We get our first hot days around this time every year, reminding us that there’s a tradeoff for living in this beautiful, culturally diverse place where they make delicious beer and wine and where the cost of living is about one one-millionth of what it is in Seattle.
It’s the heat, man. The heat. Those first few hot days (like last week when we flirted with triple digits) are dread-inducing not on their own merits but because they’re a portent of the real stuff that’s coming in July and August — heat that envelopes the whole region for weeks at a time, covering all of us with a layer of energy-sucking heaviness and making us check the real estate listings for Oymyakon, Russia.
But wait! Before you start learning Russian, recall that there’s also a positive side to a Yakima summer: the music. Perhaps you forgot, because last year’s summer was relatively silent, musicwise, owing to the COVID pandemic. It’s back this year. Not fully — the Downtown Summer Nights concert series and the Yakima Folklife Festival are planning a 2022 return — but in a significant enough way that we decided to revive our annual SCENE summer music preview.
Vaccination has given us more important things than the return of live music (the ability to see our loved ones without endangering each other, for instance), but that we’re able to at least sit at a venue, sip a drink and listen to some music sure is going to make this summer easier. As longtime local-favorite musician Cody Beebe put it, both performers and music fans have missed out on something profound during the pandemic.
“As a musician standing on the stage, there are shows when there’s this energy exchange,” he said. “The energy exchange is what people are there for, whether they know that or not.”
Chinook Fest, the annual end-of-summer music festival Beebe founded with bandmates in 2012, is a prime example of that. It’s an event known for community and up-close interactions between fans and musicians. The pandemic robbed people of that this year, and they’re itching to get back to it, Beebe said. He’s been scrambling to put this year’s version together and hasn’t even announced the lineup yet, but the pent-up demand has been evident.
“We’ve been saying that one way or another we were going to have a festival this year,” Beebe said. “The feedback has been great. People are just excited to get out and have something to do.”
Amen to that. Here are some more shows we’re looking forward to this summer:
Fridays in the Field
6:30-8:30 p.m. June 11, June 25, July 9, July 23, Aug. 13, Aug. 27; J. Bell Cellars, 73 Knight Hill Road in Zillah; $15 advance, $20 door; www.jbellcellars.com/events
After several years of hosting a well-booked and well-received jazz series at J. Bell Cellars, the Zillah winery has pivoted to other sorts of music better suited to lawn chairs and picnic blankets. The lineup, starting Friday with Seattle singer-songwriter Kara Hesse, includes local as well as regional acts.
• June 11: Kara Hesse
• June 25: John Hoover and The Mighty Quinns
• July 9: American Honey
• July 23 and Aug. 13: TBA
• Aug. 27: “The Beatles Unplugged” by Robert Meade
Music in the Vines
7 p.m. July 9, July 23, Aug. 20, Aug. 27; Gilbert Cellars, 2620 Draper Road; $40 per show, 21 and older only; www.gilbertcellars.com/music-in-the-vines
Gilbert Cellars’ annual concert series provides a unique music viewing experience in a bucolic amphitheater surrounded by lavender and magic. The shows are always worth it, whether you’re a longtime fan of the evening’s act or just someone who likes sitting on a blanket with a glass (or bottle) of rosé and getting all blissed-out on some tunes. This year’s lineup features a quartet of tried-and-true Americana acts, highlighted by The Sam Chase & The Untraditional, a band whose live show is as charismatic as its name is awkward.
• July 9: Jeff Crosby and The Refugees (sold out)
• July 23: Great American Trainwreck (sold out)
• Aug. 20: The Sam Chase & The Untraditional (sold out)
• Aug. 27: Caleb Hawley
Summer Sunset Concert Series
6-8 p.m. Friday evenings in July and August; Franklin Park, 2101 Tieton Drive; free; www.yakimaparks.com/special-events/
This free city of Yakima series is loaded this year, front to back. Highlights include 2019 SCENE local band of the year Jayleigh Ann & The Lost Boys, longtime favorite Ellensburg singer-songwriter Star Anna, and Navid Eliot (Not Amy, Planes on Paper) with his new rock ‘n’ roll outfit Bodies on the Beach.
• July 9: DieBruder
• July 16: Star Anna
• July 23: Jayleigh Ann & The Lost Boys
• July 30: The Talbott Brothers
• Aug. 6: Bodies on the Beach
• Aug. 13: Massy Ferguson
Viva la Musica
5-7 p.m. Sundays July 11 to Aug. 15; Miller Park, North Fourth Street and East E Street or Martin Luther King Jr. Park, South Eighth and East Beech streets; free; www.yakimaparks.com/special-events/
The city’s annual Latino concert series is a favorite among families, creating a festive community-picnic environment as bands from Central Washington and beyond entertain from the stage.
• July 11: Cruzados Musical (Miller Park)
• July 18: Los de Alla (Miller Park)
• July 25: Destinados (Miller Park)
• Aug. 1: Los Nuevos Sierreños (Martin Luther King Jr. Park)
• Aug. 8: Banda Reyna del Sur (Martin Luther King Jr. Park)
• Aug. 15: Los Nuevos Principes de la Banda (Martin Luther King Jr. Park)
• Sept. 12: Viva la Musica season finale, Mariachi Barajas, Rafaga de Tierra Caliente (Miller Park, 4-7 p.m.)
