Listed below are the annual music festivals in Seattle and across Washington State. We focus on music festival events with free or cheap (<$15) admission, but include popular music festivals with higher price admission so you can plan when to splurge.
Our list of music festivals includes all genres, from rock, jazz, and country music to a diversity of cultural music celebrations. You can find still more live music performances in our big list of live music venues (all genres).
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Free and cheap music festivals in the Seattle-Tacoma metro area
Listed below are some of the popular music festivals in the Seattle-Tacoma metro area with free or cheap admission (<$15). Upcoming free and cheap music festivals are listed on our calendar below.
(listed by month)
January. Seattle Boombox Music Festival. January 3-4, 2020 at the Crocodile is an annual all ages event with FREE admission.
February. Seattle BeatWalk Fat Tuesday edition. February 25, 2020. The informal summer street music festival (Jun-Sep) also hosts a Fat Tuesday celebration in the south Seattle neighborhood of Columbia City, on the sidewalks and alleys (all ages, weather permitting) and in the venues. The Sidewalk Parade gathers around 5:15pm and 5:30pm, and marches out at approximately 5:45pm. For those of you new to the neighborhood, anyone can meet and participate in the parade. If you’re a musician, you are welcome and encouraged to join in to lead the 2nd Line Parade. Laissez les bons temps rouler!!!
March. Seattle Improvised Music Festival. Cancelled 2020 due to coronavirus. Takes place at multiple venues. All ages. The festival features rare appearances, national and local artists performing solo sets, as well as in curated groupings. Artists represent several generations and a wide range of musical activity, plus community improvisation sessions open to musicians at all levels of experience. Suggested donation $5 – $20 at the door, cash only.
April. Seattle World Rhythm Festival Cancelled 2020 due to coronavirus. Held at Seattle Center features more than 100 drum and dance performances and classes including African, Middle-East, Latin, Indian, Brazilian, and North American music traditions. FREE admission.
May. Edmonds Jazz Connection Cancelled 2020 due to coronavirus. includes a full day of performances from nationally recognized and award-winning High School and Middle School jazz programs from throughout the Pacific Northwest. At the conclusion of the academic year, Jazz Connection is an encore for these accomplished students to perform for the community and showcase their improvisational talents while playing side-by-side with professional musicians. FREE admission; donations are encouraged. All proceeds from this annual event go directly to student scholarships and district grants to help further enrich music education in our schools.
May/June. Bellevue Jazz & Blues Festival
in May/June (2020 rescheduled for October 28 – November 1, 2020) includes live shows at venues across the city. Festival goers can enjoy performances by international jazz icons, celebrated local artists, and top student musicians. Some shows are 21+ only. Many shows are free. Ticketed shows range from $21-$55.
June-September. Seattle BeatWalk. Cancelled 2020 due to coronavirus. Every 2nd Sunday during summer. The informal street music festival has taken place sine 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. The lineup always features 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, FREE event.
June. Seattle HONK! Fest West.
June 5, 2020. Cancelled 2020 due to coronavirus. A volunteer-planned and organized street band festival. Each day of Honk Fest is held in a different south Seattle neighborhood. FREE event.
June. Make Music Day (MMD).
June 21, 2020. Cancelled 2020 due to coronavirus. A free 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. FREE event.
July. Seattle Bon Odori Festival. Going virtual in 2020! Virtual Bon Odori, July 18, 2020. A traditional festival to honor ancestors and celebrate their ongoing presence in our lives. Also known as Obon, the festival is held at the Betsuin Buddhist Temple. The main event is traditional music and dancing in the street. Plus there is Japanese food, taiko and martial arts performances, and craft exhibits and demonstrations. Many festival goers dress in Japanese kimono, yukata, or happi coats. FREE admission.
July. Kirkland Summerfest Music + Arts Festival. July 23-25, 2021. Features a Main Stage that is FREE until 6pm and $10 cover charge after 6PM. KIDZONE and Street Fair throughout downtown Kirkland features 200+ vendors.
July. Tacoma “Art on the Avenue”. Cancelled 2020 due to coronavirus. An annual street music and art festival hosted by the 6th Ave Business District, Tacoma WA’s Most Eclectic District, along 6th Avenue from State St. to Alder. Attracting thousands of patrons, it is Tacoma’s largest arts-based yearly event. The festival features live music and art, food trucks, and beer gardens. FREE event.
July. Seattle Seafair Indian Days Pow Wow. Cancelled 2020 due to coronavirus. Held annually on the third weekend in July at the Daybreak Star Indian Cultural Center in Discovery Park. The 3-day powwow showcases traditional music and dancing along with other Indian crafts. Throughout the day, tribes from the United States and Canada dance in full tribal regalia and eagle-feather head-dresses. FREE admission on Friday; $5 Saturday or Sunday.
August/September. Oak Harbor Music Festival on Whidbey in August/September. Cancelled 2020 due to coronavirus. Features two main stages and more than 30 bands in all types of musical genres, plus beer gardens, food vendors, sidewalk cafés, arts & crafts booths, and OHMF merchandise. Free admission.
Popular music festivals in the Seattle-Tacoma metro area
Listed below are some of the popular music festivals in the Seattle-Tacoma metro area with admission >$15. Due to their high cost, these ticketed music festivals may not be listed on our event calendar–but if we do, we include ways to save money at the event (advance purchase, etc.).
(listed by month)
Everett Fisherman’s Village Music Festival in May. Cancelled 2020 due to coronavirus. A showcase of independent art and music that genuinely captures the spirit and heart of the Puget Sound. This community festival includes a slew of national talent, while keeping an emphasis on local artists and businesses. The Night Market on Friday and Saturday features food trucks, beer garden, and vendors selling locally made goods. Festival passes are $79.
