Listed below are annual music festivals in the Seattle-Tacoma metro area and across Washington State. Our list focuses on events with free or cheap admission ($15 or less). However, we include popular music festivals with higher price admission so you can plan when to splurge throughout the year. If not marked as free admission, regular adult ticket prices are as follows:
- $ = $15 (or less)
- $$ = $16-$49
- $$$ = $50-$99
- $$$$ = $100 (or more)
Our list of music festivals below includes all genres, from rock, jazz, and country music to a diversity of cultural music celebrations. You can find more live music performances in our big list of live music venues (all genres).
(Listed by month, then by city)
February. Bellevue Wintergrass Festival (wintergrass.com) ($$ to $$$$) is a multi-day, family-friendly music festival at the Hyatt Regency Hotel. Single day and weekend passes are available. Children under 12 admitted free. Volunteers can earn a free ticket. There are concerts and dances on multiple stages featuring Bluegrass, Americana, and related styles of acoustic music. In addition to concert performances, there are also music education programs for kids and adults, workshops, and impromptu jams.
May. Edmonds Jazz Connection (jazzconnection.org) (FREE; donations encouraged) includes a full day of performances from nationally recognized and award-winning High School and Middle School jazz programs from throughout the Pacific Northwest playing side-by-side with professional musicians. The principal goal of the event is to connect the community with these accomplished student jazz musicians. It is also the premier community fundraising event for music students in the Edmonds School District & surrounding districts. ll proceeds from this annual event go directly to student scholarships and district grants to help further enrich music education in our schools. Donations are tax deductible. Sponsorships are available.
May. Everett Fisherman’s Village Music Festival (thefishermansvillage.com) (FREE to $$$$) is a showcase of independent art and music that genuinely captures the spirit and heart of the Puget Sound. The ticketed music festival on multiple stage over the weekend includes a slew of national talent, while keeping an emphasis on local artists and businesses. The free entertainment stage at the Night Market on Friday and Saturday also offers food trucks, beer garden, and vendors selling locally made goods in Downtown Everett.
May/June. Bellevue Jazz & Blues Music Series (bellevuedowntown.com) (FREE to $$) includes live shows at venues across the city. Festival goers can enjoy performances by international jazz icons, celebrated local artists, and top student musicians. Many shows are free; some are ticketed, and some are 21+ only.
June. Seattle HONK! Festival West (honkfestwest.org) (FREE) is a multi-day music festival in Seattle public spaces. Each day of Honk Fest is held in a different Seattle neighborhood. This diverse and immersive festival is driven by the energetic performances of street bands from around the world. HONK! is designed to be accessible, with representation from a wide range of ages and abilities; offering pick-up bands throughout the festival open for anyone who would like to pick up an instrument and play.
June. Make Music Day (MMD) (makemusicday.org) (FREE). A worldwide celebration of music during the summer solstice (longest day of the year). The event encourages and provide opportunities for anyone–amateur or professional–to participate in and enjoy live music at public venues. MMD events are organized in several cities around the Puget Sound region. Each community organizes its own events, and each celebration has a distinct expression.
June-September. Seattle Columbia City BeatWalk | Facebook (@ColumbiaCityBeatwalk) (FREE) every 2nd Sunday during summer. The informal street music festival has taken place since 1995. The fun happens inside venues, on the sidewalks, and in the alleys of the historic Columbia City neighborhood, one of Seattle’s eight historic districts. Expect a diverse array of local musicians, from jazz and indie pop to rhythm and blues. Hosted by neighborhood businesses, the lineup always features a diverse array of first-rate, local musicians. Beatwalk is an all ages, family-friendly music festival.
July. Kirkland Summerfest Music + Arts Festival (kirklandsummerfest.com). (FREE to $$$) A milt-day fesival with KidZone, lively night market, musical performances, outdoor entertainment, purveyors of fine foods, local beers and wines, and interactive activities for all ages. Proceeds benefits local nonprofit organizations.
