The Dig1 Guide to Pacific Northwest Music Festivals

Posted on Sep 5, 2013
The Dig1 Guide to Pacific Northwest Music Festivals

It may be raining right now, and completely miserable outside, and the soft hum of summer’s death rattle is omnipresent, but never fear: music festival season is at it’s absolute peak. Not only are we smack dab in the middle of Musicfest NW, but there are a slew of other amazing music festivals on the horizon, poised to round out the summer of 2013 with the utmost silky soft smoothness and mind-numbingly spectacular sounds.
Here are our choices for the top three music festivals in the Pacific Northwest for the month of September…
MFNW - Digital One - Portland, OR
Musicfest NW // Portland, OR // September 3rd – 8th
We’re still recouperating from a fantastically well received inaugural Portland Film Festival, but what better way to shake off a moviefest, than with a musicfest. If you haven’t yet had the opportunity to partake in some Musicfest NW debauchery, you have until Sunday, September 8th to soak up the jams strewn around the city. With venues such as the Pioneer Courthouse Square, The Roseland, Doug Fir Lounge, Holocene, and a whole lotta others, music is literally spilling onto the streets and into the sandwich spots. It’s a sight to be seen, we swear. Last night we were lucky enough to stop by the Doug Fir to catch Eyelids [a band consisting of various members of The Decemberists, Minus 5, Guided By Voices, etc. etc.], and believe you me, the crowds are hungry and the energy is fierce. Check out to buy tickets, view the full lineup, and get details.
New Forms Festival - Digital One - Portland, OR
New Forms Festival // Vancouver, B.C. // September 12th – 15th
If the name of your game is “border-crossing-airplane-hangar-arts-and-technology-extravaganza”, then I have the perfect music festival for you. Now in it’s 13th year, New Forms Festival in Vancouver, British Columbia is steadily gaining speed and (well-deserved) recognition for the thoughtful and inspired lineup, careful curation, new media and technology exhibitions and all-over ambiance.

One aspect we’re especially looking forward to is the presentation by synthesizer pioneer (and mastermind) Donald Buchla. As if Buchla’s impending performance and Q&A session wasn’t enough, New Forms will also have the most complete and comprehensive exhibit of Buchla’s instruments ever to be assembled. If you’re unfamiliar with his work, take a gander at his wiki page, and keep an eye out for the Buchla Documentary recently funded on Kickstarter.
Decibel Festival - Digital One - Portland, OR
Decibel Festival // Seattle, WA // September 25th – 29th
Celebrating it’s tenth year in existence, we are proud to report that we can all look upon the state-of-things and agree that the world is a better place because Decibel exists. Much like Austin’s SXSW, Detroit’s Movement Festival and New York’s Pitchfork Festival, Decibel effectively takes over the entire city of Seattle, inhabiting famous venues such as Neumos, the Nordstrom Recital Hall, The Triple Door, and even unconventional venues such as the Islander Boat Cruise and the park outside of Broadway Performance Hall.

Music aside, one of the most appealing aspect of Decibel is the dB Conference, which will take place at the Broadway Performance Hall. Full of product demos, workshops, and panel discussions galore, the dB Conference allows festival-goers to get an up-close-and-personal look at the latest music production technologies to date, thanks to the myriad of technical supporters and presenters, ranging from Abelton, Rane, Dubspot, Native Instruments, Resident Advisor and Madrona Labs (makers of the gorgeous monome controller).

Decibel Festival is definitely the most well-rounded and action-packed five days you’ll ever spend in Seattle. If you haven’t had a chance to experience it first hand, treat yoself and get up to Seattle September 25th – 29th to see what all the fuss is about. It is so incredibly worth it. The sheer amount of audio / visual excellence is almost impossible to comprehend. View the full music program here, and we’ll see you at Decibel.