Tacoma Reggae On The Way in July began in 2017. Cancelled 2020 due to coronavirus. The outdoor festival takes place on several city blocks. The festival is all ages; kids 10 and under are FREE (each child must be accompanied by an adult with a ticket). Tickets are $55.
Seattle Capitol Hill Block Party in July. Cancelled 2020 due to coronavirus. An annual 3-day music and art festival showcasing local bars, restaurants, and retail shops alongside bands, art shows, community events, and political activism. 6-stages support and promote the local and regional talent, joined by international and national artists. One of the last independently owned festivals of its size in the country. Tickets are $160-$300.
Darrington Summer Meltdown in August. Cancelled 2020 due to coronavirus. A music, adventure, and camping festival open to all ages. Tent camping is included in the ticket price; vehicle camping is an additional charge. 4-day weekend festival passes are over $200 and include tent camping but not car parking. If weekend passes don’t sell out, 1-3 days passes may become available. Car parking is $38 (required for tent camping) or vehicle/RV camping begins at $155/$250. There other optional adventures as add-ons.
Port Townsend Thing Festival in August. Cancelled 2020 due to coronavirus. 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. One-day pass $130, two-day pass $250.
Seattle Bumbershoot over Labor Day Weekend at Seattle Center. Cancelled 2020 due to coronavirus. One of the biggest and most-loved contemporary festivals in North America. Not just a music festival, Bumbershoot is a multi-disciplinary arts festival that features a microcosm of what is current across all art forms. Bumbershoot showcases the best of music, comedy, dance, film, theatre, and literary, performing, and visual arts. One-day Bumbershoot tickets are over $100.
Seattle Slack Key Festival in November. Cancelled 2020 due to coronavirus. Features Hawaiian Master Musicians, tropical flowers, and prize drawings. General admission tickets are in the range of $30-$60, so pretty reasonable on the lower end.
Music Festivals at the Gorge
The Gorge Amphitheatre is located 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.
About the Gorge Concerts
Gorge concerts and festivals are held rain or shine. Summertime temperatures can range from a breezy 50°F at night to 100°F under clear, sunny skies during the day. 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 ten times more…or 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.
Popular music festivals at the Gorge
Listed below are some of the popular music festivals at the Gorge. Due to their high cost, these ticketed music festivals may not be listed on our event calendar–but if we do, we include ways to save money at the event (advance purchase, etc.).
Sasquatch! Music Festival (2002-2018) was an annual eclectic music festival held at The Gorge over Memorial Day weekend. Founder Adam Zacks produced the last Sasquatch festival in 2018.
Paradiso Festival is an annual electronic dance music festival held in June at The Gorge Amphitheatre in George, WA features three stages of music, plus world class visuals, rides, and attractions. Two-day GA passes begin around $180. Camping passes begin at $109 per vehicle and may include up to 6 persons arriving together. Save on ticket fees by purchasing at a participating retail outlet. Buy early, since prices rise as ticket tiers sell out.
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. Three-day GA passes are over $200. Camping passes begin at $160 (per vehicle/site). Festival tickets are required for everyone in the camp, in addition to the per-vehicle camping passes. This festival typically sells out, so buy early if you really want to go.
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.
Ellensburg Spirit of the West Cowboy Festival in February offers a weekend of music, poetry, food, and authentic cowboy culture fused into a family-friendly event. Enjoy a wide range of events including a Western Gear and Art Show, Dance, Concerts, Dutch Oven Cooking, Fiddle Contest, Cowboy Church, Workshops, Demonstrations, Ranch Roping, and Free kids activities. Singers and poets can be heard at main stage concerts. Free downtown venues and open-mic sessions. Free festival admission. Dances and concerts $10-$35.
Spokane “Volume: Inlander Music Festival in May features local and regional talent. Organized by the weekly Inlander paper (serving the inland Northwest) and hosted in downtown music venues. Single night $20. Weekend pass $35; save $6 on advance purchase.
Yakima Folklife Festival in June features live music at several venues, food & craft vendors, beer & wine garden, kids’ activities, a shorts film festival, and free admission during the festival to the Yakima Valley Museum. Free admission.
Shelton Bluegrass Forest Music Festival: Midwinter concert the last week of December and Bluegrass from the Forest in May. Many activities in addition to the multiple-band shows, including Master Workshops, Band Scramble Showcase (anyone can participate!), Banjo Contest, Chick Rose’s Youth School of Bluegrass, Mandolin Tasting, Marv’s Slow Jam, nd the Showcase Stage where there’ll be open mic as well as other band performances. Daily tickets $15-$25. Weekend pass $45. Age 12 – 17 are half price. Age 11 and under are free with paying adult. Camping is available for additional charge.
Port Townsend Olympic Music Festival in August/September is virtual festival August 2 – September 6, 2020. It is one of the Northwest’s premier chamber music concert series and features world-class musicians in the Wheeler Theater at Fort Worden. Single tickets begin at $33. 3-ticket subscriptions begin at $90.
Richland Tumbleweed Music Festival in August/September on the Columbia River. Virtual festival September 3-7, 2020. Features five outdoor stages, open mic stage, indoor dance floor, songwriting contest with cash prizes, Band scramble (amateur or pro, you are invited to join), and workshops, plus food and craft vendors. Most events are free.
Another place to find popular national and local bands in an outdoor festival setting are summer fairs. Check our list of State and County Fairs in Washington State.
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.
Sunday, September 19, 2021
Wednesday, October 6, 2021
Thursday, October 7, 2021
Friday, October 8, 2021
Saturday, October 9, 2021
Sunday, October 10, 2021
Thursday, February 24, 2022
But wait, there’s more!
- Our big list of live music venues (all genres).
- Our big list of music festivals in Washington State.
- 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.