July. Seattle Capitol Hill Block Party (capitolhillblockparty.com). ($$$-$$$$) Single and multiple day tickets available. Volunteerscan get a one-day pass. Weekend music and art festival featuring local bars, restaurants, and retail shops alongside bands, art shows, community events, and political activism. Multiple stages showcase local and regional talent, joined by international and national artists. All-ages festival; children ages 8 are admitted free. However, please note some stages and lounges are 21+ only.
July. Seattle Pow Wow | United Indians Seattle (unitedindians.org). (PWYC; $10 suggested) Held annually on the third weekend in July at the Daybreak Star Indian Cultural Center in Discovery Park. The powwow showcases Indian cooking, jewelry-making, and traditional music and dancing. Tribes from the United States and Canada perform in full tribal regalia and eagle-feather head-dresses. All are welcome, Native and non-Native alike.
July. Tacoma “Art on the Avenue” | Facebook (@6thAveTacoma). (FREE) An annual music and art festival features live music, art and creativity, and food & drink in the business district from State St. to Alder.
August. Darrington Summer Meltdown (summermeltdown.com). ($$$$) A music, adventure, and camping festival open to all ages. Fees vary depending on how many days you attend and if you camp overnight. It’s a bit confusing. Basically, tent camping is included with Festival passes; parking is additional. Vehicle camping is an additional charge; parking is included.
August/September. Oak Harbor Music Festival on Whidbey (oakharborfestival.com) (FREE) World-class, 3-day community music festival on multiple stages. Expect bands in all types of musical genres, plus food vendors & sidewalk cafés, beer & wine gardens, arts & crafts booths, and festival merchandise.
Labor Day Weekend. Seattle’s Bumbershoot (bumbershoot.com) ($$$ to $$$$) takes place over Labor Day weekend across the 74-acre Seattle Center Campus. Celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2023 under new leadership, the legendary festival is returning to its roots by creating opportunity for more people in the community to attend with low-priced early-bird tickets and free tickets to nonprofits and communities that have been underserved. More info: Bumbershoot (seattlecenter.com)
September. Seattle Jackson Street Jazz Walk (JSJW) (jacksonstreetjazz.org) (FREE events; donation requested. Ticketed events $ to $$) JSJW commemorates the musical legacy of the Seattle Central District, where music icons such as Ernestine Anderson, Ray Charles, and Quincy Jones got their start. Through the generous sponsorship of community partners, JSJW features a diverse array of jazz, blues, and alternative artists. This MUSIC for a CAUSE event celebrates the neighborhood’s musical legacy and creates performance opportunities for local artists while fostering human connection and community support.
September. Tacoma Reggae on the Way (reggaeontheway.com) ($$ to $$$) began in 2017. Its format and time of year have been fluctuating. In 2023, it is a 21+ only event to benefit Maui fire victims with food trucks, drinks, local vendors, and performances.
November. Seattle CLOUDBREAK (cloudbreakmusicfest.org) (FREE with hotel stay) is a unique concept in music festivals. Stay in a participating downtown Seattle hotel and receive a FREE LIVE MUSIC PASS to experience select shows for free during the festival. Show your FREE LIVE MUSIC PASS along with your hotel key card to attend for free. Shows are first come first served and space is limited.
November. Seattle Slack Key Festival ($$$) at historic Seattle Town Hall features contemporary Hawaiian Master Musicians. Ki hoʻalu (Hawaiian for “loosen the key”) is characterized by a finger-picking style while playing a guitar with loosened or “slacked” strings, which gives richness to the melody. There are many different tunings for ki hoʻalu, often based on a Major key. Tunings were historically kept secret within families. The melodies played were often meant to evoke nature: wind, rustling leaves, lapping water, or birds singing. Besides nature, there are also many haunting renditions about aloha, loved ones, and the beauty of the Islands. Legends of slack key guitar include Dennis Kamakahi, Raymond Kāne, Ledward “Led” Kaapana, Leonard Kwan, Peter Moon, Gabby Pahinui, Cyril Pahinui (son of Gabby), and Fred Punahoa.
