July 21-23 in Seattle. More than 90 bands are schedule perform. JBLM PAO photo

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Music makes the world go ‘round, and here in the Pacific Northwest it’s a vital part of the summer festivities.

Whether you enjoy tapping your toes, clapping your hands, busting a move or singing along, summer music festivals in the Puget Sound area offer opportunities to enjoy a wide variety of musical genres.

In the heart of Seattle, the Capitol Hill Block Party — July 21 to 23 — is a fun way to enjoy the sights and sounds unique to the Emerald City. The event typically draws a crowd of about 10,000 people per day and includes five stages of music from more than 100 popular indie artists, as well as art galleries and more local flavor from restaurants, stores and clubs within a six-block radius.

The Capitol Hill Block Party previously earned inclusion in USA Today’s “Pop Candy” as one of the 12 reasons to visit Seattle. Cost for tickets range from $60 for a one-day pass and up to $150 for all three days. For more information, visit:

Now in its fourth decade, Seattle Center’s annual Bumbershoot also offers an unique three-day music festival, with a long lineup of music, art shows, speakers and vendors. Bumbershoot is scheduled from Sept. 1 to 3. It’s billed as one of the most affordable and family-friendly festivals in Seattle; however, a single day pass is $129 and three-day passes are available in these categories: general admission, $249; VIP, $450 and Emerald, $750.

It’s suggested that prospective attendees buy tickets early as ticket prices go up closer to the event dates. For more information or to buy tickets, visit

The Port Townsend Jazz Festival is one of the better jazz festivals in the nation and, though it’s a ways from Joint Base Lewis-McChord — about 95 miles — the quality of the experience is likely worth the trip. This year, the festival takes place from July 27 at 3 p.m. to July 30 at 6 p.m.

There are different types of events from mainstage to nightclub settings. Most performances are at the American Legion Hall and McCurdy Pavilion. There also are a wide variety of ticket prices, including packages for most of the events. For more information, visit

If you’re looking for something closer and a little easier on the pocketbook, several local cities offer Music in the Park events throughout the summer, including nearby Olympia and Puyallup.

Olympia’s Downtown Association is hosting the city’s 38th year of free Music in the Park. The music begins each Wednesday at 7 p.m., now through Aug. 19. Most events are at Sylvester Park, on Capitol Way at Washington Street, in Olympia, with the exception of Aug. 4 and 19, when the events will be at the Port of Olympia, Port Plaza, 701 Columbia St. NW, Olympia.

Concerts range from groups performing American jazz and the Golden Age of Rock ‘n Roll to The Commanders, a newly-revived ensemble coming from the U.S. Air Force Band of the Golden West, carries on the American musical tradition of the great big bands, yet offers a lot more than the big band sounds.The Commanders perform at the final concert of the season Aug. 19. For more information, visit

On Thursday evenings throughout the summer, the city of Puyallup provides its free Concerts in the Park at Pioneer Park, 325 S. Meridian. The concerts begin at 6:30 p.m. with children’s concerts on Tuesdays at noon. For schedule and more information, visit

Another fun, free nearby option is the Rainier Roundup, which happens along State Route 507 off Centre and Rochester streets, in the town of Rainier, each year on the fourth weekend of August — Aug. 26 to 27 this year. That’s when bluegrass bands from across the country roll into Rainier’s Wilkowski Park and most everything in the town becomes part of the celebration.

Vendors line the streets beginning Aug. 25 and, in addition to scheduled performances, there’s bound to be some pickin’ and grinnin’ most anywhere you look or listen. There’s a dinner Aug. 25 sponsored by the Rainier Lions Club and corn on the cob sold on about every corner. The Senior Center Bake Sale and a town flea market also are big hits with the crowds.

The Aug. 26 Roundup Parade begins at 11 a.m. and is bound to add to the small town festival feel. And, for those who want to boogie ‘til the cows come home, a Saturday-night dance Aug. 26 is sure to fit the bill. There’s camping available at a cost of $15 per night, per rig, or $20 for all weekend. Aug. 27 is the finale of the weekend, with the Gospel jam session and vendors available through mid-afternoon.

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