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Summer Beats: Bluegrass Fest and Summer Meltdown

The small mountain town of Darrington, WA is blessed with two summer festivals.

Nestled in the Cascade Mountain range, the town of Darrington is a small, rustic outpost— the last stop for concentrated civilization before heading for glacier fields and snowy peaks. Twice in the summer, however, Darrington transforms from quiet mountain town to Seattle NorthCountry music haven thanks to two multi-day festivals: The Darrington Bluegrass Festival and Summer Meltdown.

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July 19-21

The Darrington Bluegrass Festival is the oldest of the two events. Started in 1977, the folkie fest has been going strong since, even earning the town of Darrington the moniker of the “bluegrass capital of the Northwest.”

Acoustic acts from around the world descend on Darrington in mid-July to take in the sights and sounds of the festival, which features a 24-hour drop-in jam for those musically inclined, as well as food, walking trails, and a swimming hole.

Get Darrington Bluegrass Festival tickets here.

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August 1-4

Bluegrass not your bag? The Summer Meltdown Festival kicks off just a few weeks later and boasts a diverse lineup of indie and electronic music spanning three days, with activities on the festival grounds including kayaking day trips and helicopter rides.

While your time can be spent just on the festival grounds (the Bluegrass Festival and Summer Meltdown both share the same event space), there are hiking trails that will take you to the base of Whitehorse Mountain, as well as world-class mountain biking trails just minutes away.

Get Summer Meltdown Festival tickets here.

Visit Darrington proper for a meal or a drink. Here’s where to go.

The Burger Barn

Try the bleu cheese burger.
1018 Emens Ave N

The Red Top Tavern

Authentic smalltown watering hole.
1020 Darrington St


Grocery store good for camping foodstuffs like marshmallows, hot dogs, beverages, and ice.
1090 Seeman St

Explore the Mountain Loop Highway.

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