Another place to find popular local and national bands in an outdoor festival setting are at State and County Fairs in Washington State.
Music at the Gorge Amphitheatre
Located along the Columbia River Gorge near the town of George about 150 miles east of Seattle, the “Gorge at George” is considered one of the best outdoor concert venues in the country–some say in the world. Perched on a hillside overlooking the Columbia River, the scenic concert venue seats nearly 30,000 people.
Gorge concerts and festivals are held rain or shine. Summertime temperatures can range from a breezy 50°F at night to 100°F during the day under clear, sunny skies. So, check the weather report for the period you will be at the Gorge and be sure to bring appropriate clothing, sunscreen, and other necessary supplies.
Multi-day festivals at the Gorge require a camping pass. Several options are often available, from a basic campsite to VIP services or “glamping” (glamour camping) costing many times more. Overnight parking without a camping permit, as well as parking on roads around the Gorge Amphitheatre is forbidden and strictly enforced.
Other than camping, your next best bet is to book a modest hotel in Quincy, driving to and parking at the Gorge each day. You can also find lodging a little farther away in Ephrata, Ellensburg, or Wenatchee. RentTheGorge offers a variety of rentals from homes to campsites.
Suggested music events at the Gorge
Note: Some popular events have ceased production, including Paradiso Festival (2012-2020) and Sasquatch! Music Festival (2002-2018).
Gorge Amphitheatre Season Tickets – Live Nation. Season tickets at The Gorge include amazing seats, premium parking, VIP Club access, and other benefits. Choose multiple-show series or full season.
Watershed Music Festival ($$$$) is an annual 3-day country music festival held in August at the Gorge Amphitheatre in George, WA. Watershed features multiple stages of live music with a diverse cross-section of performers from international headliners to local country acts and newcomers. This festival typically sells out, so buy early if you really want to go.
Look for more events at Gorge Amphitheatre – Live Nation
Music Festivals elsewhere in Washington State
Listed below are some of the popular music festivals, most with free or cheap admission. Upcoming free and cheap music festivals are also listed on our calendar below.
May. Spokane “Volume: Inlander Music Festival, has not been produced since 2021 but is expected to return. The Spokane music festival features local and regional talent. Organized by the weekly Inlander paper (serving the inland Northwest) and hosted in downtown music venues.
Summer. Shelton Bluegrass Forest Music Festival. Many activities in addition to the multiple-band shows, including Workshops, Contests, Mandolin Tasting, Jams, open mic, and more.
August. Port Townsend Thing Festival A multidisciplinary event for music and arts at historic Fort Worden. Derived from the medieval term “Ting” meaning “an assembly of free people to reduce feuds and avoid social disorder.” THING will feature three stage of eclectic programming in an epic natural setting.
August/September. Port Townsend Olympic Music Festival is one of the Northwest’s premier chamber music concert series and features world-class musicians in the Wheeler Theater at Fort Worden.
Labor Day Weekend. Tumbleweed Music Festival (tumbleweedfest.com) (FREE) is an open-air, community acoustic music festival held along the banks of the beautiful Columbia River in Richland, WA. Special features of Tumbleweed include the “New Horizons” concert, presenting younger, workshops, an open-mic stage, and the “Jane Titland Memorial Songwriting Contest”. All performances and workshops are free except for a benefit concert and Contra Dance.
Upcoming Music Festivals
If nothing is listed below, there are no upcoming music festivals in our calendar. Theoretically, this shouldn’t happen–2020 being a glaring exception. We update these events on a rolling basis throughout the year.
But wait, there’s more!
- Our big list of live music venues (all genres).
- Here’s a list of 101+ always free things to do for fun.
- More free and cheap things to do every day: Greater Seattle on the Cheap event calendar.
- Still more ideas for frugal fun: Greater Seattle on the Cheap home page.
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Calendar of live music events
The following calendar list includes upcoming live and live stream music events in all genres. We update music events on a rolling basis all year long. We also try to have several free and low cost live music events on the calendar every weekend.