EverOut's Top Picks for Spring 2023 Arts Events in Seattle
Our Top Performance, Visual Art, Literary, Film, and Music Picks for the Season
Pacific Northwest Ballet Pushes Itself to the Limits with Boundless
Person of Interest: Rohini Jayanthi
Laughing Through Life’s Hardships
Obsessed by Northwest
Why David Schmader Watched Every Single Movie Ever Filmed in Washington and Oregon
The Flood Is Coming
Jónsi’s Multisensory Exhibition Will Hit You Like a Wave
The Stranger's A+P Is Back
The Most Comprehensive Guide to the Spring Arts Season Returns Online and in Print
Solaris Is About a Black Woman
Will Book-It Repertory Theatre’s Adaptation Catch What Others Have Missed?
Person of Interest: Kevin Sur
Heading into the Wild
Floating on a Sea of Vapors
Emily Counts’s Surreal Sculptures Capture Women’s Magical Powers
Person of Interest: Josh Okrent & CM Ruiz
Bringing Life to Seattle’s Vacant Spaces
Good as Hell
Legendary Drone Band Earth Finally Receives Their Hero’s Welcome
Bananas Are Creepy Yellow Fingers Full of Blood
A New Poetry Collection Tells the Whole Story
Bumbershoot, Capitol Hill Block Party, Day In Day Out, Belltown Bloom... Seattle is silly with spring and summer music festivals, and each one brings with it its own impressive list of performers.
Timber! Outdoor Music Festival is different. It was started by Artist Home founder Kevin Sur in 2013, just a few years after Artist Home co-founded Doe Bay Fest, another popular, outdoor, nature-forward festival experience. While most of today’s local music festivals take place in the city—hot blacktop, little shade, lots of crowds—Timber! lives about 45 minutes outside of town in Carnation, WA. The bucolic surroundings are as much a part of the experience as the bands, which this year include Jeff Tweedy, the King Khan & BBQ Show, Black Belt Eagle Scout, and Guerilla Toss, among others.
“When we started, there were far fewer festivals, and festivals like Doe Bay Fest and Timber!, whose intimacy was deliberate, didn’t exist,” said Sur. “Our inspiration literally came from doing the opposite of what larger festivals were doing—to celebrate experience over profit and create events that we ourselves would love to be at.”
That’s why Timber!’s lineup is as stacked with artists as it is with adventures—there’s tree climbing, stargazing, hiking, and even bat-watching with the experts at Bats Northwest. What other music fest offers that? Well, other than SXSW, with its giant bat colony that lives under Congress Avenue Bridge, I guess.
This year’s lineup is so good! What do you do as a talent buyer/festival curator to ensure that Timber! stands out from other festivals?
THANK YOU! We just stay true to ourselves and our intentions. We want Timber! to be a place that elevates artists who need to be seen, in lieu of just trying to book what is most popular.
We’re proud to have provided the first festival stages for countless bands that people in our region, if not the entire country, are now familiar with—the Head and the Heart, Deep Sea Diver, Travis Thompson, and so many more. We want people to have unforgettable memories, and falling in love with an artist for the first time is just one of the ways we foster that.
You also offer yoga, stargazing, hiking, tree climbing... Why is it important to incorporate those surroundings into the experience for festivalgoers?
We share a reverence for the natural world, and we aim to create an event that represents who we are, so incorporating that comes naturally. Additionally, we don’t like how little space people typically have at music festivals, where one can feel like herded cattle. By creating a space in which people can “choose their own adventure,” but also have the ability to disengage and choose their own pace by hiking a trail or sitting on a beach, we’ve found that most people walk away from Timber! feeling more energized than they did walking into it.
Do you have a favorite local hiking trail or place to go to get out of the city?
Definitely Olympic National Park. From Shipwreck Coast, where you can fall asleep to the sound of the ocean every night, to the Enchanted Valley and Hoh River Trail, whose beauty has brought me to tears. The Olympics are my go-to.
What’s your favorite thing to cook over a campfire or camp grill?
As a native Hawaiian, I LOVE “local food” and cooking a lot of staples of Hawai‘i on the grill and in the campfire. One of my favorite moves is to take the skewers made for s’mores and instead use them to cook kalbi short ribs or chunks of huli huli chicken over a campfire. Delicious!
Experience Timber! Outdoor Music Festival July 27–29 at Tolt-MacDonald Park in Carnation, WA.