CloZee performs during Summer Meltdown in 2019 in Darrington. (Olivia Vanni / Herald file)

CloZee performs during Summer Meltdown in 2019 in Darrington. (Olivia Vanni / Herald file)

The psychedelic fest Summer Meltdown is back — and in Monroe

The music and camping event is on for July 28-31, with a new venue along the Skykomish River.

MONROE — Summer Meltdown is back after a two-year pandemic pause, now in a different corner of Snohomish County.

And this time around, the popular psychedelic music and camping festival will sprawl across nearly 150 acres, about double the normal footprint.

After 14 years in Darrington, the four-day event will move to Sky Meadows Park near Monroe. The site is beside the Skykomish River, between Crescent Lake and Lord Hill Park.

“We’re just thrilled we found such a special spot to relocate to,” co-producer Genevieve Clauson told The Daily Herald. Darrington offered rivers, forests and trailheads — and the new venue has “all that and more.”

Having more space to stretch out is great, said her husband, Josh Clauson, because the festival was growing too big for its britches in north Snohomish County.

Summer Meltdown started on San Juan Island in 2000 as a modest backyard happening with music by Josh’s jam band, Flowmotion. When the event first moved to Darrington six years later, the Clausons said the amphitheater felt empty.

But the jamboree quickly grew to attract thousands of people spanning generations. The Clausons were considering developing nearby parcels to accommodate the crowds. One year, the duo had to ditch the idea of a trapeze artist because there wasn’t enough space.

“The things we had to say no to in the past we can actually consider now,” Josh Clauson said.

In 2019, more than 40 acts from across the country played across four stages. The next year, before the event was nixed due to COVID-19, Radiohead guitarist Ed O’Brien was slated to headline with his solo project EOB.

The festival will return July 28 to 31.

What can fans expect?

“The same good mix of electronic, funk, EDM, Americana,” Genevieve Clauson said. “Like its namesake, Meltdown, for us, has to be a mix of things.”

The main criteria the Clausons look for in booking, they said, is “dance-ability.”

The fest also features art installations, nightly electronic dance music tents and daytime presentations. In years past, those events have spanned meditation, storytelling and sustainability workshops.

“Basically, you can sit with your back up against a tree and get downloaded with all this cool information,” Josh Clauson said.

Early bird tickets go on sale Feb. 2. A lineup will likely be released in March.

Claudia Yaw: 425-339-3449; Twitter: @yawclaudia.

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