One sure sign of summer around these parts is the plethora of music festivals in and around the valley. The following is a melange of musical options that range from being no more than a bike ride away to being far enough outside the Treasure Valley that packing a sleeping bag and tent (or at least making a hotel reservation) needs to be on your to-do list.
Alive After Five
For the 22nd year running a variety of very talented musical acts will perform at the free concert series, Alive After Five. Starting June 4, each Wednesday evening at 5 p.m., as the work week winds down, so can you with a thousand of your closest friends, co-workers and colorful local characters. This year's AAF features the Pieta Brown Trio, Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band, Bumpus, Chicago Afrobeat Project, The Dodos, On the One, Taj Weekes and Adowa, Need to Breathe, The Gourds, Pato Banton and the Mystic Roots Band, Aphrodesia, South Austin Jug Band, the Asylum Street Spankers, Gram Rabbit, the Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad and the series culminates in the Record Exchange's 31st anniversary celebration. For more information, visit downtownboise.org.
The Great Garden Escape Concerts/The Outlaw Field Concert Series
On Thursday evenings starting June 5, load up the family and head to the Idaho Botanical Garden to listen to some of Boise's best local music including Muzzie and Billy Braun, Blaze N Kelly, Steve Eaton, Ben Burdick Trio, Paul Peterson Blues Band, Signature Sound, Deja Blues, Latin Fire, Headwaters, The Hoochie Coochie Men, Boise Straight Ahead, John Nemeth and The Blues Brothers Revue.
This summer, IBG added a little something extra that has BW staffers buzzing louder than a hive of honeybees. The Outlaw Field concerts bring LeAnn Rimes on June 2, Bob Weir and Ratdog with Government Mule on June 23, Lyle Lovett on July 22, and Randy Travis on August 8 to the garden's scenic setting. And unless you plan to be jogging—coincidentally, of course—through the Foothills right at about the time Lyle Lovett begins singing, tickets are $35 or $50. For more information, visit idahobotanicalgarden.org.
Live at the Linen
Paragon Entertainment offers up a three-part concert series in the burgeoning Linen District. The concerts take place on July 5, August 9 and September 6, and each features 14 acts from both Boise and points afar. Local musicians include Bank, Farmdog, Rebecca Scott, Low-Fi, Jeremiah James, Anna Sali, Josh Alswanger, Jerry Fee, James Orr and Blaze N Kelly with more to be announced. After May 30, more information available at liveatthelinen.com.
The peace-promoting Experience Festival at Eagle Island State Park, runs May 14, 15 and 16 and offers discussions on sustainability, craft booths, performances, food and drink, activities for the youngsters and, of course, tunes. Music for this fest provided by locals and non-locals alike: Kris Doty, Gypsy Juke Rockers, Kamphire Collective, Nathan Moody, The Maladies, Equaleyes, Jupiter Holiday, Voice of Reason, The Moon Doggies, Jeff Crosby, Finn Riggins, Farmdog and more. One local charity benefits from festival proceeds. For more information, visit gruntwerks.net/eagleisland.
The College of Idaho's radio station, Alternative!, sponsors its first rock festival, Yotepalooza (named for the college's coyote mascot) on May 14 at 5 p.m. in the Morrison Quad on the C of I campus. Rocking out courtesy of Semi*Famous, Fiftysevenhevy, Pat Dilley, Controlled by the Devil and The Useless. Admission is free for C of I students, $2 general. Organizers ask for non-perishable donations for the Idaho Foodbank.
Alive After the Grind
The Common Ground Cafe is a favorite destination in McCall due in part to owner Brian Thomas' ear for great music. The Alive After the Grind summer concert series runs each Thursdays at 5 p.m., from April through September and often features acts on their way to or from shows in Boise. The music lineup for the 2008 AAG includes Dikki Du and the Zydeco Krewe, Bumpus, Chicago Afrobeat Project, Pinto Bennett Trio, Taj Weekes and Adowa, Damon Castillo, The Charles Walker Band, Warsaw, Aphrodesia, Equaleyes and more. For more information, visit cgc.hotspotsolutions.com.
Jazz in the Canyon
The Jazz in the Canyon festival happens June 14, 15 and16 against the beautiful backdrop of the Snake River canyon. Acts for this year include Skip-N-Skool, The Bill Anschell Group, The Sidemen, Bob Nora, The Soul Cats, The Jazz House Big Band, Frim Fram Four, The B-3 Side, The Jeff Baker Group, Soul Survivors, The Latin Tinge featuring Mark Levine and Niki Haris (daughter of jazz legend Gene Harris). For more information, visit magicvalleyartscouncil.org/jazzincanyon.
Sun Valley Center for the Arts Summer Concert Series
The SVCA keeps the summer sounds alive in central Idaho with a concert series on June 27 with Punch Brothers featuring Chris Thiele; July 17 with the Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi Soul Stew Revival; and The Neville Brothers on August 20. For more information, visit sunvalleycenter.org.
Sawtooth Music Festival
The Sawtooth Music Festival in Stanley has become a regular destination for campers who want to listen to more than just the sounds of a babbling brook. This third annual, one-day event on July 26 benefits the Salmon River Clinic and runs from noon to midnight with music by Thao with the Get Down Stay Down, FreePeoples, Elephant Revival, Equaleyes, Dgiin, Heads Like This, Bucky and more. For more information, visit sawtoothmusicfestival.com.
Music From Stanley
BW contributor/musician/professor Ryan Peck adds concert promoter to his list of professional titles with his Music From Stanley concert series held at Redfish Lake Lodge on Sunday afternoons from June through September. Though he's still firming up the music, acts on board include Darren Smith, Jared Mees, Eilen Jewell, Andrew Ryan and Rosalie Sorrels and possibly Weinland and Nick Jaina. This year's series will include morning shows, after-parties, a huge Fourth of July celebration and the addition of local Americana rocker Jeremiah James as host/emcee of the shows. The series will be rebroadcast on KBSU and KISU in the fall. For more information, visit web.mac.com/musicfromstanley.