MUSIC FESTIVAL REVIEW
by Trevor Foyston
(Guest blogger from T2 Media) ~ ~
“Chinook Fest 2018”
(Annual 3-Day Music Festival ~ Naches, WA)
Just at the end of Hwy 410 and 18 miles west of Naches, WA is a magical campground called Jim Sprick Community Park. This is, and has been, the home of The Chinook Festival. You may not have heard of this festival – and you would not be alone—I had not before this year. Chinook is in its seventh year, and let me tell you, it is one of the best festivals I have attended. Despite being smaller, it has massive sound and lights to keep even the pickiest of concert goers happy and not wanting for anything.
The festival is the brainchild of Cody Beebe and his friends. While growing up in Eastern Washington, Cody and his friends developed a deep appreciation for music and the outdoors. This appreciation is the Chinook Fest – “great music meets the great outdoors”. It is the perfect combination of music, camping, and family, surrounded by the stunning scenery of the Northwest.
The festival is like going to a family reunion if that family was full of amazing musicians. The mostly local line up, featuring some of the top talents in music from around the PNW, fill two stages over three days. Remember the festival that just started up in Seattle? This is everything that that one should be. A variety of musical styles all coming together to celebrate the talent and beauty found in our corner of the U.S.
This year’s festival was headlined by Selah, WA country artists Cody Beebe and the Crooks and Austin Jenkes. Is rock more your speed? Cobrahawk rocked the stage on the second night. Need some hip hop? Local artists Leviticus and Coaster filled your needs.
Young and old joined for three days to celebrate another year of the festival. One of the more congenial things that bring campers and festival-goers together is annual theme and friendly campsite competition. This year’s theme was “best neighborhood hangout.” Campers will plan all year for the upcoming year is to decorate their site making it a visual treat as you walk around the grounds.
Walking around you will be greeted and asked to join in the festivities around the campground. Do not be surprised if you run into some of your favorite artists that are performing at the festival. It was not uncommon to find campsites with the various artists singing and jamming around the campfire into the very early/late hours of the morning.
If you are lucky and get your hands on a VIP pass, you will be treated to another level of amazing by enjoying access to a private lounge area giving you the opportunity to see acoustic sets by Caleb Hawley and Tim Snyder. The intimate gatherings included some personal stories along with raw music much like the old unplugged shows.
Day one of the festival started off perfectly with a very talented young band Jayleigh Ann and the Lost Boys. Their set of poppy rock set the tone for the first day.
I first ran into Caleb Hawley in the VIP area while he was setting up for his acoustic set. It did not prepare me for the high energy set he was about to throw down on the main stage. He took the crowd into the night time sets with a solid set of pop funk that left the crowd smiling and dancing. It was a tough act for Alex Williams who followed with his more traditional country act. It was a big change from Caleb’s energy but worked well with the eclectic mood of the festival.
The first night closed out with Robert John and the Wreck. HOLY SMOKES, these guys!! I loved every second of their southern country rock set. Top to bottom these guys put together solid guitar riffs blended with heavy drums and a keyboardist with a fabulous shiny star shirt that had Robert calling him Elton John all night.
In between sets there are plenty of local crafts people plying their wares. Did I mention the food?? Everything from typical festival foods like burgers and dogs to vegan dishes. You could get yourself Asian dishes, or how about a Belgian waffle on a stick? Yeah, they have that also. The variety of options, combined with the “best neighborhood hangouts” in the campground, you were never wanting for food or drinks.
Day two started off with Yoga in the woods, which is an amazing way to wake up. As for the music, Leviticus took the secondary stage first while Whitney Mongé kicked off the lineup on the main stage. She did an amazing job of gently pulling campers from their slumber and back into the stage area to dance.
The day was carried by Old Coast, who played many songs off their new CD, and Jack Mattingly and Whiskey Fever who picked up the energy on the stage getting the crowd ready for local favorites and festival organizers Cody Beebe and the Crooks, who played a double set that included Austin Jenkes. The second night was closed out by local rockers Cobrahawk and local rapper Coaster.
Day three started again with Yoga in the woods and then a beautiful set by The Wicks. Pauline and Jedidiah floated out soft soulful music to the Sunday morning crowd and were even joined on stage by Pauline’s mom, who sang a couple of songs she had shared with Pauline as a child.
The festival came to a close with a performance by Tim Snider. A lot of people insisted I had to stay for his set, and I am glad I did. He shared stories of his struggles and how music had helped him change his life. He told about a dream he had with a hobo in it where he was told “learn to patient, learn to be kind, take off your shoes and leave your troubles behind”. This hit me hard as I had a rough couple of years and I got to a point where I did not want to be angry any more. The words he shared, and were the inspiration for one of his songs, seemed to speak to me on a visceral level. This was followed up with another inspiring song called “Let Go and Jump in the River”
It was a perfect way for me to end the weekend. I drove home completely happy and feeling very much loved by my new Chinook Fest family.
So, if you are like I am and love music and the great outdoors, you have to attend this festival. Do not wait, it will sell out and you will have missed out on the BEST music festival in the Pacific Northwest.
See You All There on September 2019!
Seattle Wave Radio and Trevor Foyston