The rainy months have been an especially big bummer this year, what with the economic meltdown and swine flu panic adding to the usual toll of seasonal affective disorder.
But you should feel better about one thing at least: The summer concert season is on the way, and soon you’ll be able to refill the ol’ vitamin D reserves (sunshine helps) while enjoying your favorite bands. It even started a little early this year, when the Dead, the Allman Brothers and the Doobie Brothers played the Gorge on Saturday.
So in the interest of helping you plan your summer entertainment, here’s the skinny on some of Washington’s biggest outdoor concert series.
The Gorge Amphitheatre
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Where: 754 Silica Road N.W., George.
Info: 509-785-6262 or www.livenation.com/venue/the-gorge-amphitheatre-tickets.
The skinny: Breathtaking views of the Columbia River Gorge make the 21/2 hour drive and braving those nauseating Honey Buckets worth it – until day three of the annual Sasquatch Festival, at least. Speaking of which, the view and edgy lineups have turned Sasquatch – the Gorge’s annual kickoff party – into a national destination, on par with bigger festivals, like Tennessee’s Bonnaroo and California’s Coachella. And Dave Matthews’ annual Labor Day weekend stand will be extra special this year with a new album, “Big Whiskey and the Groogrux King,” due this summer.
Lineup: Sasquatch Festival, featuring Nine Inch Nails, Jane’s Addiction, TV on the Radio and more (May 23 to 25); Coldplay (July 11); Blazed and Confused tour, featuring Snoop Dogg and Slightly Stoopid (July 18); Creation Festival featuring Chris Tomlin, Reliant K, Kutless and more (July 22 to 25); Phish (Aug. 7 and 8); Vans Warped tour featuring Bad Religion, Less Than Jake, NOFX and more (Aug. 15); Nickelback (Aug. 29); Dave Matthews Band (Sept. 4 to 6).
White River Amphitheatre
Where: 40601 Auburn Enumclaw Road, Auburn.
Info: 360-825-6200 or www.whiteriverconcerts.com.
The skinny: White River’s covered seating is more comfy if less scenic than the Gorge. But even though the venue is 120 miles closer, still plan on two hours of travel time to the ol’ Motley Crue show. Traffic is horrendous, especially when there’s a wreck or weekday traffic bottlenecks on Auburn Enumclaw Road. Check the venue’s Web site for time-saving shortcuts.
Lineup: New Kids on the Block (July 7); Mayhem Tour, featuring Marilyn Manson and Slayer (July 14); No Doubt (July 19): Motley Crue’s Crue Fest 2 (July 27); The Fray (Aug. 6); Rod Stewart (Aug. 7); Aerosmith with ZZ Top (Aug. 17).
The Puyallup Fair
Where: Puyallup Fair & Events Center, 110 Ninth Ave. S.W., Puyallup.
Info: 253-841-5045 or www.thefair.com.
THE SKINNY: The nearly 11,000-seat Puyallup Fair grandstand is home to one of the region’s more family friendly concert series (with the occasional raunchy Busta Rhymes or Fergie set aside). The sugar buzz you get from scarfing down elephant ears can only add to the giddiness you feel when Jason Aldean makes his entrance. Whooooooooo!
Lineup: Jason Aldean with the Puyallup Pro Rodeo (Sept. 11); Crosby , Stills & Nash (Sept. 14); Rodney Atkins (Sept. 15); Newsboys (Sept. 17); James Taylor (Sept. 19); Fiestas Patrias (Sept. 20); Wynonna Judd with Tacoma Symphony (Sept. 21); ’60s spectacular (Sept. 22); Heart (Sept. 23); Dave Koz and Brian Culbertson with Peabo Bryson (Sept. 24); Third Day with Toby Mac (Sept. 26); Disney’s High School Musical (Sept. 27).
Concerts at Marymoor
Where: Marymoor Park, 6046 W. Lake Sammamish Parkway, Redmond.
Info: 206-205-3661 and www.concertsatmarymoor.
THE SKINNY: The 4,500-capacity amphitheatre provides a more intimate outdoor setting than the Gorge or White River. This year, organizers scored big with indie-pop fans by including July stops by hipster-approved Northwest acts Iron & Wine, the Decemberists and Death Cab for Cutie.
Lineup: Duran Duran (July 5); Iron & Wine (July 11); The Decemberists (July 17); Death Cab for Cutie (July 18 and 19); Foreigner (Aug. 22).
Chateau Ste Michelle Winery
Where: 14111 145th St., Woodinville.
Info: 425-415-3300 or www.ste-michelle.com.
The skinny: The lineup generally skews toward baby boomer tastes, though John Legend and India.Arie will attract a younger set to Woodinville this summer. Like Marymoor, it’s an intimate setting for catching big names – the likes of Bonnie Raitt and Elvis Costello this year. And being able to kick back with a nice bottle of Ethos merlot during the show enhances an already cozy concert experience.
Lineup: Tears for Fears (July 10); Steve Miller Band (July 11); Moody Blues (July 29); Lyle Lovett & His Band (July 31); KWJZ Music Festival (Aug. 1 and 2); Jackson Browne (Aug. 21); Elvis Costello & the Sugarcanes (Aug. 23); John Legend with India.Arie (Aug. 28); Diana Krall (Aug. 29 and 30); Chris Isaak (Sept. 4); Gipsy Kings (Aug. 5); BonTaj Roulet, featuring Bonnie Raitt and Taj Mahal (Sept. 6); Pink Martini (Sept. 12).