Last year's local and near-local summer concert season hit some high notes and blew a few Bronx cheers as well. Poor planning had a few concertgoers kicking up dust as they waited in long lines; and poor attendance had musicians hanging their heads as they played to small crowds in venues that hold thousands. This year's concert series and festival season is about to get swingin' and while it may suffer a pitchy moment or two, some of the lineups guarantee at least a handful of hits. Keep in mind it's still early, so we may see a plethora of paloozas pop up yet, and some of the lineups are certainly subject to change, but here are a few of the annual faves.
The Eagle Island Experience kicks off Friday, May 15, and "experience" is absolutely the right word for this rainbow-colored shindig. It has all the ingredients for an excellent outdoor festival including room for the kids to run. Last year, BW staffers sat under our logoed tent digging the sounds of Kamphire Collective, eating teriyaki chicken and coconut rice from Kanak Attack Catering, watching our tykes roll down the big grassy hill and splash in the murky pond. This year we're planning for a long groovy weekend with performers such as Jimmy Bivens, Cosmic Family Band, Chris Gutierrez, Polyphonic Pomegranate, Blaze and Kelly (their new official name), Denae and Nathan Jay Moody and the Quartertons. Stick around, and you'll also hear up-and-comers Bank, Juntura, Low-fi and Finn Riggins. The cherry on top of the Phish Food ice cream sundae is Idaho's most famous export, Built To Spill, who play Saturday, May 16. And if you see the BW tent, stop by. We're giving away free shade all weekend. You can find the full list of performers and times online at gruntwerks.net/eagleisland.
In Sun Valley, the waiting is over because this is it for 40- and 50-somethings who can chase all the clouds in the sky with Kenny Loggins. The man who gave us such gems as "Footloose" and the Caddyshack theme "I'm Alright" sets the tone for the Sun Valley Summer Concert Series at the new pavilion on Saturday, May 30. Tickets are $40 to $125, which still isn't bad considering the gorgeous surroundings. If Kenny isn't your cup of tea, Sara Evans croons her country tunes on Friday, June 19. Tickets are $35 to $55. For more info, visit sunvalley.com.
Alive After Five takes off on Wednesday, June 3, with a cool major change: local bands will open for the touring acts. Check downtownboise.org this month for the full lineup.
June 19-21 is the Esthetic Evolution Festival, a weekend of electronic music and "progressive thinking and self-expression" at Twin Springs. Music is courtesy of Dylan Rhymes of the United Kingdom, DJ ESP Woody McBride from Wisconsin as well as local and regional DJs and producers. Tickets are $45. Visit estheticevolution.com for more info.
School of Rock headmaster Ryan Peck again offers up his Music From Stanley free concert series, which runs Sunday afternoons starting in June through September at scenic Redfish Lake Lodge. Jeremiah James will host the series, which features Blind Driver, Carrie Rodriguez, Ben Bedford, Gizzard Stone, Charley Jenkins, Belle of Les Bois, Johnny Shoes and Kayleigh Jack, Poke, A Seasonal Disguise and James Dean Kindle and the East Oregon Playboys. Kindle and the Playboys were a sweet surprise when they opened for Thomas Paul--along with La Knots' Tuck Nelson--this spring at Paul's Record Exchange CD release party. Visit musicfromstanley.com for dates.
The second annual Outlaw Field Concert Series at Idaho Botanical Garden promises to be a must-see series this summer, and with changes to ticketing, parking and seating it may avoid some of the problems it faced last summer. To help celebrate IBG's 25th anniversary, on Friday, July 3, the Sorry For Partying party features Reckless Kelly, Muzzie and Billy Braun, Jeremiah James and friends; Monday, July 27, the Indigo Girls and guest Ryan Harris will sing among the sunflowers; Wednesday, July 29, Lyle Lovett and his Large Band are bringing it back to Boise; and the series closes out with the BonTaj Roulet--Bonnie Raitt and Taj Mahal together and solo. Tickets range in price from $10 for kids to $75 for preferred general adult admission but IBG made an important change this year: IBG members got first grab at tickets, which were made available to them May 8. Tickets for the general public go on sale Friday, May 22. Since the shows may sell out before that time, new IBG marketing director Casandra Sipes recommends becoming an IBG member or risk missing out.
IBG also brings back its annual favorite, Great Garden Escape Concerts, on Thursdays from June 4 through Sept. 24 with everything from jazz to country to rock to folk and more. For the full lineup, more information or to become an IBG member, call 208-343-8649 or visit idahobotanicalgarden.org.
In the dead of summer, cool off in the mountains with the Sawtooth Music Festival on Saturday, July 25. Just $25 advance or $30 at the door plus a 10-spot per vehicle for camping gets you in front of Thao with the Get Down Stay Down, FreePeoples, Dgiin, Elephant Revival, Jeremiah James (he and Built to Spill are very busy this summer), Bucky, Damphools, the ever popular Equaleyes and Heads Like This. Visit sawtoothmusicfestival.com for more info.
On Friday, Aug. 7, The Warped Tour turns 15 years old and brings a plethora of rockers to the Idaho Center to celebrate. It's a crazy lineup with The A.K.A.s, Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band, NOFX, Shooter Jennings and Bad Religion, and tons of other performers. Tickets are on sale now and available through ictickets.com. More info at warpedtour.com.: The nearly 30-year-old Hyde Park Street Fair: at Camel's Back Park helps close out summer with food, fun and music. The lineup is currently as follows: Friday, Sept. 18, it's young, talented duo La Knots, sweet-voiced Kris Doty, a revamped Kamphire Collective and veterans Built To Spill. On Saturday, Sept. 19, hear Bellamy Rose, Garden City Limits, Jimmy Bivens, Rebecca Scott, Audio Moonshine and whatever the new Farmdog is now called. The fest ends Sunday, Sept. 20, with the Ben Burdick Trio, The Heard, Bill Coffey and Pinto Bennett, and it won't cost you a dime to hear some of Idaho's best. Visit gruntwerks.net/hydepark for more info.: