Tucked away in the great majestic mountain town of Darrington, Washington, Summer Meltdown was a transformative, relaxing and bountiful experience. Upon arrival we were greeted by the nicest security, organizers and staff found on this side of the Mississippi who were not only friendly but helpful which is imperative to those of us who haven’t explored that part of the country yet. The festival was 4 full days of relaxation, neighborly love and all-out jams.

Summer Meltdown had two bigger stages and two side stages for late night performances. The main stage which housed space for headliners such as Big Gigantic, Trevor Hall, Beats Antique, Greensky Bluegrass and of course Bassnectar was surrounded by a cement amphitheater, tall towering trees to the left and a majestic snow-capped mountain to the right. The second main stage was pinned 1⁄2 in the Beer Garden sponsored by Deep Eddy Vodka and Deschutes Brewing. It was a 21+ paradise complete with cheap drinks, patio games and of course a photo booth. The festival had artists on a rotating schedule between the two stages starting late afternoon until around midnight. After midnight any party animals could be found at either the forest stage hidden in the trees near campsites or the Late Night tent.

Summer Meltdown wasn’t just for the adults though. The festival was an all ages extravaganza with a kids parade on Sunday, arts and crafts for our friends 12 and under and of course the free-flowing river. About a 15 to 20-minute walk from the festival was the North Fork Stillaguamish River at the bottom of a gorge in the mountains. Green/blue water and a sandy beach provided room for adults and kids alike to splash around in the sun. Tubes were in abundance and campers even brought their own decks and speakers to create a whole mood on the beach. Summer Meltdown also had activities for the adventurous including helicopter rides for groups of up to four that flew 8,000 feet above the breathtaking Cascade mountains. The festival also had ample places for hiking, rock climbing, kayaking and mountain biking for all ages. All of this at one festival and we haven’t even gotten to the music!

The lineup was mainly jam/electronic music but had a little bit of something for everyone as well. If you were looking for something a little circus-ey complete with belly dancing and acrobatics your best bets were Beats Antique and MarchFourth. Both acts were able to put a childlike wonder into your eyes. For those looking for some wubs Bassnectar and Psymbionic were able to fully fill that void. For those looking for something a bit more transformative, your best bets were Papadosio, Manatee Commune and Trevor Hall. Each of these performers in their own way were able to take you to a new level of thinking and left you feeling like you just left a weekend-long yoga retreat. As the entire festival did as a whole. Next time you’re looking for something a bit more relaxing to end your summer shenanigans, head out to the PNW and get groovy at Summer Meltdown.

Words by Lexi Nixon. Featured photo and photo 2 via Summer Meltdown FB, all others by Jared Winkel