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Carnation’s anti-festival: Back for second year, ‘Timber!’ concert defies description

Tim Kim and Tim Wilson, of the folk-pop band Ivan & Alyosha, perform at the 2013 Timber! music festival. The festival returns to Carnation
Tim Kim and Tim Wilson, of the folk-pop band Ivan & Alyosha, perform at the 2013 Timber! music festival. The festival returns to Carnation's Tolt-MacDonald Park in July.
— image credit: Courtesy photo Jason Tang

Giant neighborhood campout, or rockin’ outdoor music festival, either description of “Timber!”, returning to Carnation next month, works, but it doesn’t quite cover the level of comfort that is the goal of its organizers.

“We just want to put on great parties that we, ourselves, have fun at,” said Kevin Sur of Artist Home, which created and hosts Timber.

The event, which debuted last year at Tolt MacDonald Park, is part concert, part family affair, part whatever participants want it to be, but all “a celebration of the Northwest,” says Sur.

There’s the beautiful setting, 540 acres of Tolt MacDonald Park and the Snoqualmie River, and the outdoor opportunities, ranging from nature walks to talks with astrophysicists.

There are options for guided kayaking runs or just splashing in the river, and  “we’re even going to do an outdoor movie at some point,” Sur said.

Then there’s the unusual approach the organizers are taking, which Sur admits is “kind of the opposite of the normal show-going experience.”

So, only 3,000 tickets are available for the July 24 to 26 fest, to keep the event from getting crowded, and the food and drink vendors were specially selected for both their variety and affordability. Family-friendliness is built in, too.

“Children under 12 are free,” said Sur. “We put the root beer garden right next to the beer garden,” and the program includes shows specifically for kids in the morning.

“The rest of the music is music that adults would really like, but with a family-friendly approach,” he added.

This year’s lineup, like last year’s is large and diverse, and Sur is really excited about it.

“This year our headliner singer is a man from New York named Charles Bradley, a man who… was homeless most of his life… By chance, he was able to release his debut album at the age of 62,” said Sur. “It’s a great story and his band has a really great Motown kind of sound.”

There’s also “a huge funk band, indie rock, folk music, J Mascis, and the Seattle Rock Orchestra … just a wide variety of genres and styles.”

Bands will perform on two stages, both on the west side of the river, but “will never actually be running at the same time,” Sur said. “That’s another kind of difference with our festival. We don’t do that, so everyone has a chance to see every band.” Plus, he says, “You can enjoy the festival in your own way, you’re not kind of forced from one stage to another.”

All of this was part of the original plan for the festival, but a new element this year, an extra day, came from the crowd.

“I think literally the only criticism we got from people last year was just that they wished it was longer,” Sur said. Last year’s event was just a Friday and Saturday, and the experience thanks in equal parts to the support of the city and businesses of Carnation and to the audience — was so positive, it was an easy decision to expand.

Businesses drove traffic to the festival, and organizers, in turn, sent participants to the local businesses to shop, to eat, and for a special live show at Pete’s Club Grill one night.

“We don’t want to be a burden on any place,” Sur said.

The crowd of 2,500 campers and music lovers must have felt the same way, Sur said, because not only did they give many Carnation businesses their best revenue days of the year, they also left their campsites, actually the entire grounds, immaculate.

“We took a photo of the grounds a few hours after people checked out, before cleaning crews came in, and it was like no one had been there,” Sur said. Cleaning crews from King County Parks arrived later in the day, “and said there was nothing to clean. It was just kind of indicative of the kind of people that come out to these events.”

Tickets for Timber are available online, but Valley residents should pick theirs up at Miller’s for a $10 discount. For each ticket sold to a local, Artist Home also donates $5 to Carnation’s 4th of July celebration.

The discount and donation goes back to Timber’s goal of not being a burden and contributing to the community, but also, Sur says, “We hope more locals, more people from the Valley just come and experience this.”

Regular tickets are $65 for all three days, or $95 with three days of camping included. Single-day passes are also available. Learn more at www.timbermusicfest.com, and remember Sur’s summary, “It really is comfortable.”

Courtesy Photo

Concert-goers pack the historic barn at Tolt-MacDonald Park in Carnation for a children’s program at the 2013 Timber!, a big-name festival that returns to the Valley in July.

 

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