Festival at Sandpoint: 35th anniversary

Eight concerts under the stars, Aug. 3-13 at Memorial Field in Sandpoint, Idaho

New & Notable

The Festival at Sandpoint celebrates its 35th season Aug. 3-13 with eight nights of music under the stars, on the shores of Lake Pend Oreille, in Sandpoint, Idaho. The season line-up serves up its trademark eclectic mix with headliners Pink Martini, The B-52’s, Jake Owen, The Head and The Heart, Iration, The Wailers, George Thorogood and The Destroyers and the Spokane Symphony conducted by Gary Sheldon with piano soloist Tien Hsieh. Supporting artists include The Roman Candles and The White Buffalo. Most shows start at 7:30 p.m. (unless noted).

Opening Night: Pink Martini

Pink Martini: Opening Night
Pink Martini opens the Festival at Sandpoint Aug. 3.

On the Festival’s Opening Night, Thursday, Aug. 3, spend an evening with the “little orchestra” from Portland, Ore., with its wildly diverse repertoire that draws from classical, jazz and old-fashioned pop. The virtuosic group draws from the romantic Hollywood musicals of the 1940s and 50s, with a global perspective that comes from their multi-cultural members. According to the Washington Times, “Pink Martini is an original force in contemporary music even as it basks in eclectic nostalgia. It also bridges, better than any band in recent memory, the high-brow/pop culture divide.” Tickets are $44.95.

Festival Dance Party No. 1: The B-52’s

The B-52’s headline the Friday party on Aug. 4; from groundbreaking songs like “Rock Lobster,” “Dance the Mess Around” and “Private Idaho” to chart-topping hits like “Love Shack,” “Roam,” “Deadbeat Club” and “Funplex,” the B-52’s dance-rock tunes jump start a party every time. Since their first gig on Valentine’s Day in 1977, the band has galvanized the pop world with their stream-of-consciousness approach to songwriting and outrageous performance ($54.95). The Festival venue will be configured differently for this concert to allow for an increased dancing/standing area in front of the stage.

Barefoot Blue Jeans: County Artist Jake Owen

On Saturday, Aug. 5, red-hot county artist Jake Owen is coming to Sandpoint. A fast-rising star, Owen was named American Country Music Awards’ Breakthrough Artist of the Year in 2012 and the no. 1 hits just keep coming, including “Barefoot Blue Jean Nights,” “The One That Got Away,” “Anywhere with You,” and “Beachin’.” All tickets are $74.95.

Family Concert: “The Frog Prince”

The festival’s family concert, 5 p.m. Aug. 6, features music by Jules Massenet and choreography by Marc Spielberger, performed by the Festival Community Orchestra and Sandpoint’s Studio One Dancers. Favorite pre-concert activities include the Instrument Petting Zoo (where kids can try out various instruments with guidance from musical mentors), an animal petting zoo, pony rides, clowns, face painting, games galore and the popular Parents’ Corner where moms and dads can take a break from the chaos for a complimentary mini-massage ($6; gates open at 2:30 p.m.).

Week Two: The Head and the Heart

The Head and The Heart
The Head and The Heart kick start week two of the Festival at SandpointPhoto © James Minchin

Week two kicks off on Thursday, Aug. 10, with indie folk-rock sensation The Head and the Heart, a creative partnership between six strangers, street musicians thrown together by little more than a shared love of music. Their debut album became one of Sub Pop Records’ best-selling debut releases ever, and rocketed the band to acclaim well beyond its then-home base in Seattle. Their latest release, Signs of Light, with the lead single “All We Ever Knew,” continues to earn the group devoted fans who love to see them perform live. The Roman Candles open ($44.95). BrewFest tickets are available for $10, which includes a commemorative pilsner glass and premium microbrew tastes.

Dance Party No. 2: Iration and The Wailers

Get a double dose of positive vibrations Aug. 11 with two reggae groups. Iration is a Hawaii-grown group of musicians that fuses a deep-rooted reggae influence with elements of rock, dub and pop to create smooth original sounds. Touring nationally since 2008, Iration has performed at national festivals including Lollapalooza, Outside Lands, and is are one of the leading bands in the genre of sunshine reggae. The legendary Wailers bring a slice of musical history to the stage. Starting in 1974, Bob Marley and The Wailers recorded, toured, and performed before millions of fans all over the world. Now steered by famed bassist and founder Aston “Familyman” Barrett, and joined by original Wailers’ band members, the incomparable band carries on its revolutionary reggae sound and message to loyal fans around the world. All tickets are $54.95.

Rock Party: George Thorogood and The Destroyers

The boogie-blues rock icon brings his Rock Party Tour to Memorial Field Saturday, Aug. 12. Best known for his high-energy performances and indelible hits including “Bad to the Bone,” “Move It On Over,” “Who Do You Love?” and “One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer,” Thorogood is joined by The White Buffalo, an American singer-songwriter who was named one of NPR’s 12 New Artists to Watch ($74.95).

Grand Finale: “Nordic Nights”

The festival season culminates on Sunday, Aug. 13, with the Spokane Symphony Orchestra, conducted by maestro Gary Sheldon. The Scandinavian-inspired program opens with Clarke’s Prince of Denmark March and Alfen’s Swedish Rhapsody No. 1, followed by Grieg’s powerful Piano Concerto featuring the triumphant return of soloist Tien Hsieh. The second half includes Grieg’s Peer Gynt Suite and Sibelius’ Finlandia.

Preceding the concert is the annual “Taste of the Stars” Wine Tasting, now the largest wine event of its kind in the state of Idaho and complimentary for all concert goers over the age of 21; a traditional fireworks finale closes The Festival at Sandpoint’s 35th season in celebratory fashion. Gates open early at 4:30 p.m. and the concert starts at 7:30 ($39.95 for adults, $10.95 for youth through 18).

Buy tickets online at www.festivalatsandpoint.com or call the festival office locally at 208-265-4554 or toll free 888-265-4554.