Summer Meltdown, Darrington’s summer music festival, has been known to attract hippies, outdoors enthusiasts and music lovers.
Add “bassheads” to the list.
Bassnectar, one of the biggest acts in electronic dance music, is the headliner for this year’s festival, which returns Aug. 2-5 to the Darrington Bluegrass Music Park.
Lorin Ashton, a dubstep, electronica and drumstep producer and DJ based in San Francisco, who goes by the stagename Bassnectar, has performed at music festivals all over the world, including Tomorrowland in Boom, Belgium, Coachella in Indio, California, and Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas.
His robotic-sounding synthesizers, ambient soundscapes and heavy bass over syncopated beats have earned him a loyal following over the past two decades. His fans, known as bassheads, follow him on tour and wait in the front row hours before he performs.
“Not many of our headliners have their own community,” said Josh Clauson, who co-produces the festival with his wife, Genevieve Clauson. “I think this is a really beautiful merge of two worlds: the Meltdown and the Bassnectar communities.”
Now in its 18th year, the four-day festival, with its own campground for festivalgoers, features more than 40 national, regional and local acts, as well as yoga, meditation and breakdancing workshops.
The Clausons try to make the lineup as eclectic as possible — the lineup includes everything from hip-hop and funk to folk and rock.
“We’re trying to create a comprehensive lineup that’s super strong from top to bottom,” Josh Clauson said. “It’s all about the music, but so much of it is about the vibe and the communities. The festival is getting so much out of that, alone.”
Summer Meltdown started in 2000 as a backyard party in the San Juan Islands with Josh Clauson’s band, Flowmotion. It moved to Camano Island and then Sedro-Woolley before settling in Darrington in 2006.
About 5,000 people are expected to attend. Genevieve Clauson says about half will be returning attendees. “It’s like an annual reunion,” she said.
The other headliners are a mix of jam bands and electronic musicians: Big Gigantic, Greensky Bluegrass, Lettuce and Beats Antique.
Big Gigantic is a duo from Boulder, Colorado. Dominic Lalli on saxophone and Jeremy Salken on drums fuse hip-hop, jazz and electronica together. Their debut album “Brighter Future,” released in 2016, reached No. 1 on the iTunes Electronic charts and No. 2 on Billboard’s Dance/Electronic chart.
Greensky Bluegrass, from Michigan, blends bluegrass into rock. The band also played the festival in 2015.
Lettuce is Summer Meltdown’s top funk band. The group’s most recent album, “Crush,” released in 2015, reached No. 1 on Billboard’s Jazz Albums chart.
The Moondoggies is the only band from Snohomish County. The band is Pink Floyd meets Crazy Horse with a rainy Northwest vibe, says frontman Kevin Murphy.
Formed 11 years ago, The Moondogies are five friends who grew up together in Everett. They’ve played at Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Tennessee and been featured in Rolling Stone magazine. They last performed at Summer Meltdown in 2012.
“It’s really cool,” Murphy said. “It kind of blew my mind how many people were there. It was this underground hippie community. They’re usually a little bit quicker to dance to things they don’t know.”
If you go
What: Summer Meltdown
Where: Darrington Bluegrass Music Park, 42501 Highway 530
When: Aug. 2-5
Tickets: Weekend festival pass is $260, Friday-Sunday is $225, Saturday-Sunday are $185 and Sunday is $95.