Music festivals are the cherry on top of a long, tiresome year in Alaska. It’s what keeps music lovers going.
If you are new to Alaska’s music scene, here’s a roundup of some of the best music events you’ll not want to miss:
Music Festivals in Alaska
1. Alaska Folk Festival
Every April in Juneau, the Alaska Folk Festival takes over the town.
This is one of the best folk festivals in the country and features a number of fun activities like dances, workshops, jam sessions, and performances of Alaskan native music.
You just can’t miss out.
2. Seward Music and Arts Festival
The Seward Music and Arts Festival is like a farmer’s market, an entire weekend at the bar, and a craft bizarre all wrapped up in one.
This festival brings together a wide range of music, from the finest Alaska polka music, to hard rock indie bands, to slow soothing blue jams – and just about anything in between.
The fest is centered on the ideals of environment conservation, youth involvement, and education. You can also bring your little kids along for fun activities like crafts, rides, as well as performances for children.
3. Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival
The Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival is best described as the “ultimate summer camp for adults”. It is usually held at the University of Alaska Fairbanks every summer, and features workshops and great musical performances from acclaimed artists from all over Alaska. You also get the opportunity meet and mingle with new people.
The workshop options include creative writing, jazz, opera, Alaska native music, comedy improvs, culinary arts, and healing arts.
4. Fairbanks Winter Folk Fest
Also in Fairbanks, the Fairbank Winter Folk Fest is held at the Pioneer Park or Alaskaland.
The fest is typically held in February and begins around noon with local talent gracing the stage until 11 PM with performances from top artists in the country. If you would like to showcase your musical talent to the world, this is would be the best place to start.
And if you love music (good music), make sure you don’t miss the next year’s festival on February 10th.
5. Spectrum Music and Arts Festival
Held every July at Sandy River Amphitheater in Willow, the Spectrum Music and Arts Festival is a melding of art, sound, light, and electronic music – it’s an oasis of electronic music in Alaska.
It also features some of the finest electronic house DJs from all over the country. 6. Sitka Summer Music Festival
6. Sitka Music Fest
For over 40 years now, the Sitka Summer Music Fest has presented some excellent music performances by bringing world-class musicians to the little scenic town of Sitka.
Often, the festival runs for about a month and features performances in some unlikely venues like boats and cafes. However, for the main event, the festival takes place in Sitka during the spring and in Anchorage in the fall.
7. Spenard Jazz Fest
Also held in Anchorage, the Spenard Jazz Festival is the best event to sample the great music of Alaska.
The event features a series of house concerts from renowned artists in the state. It is usually held between the months of May and June every year.
8. Houston Music Festival
For three straight days in June, residents, local artists, and vendors gather in Houston, Alaska for this family-friendly music festival. The event is free for children aged 12 and below.
Apart from great music performances for all ages, there are numerous activities that you can do with your family. This is the perfect time to bond.
Famous Bands from Alaska You Can Expect at These Music Events
Unfortunately, most of the residents in Alaska don’t know much about Alaskan musicians beyond Portugal.TheMan and Jewel. Nonetheless, the beautiful terrain and rugged lifestyle of the state continue to inspire artists of all genres each and every year.
If you have lost touch with the Alaska music scene, here are four bands and musicians from Alaska that you should get to know before your friends do:
1. Seth Boyer
Born and raised in Alaska, Seth Boyer’s guitar skills will reverberate your ears even after the music’s over – his thoughtful lyrics could only come from a born songwriter.
He is deeply involved in making music to give back to the community.
Awarded the best new band in Alaska in 2012, Historian’s music is oddly enchanting. It ranges anywhere from light melodic to heavy metal. You’ll definitely be hooked to their fresh, yet familiar, sound.
3. Michael Howard
Michael Howard is always on the road breaking hearts with his creative and moving lyrics. Catch him in Alaska while you can.
4. The Sweeteners
Famously known as the “skanky rock and roll trio”, the Sweeteners’ style leans hard on the wiry ‘60s/‘70s tunes that churn out high-energy pop to get your blood flowing all night long.
Experience the Alaskan Music Scene at Its Best
There’s no better place the listen to great Alaskan music and meet incredible artists than at the aforementioned music festivals. Make sure you don’t miss out!
Image Source: Jamie Bernstein/Flickr