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We Came, We Saw, We Melted ~ Summer Meltdown Review

We Came, We Saw, We Melted ~ Summer Meltdown Review

By: Katie Hovde

Photo Cover by: Jason Charme

I had started to not enjoy music festivals anymore. What felt like different iterations of the same thing over and over again aptly lost its appeal, leaving a little broken heart in its place. Festivals had always been my happy place; my place to be free. I wasn’t sure I would have that again after nearly a year of bad shows. But then Summer Meltdown happened and I’ve fallen back in love with festivals all over again.

Summer Meltdown is held in Darrington, Washington; a small, quiet little mountain town. Every year (since 2006) hippies, metal heads, headbangers, families with children, and every other kind of person you can think of comes out in droves to frolic around barefoot in the forest listening to sweet tunes and melt into happy puddles for four days straight. It’s the “largest locally-produced independent camping music festival in the Pacific Northwest”. 

The lineup this year was a healthy combination of all types of genres, including a large percentage being made up of local bands. 

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Some stand-out sets for me were Big Gigantic, Bassnectar, Greensky Bluegrass, Papadosio, Clinton Fearon, High Step Society, Baby Cakes, Andy Coe Band, and Beats Antique

There were a total of four different stages – each one with different art installations attached to them. Each art installation and other curated items were sourced locally so it was easy and almost accidental to meet the artists both on and off the lineup. The art installations add an extra layer of whimsy.

What truly makes this festival special are the people in attendance. I have spent too much time at raves amidst all the judge-y bros and hoes. I had gotten used to feeling self-conscious about the way I look, the way I dance, and even the people I hang out with. Not once did I feel judged. And if I did feel watched at all, it was because I was doin’ the damn thing and KILLING IT with my sick dance moves. It’s the kind of place where you can leave your belongings sitting amongst the crowd, get up and dance or get a drink for a couple hours, and come back to all of your stuff where you left it. It’s refreshing to be able to feel complete trust in a massive crowd of strangers.

Summer Meltdown is all of the things that made me fall in love with festivals in the first place, all wrapped up into a magnificent four days. Days spent bathing in the river in the morning, noshing on the most delicious food from the kindest vendors to nights spent partying with new friends. Whether you are a veteran or a newbie, this festival is sure to inspire you and renew the parts of your soul that you didn’t know needed renewing. This festival is something special.

Photo by Author

Photo by Author

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