Moxee Hop Fest
Aug. 6-7; Moxee City Park, South Rivard Road off of State Route 24; free admission with cover charges for the nighttime beer garden; www.evcea.org/moxee-hop-festival
The music at this festival, one of the longest-running annual events in the Valley, hasn’t been announced yet. But generally speaking, it features a lineup of local acts with an emphasis on musical variety on its main stage and a higher-profile band on its nighttime beer-garden stage.
Sept. 10-12; Jim Sprick Park, 13680 State Highway 410 near Naches; $125 weekend pass, 21 and older only; www.chinookfest.com
The lineup for this, the ninth Chinook Fest (it would’ve been the 10th), should be announced in July, according to organizer Cody Beebe. The only thing for certain thus far is that his own band, Cody Beebe and The Crooks, will be on it. That’s probably enough for most of the event’s fans. Beebe and company are a solid band and a reliable draw throughout the Yakima Valley. But it’s more than that; the festival itself has built up a loyal community of regulars who return year after year regardless of who’s on the bill. That’s not to say the lineups have been without their own appeal. Such luminaries as Sturgill Simpson and Lukas Nelson have headlined in past years. And the rest of the slots have typically gone either to outstanding local or regional acts.
The Seasons Performance Hall
101 N. Naches Ave; www.theseasonsyakima.com
More than any other venue, The Seasons kept the live-music flame burning during the pandemic. Its livestreamed concerts throughout the past year were like a lifeline for music fans, and its early forays into in-person concerts this spring provided a template for how that can work. The nonprofit venue’s board and its executive director, Pat Strosahl, deserve credit for that. But that’s not why you should check out a show there; you should check out a show there because it’s a gorgeous venue with a proven record of delivering entertaining and enriching performances. Among its scheduled highlights are the Bart Budwig and Jen Borst show set for June 17, and Seattle buzz band Deep Sea Diver on Aug. 18.
• 6 p.m. Sunday: Jovino Santos Neto Quinteto
• 7:30 p.m. June 17: Bart Budwig and Jen Borst
• 6 p.m. June 20: Christine Gamache
• 7:30 p.m. June 26: Savannah Fuentes and Diego Amador Jr.
• 6 p.m. June 27: Logan Strosahl and Nick Sanders
• 7:30 p.m. July 8: Greta Matassa Quintet
• 7:30 p.m. July 15: Three For Silver
• 6 p.m. July 25: Yerin Kim and Brenda Shea
• 6 p.m. Aug. 8: Cherry Cherry (Neil Diamond tribute)
• 7:30 p.m. Aug. 18: Deep Sea Diver
• 7:30 p.m. Aug. 26: The Jacob Joliff Band
Bearded Monkey Music
1802 W. Nob Hill Blvd.; www.facebook.com/Bearded-Monkey-Music-2205838369512491
The local bicycle shop doesn’t seem the likeliest contender to add a music store and venue that fosters local acts in a way most scenes just don’t have. But here we are. When Lance Reese bought Valley Cycling and changed the name to Bearded Monkey, that was just the beginning.
• 7:30 p.m. Friday: Himiko Cloud
• 7:30 p.m. June 25: Odyssey
• 7:30 p.m. July 16: The Moon is Flat
2103 W. Lincoln Ave.; www.hoopsyakima.com
Long one of Yakima’s favorite dive bars, Hoops in recent years has become one of its most lively music venues. It has multiple shows booked every week this summer. The following list is just the highlights, including two performances from 2017 SCENE local band of the year CobraHawk, a hard-rocking outfit fronted by dynamic vocalist-screamer Lakyn Bury.
• 7 p.m. Saturday: The X-Band
• 6 p.m. Sunday: Cash’d Out (Johnny Cash tribute)
• 7 p.m. June 17: Tempest NW
• 5 p.m. June 19: “Rock Like Emily” benefit featuring Half Step Down, Cody Beebe & The Crooks, and The X-Band
• 7 p.m. June 25: Chase Craig Band
• 7 p.m. June 26: CobraHawk
• 7 p.m. July 2: American Honey
• 7 p.m. July 3: Powerhouse
• 7 p.m. Aug. 5: Too Slim and The Taildraggers
• 7 p.m. Aug. 13: CobraHawk
713 Sixth St. in Prosser; www.brewminatti.com
The ideal for a small venue in a small town is a place that books performers who are both revered touring musicians and under-the-radar enough to be playing small venues in small towns. That’s what Brewminatti does. You’re not going to know all the names of the acts the venue books, but when you look them up you’ll find they’re all worth seeing.
• 7 p.m. June 18: Carl Tosten
• 7 p.m. July 2: Jeff Crosby and Darci Carlson
• 7 p.m. July 15: Eilen Jewell
• 6 p.m. July 30: Ben Rice Band
• 7 p.m. Aug. 5: Bradford Loomis
• 7 p.m. Aug. 19: Western Centuries
• 7 p.m. Aug. 25: The Jacob Jolliff Band
Punks Bar and Pizza
31 N. First Ave.; www.facebook.com/punksbar
This place hasn’t opened yet, but it’s owned and booked by Damon Wood and Christopher Cox, both of whom I trust to properly book a punk venue. Plus, according to Instagram, it’s decorated with posters of bands like Buzzcocks and The Clash. I have high hopes.
• 4 p.m. June 18: Grand opening featuring Ball Bag and Bad Habit
• 9 p.m. Sept. 3: Emergency Brake