Lost amid the crush of 100 bands descending on Capitol Hill this weekend is Timber! Outdoor Music Festival, an entirely different sort of affair for those looking for a change of pace from the bustle of urban life.
Driving out to the tiny town of Carnation, Wash., population 1,823, it’s easy to feel the stress of the city leave your body. By the time you pass Remlinger Farms, you’re in another place altogether: pastoral, calm, beautiful.
There might not be a more suitable venue for an outdoor music festival than King County’s Tolt MacDonald Park, a hidden jewel that many urbanites might never take time to visit. It’s nestled in a grove of ancient, towering evergreen trees and accessible to festival-goers only by a swinging suspension bridge spanning the Snoqualmie River that sways tenuously when more than a couple folks are on it.
It’s not that the music didn’t matter Friday night. Things got off to a little bit of a late start and bands played out of order, but for a festival in its inaugural run, those small hiccups are more than excusable.
Pablo Trucker got things steadied out with a powerful collection of moving lo-fi rock tunes and even though they played a long set, many in the crowd begged for more. It was apparent that for a lot of people, Friday was their first introduction to the band.
Turning people on to new music is kind of the point of Timber!, according to organizer Kevin Sur. The other goal is to bring people and their families closer to nature.
And boy, were there some families out. Younger folks made their presence known, but the very noticeable predominant festival population was aging hipster parents and their young children.
It made for a gleeful if somewhat chaotic time, with most of the kids under five years old. Some, like a group of young girls, stood entranced by the reedy, staccato vocals of Jenn Ghetto, performing with a full band as S. Others ignored Avian Alight’s delicate guitar strums and ethereal melodies and simply raced around the grassy main festival area screaming and laughing, their parents grateful to have a space for them to burn off energy.
Tonight the heavy guns take the stage, with Quasi, Fruit Bats and the Helio Sequence closing out the show in the evening. After the sun goes down, Dr. Oliver Fraser, a professor of astrophysics at the University of Washington, will give a free star talk in the field located by the main stage.
Those who crave even more music should head over to the campfire stage and check out Vikesh Kapoor and Noah Gundersen.
-Owen R. Smith, on Twitter @inanedetails