The Norsworthy family outside of their home that is across the street from one of the entrances to Summer Meltdown on Wednesday, in Monroe. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

The Norsworthy family outside of their home that is across the street from one of the entrances to Summer Meltdown on Wednesday, in Monroe. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

As new venue hosts Summer Meltdown, some neighbors caught by surprise

Organizers agreed to move a bright light that was shining into Antonio Norsworthy’s home. He now plans to check out the festival.

MONROE — After a two-year pandemic absence, Summer Meltdown has landed at a new venue, coming as a surprise to some neighbors.

Starting Thursday afternoon, an estimated 4,000 people will descend on the neighborhood for the music and camping festival. The four-day event will feature 40 bands, from hip-hop to funk to bluegrass to electro jazz, along with art installations, food and a beer garden.

Long held in Darrington, the festival relocated this year to Sky Meadows Park, on private property southwest of Monroe. The site is a sprawling piece of farmland and forest along the Skykomish River.

From his living room window on Tuesday, Antonio Norsworthy looked out at the large grassy fields that would soon fill with thousands of cars and camping tents. The road in front of his house had already been busy this week, with trucks delivering supplies such as lighting equipment and golf carts.

Like other neighbors, he said he didn’t get advance notice about the festival.

“To be in this quiet neighborhood and all of a sudden for a couple days it goes to a ‘hippie jam fest’ as my son calls it,” said Norsworthy, 36. His main concerns are traffic, noise and the safety of his three kids.

Several neighbors told The Daily Herald they had no idea the festival was happening.

On Tuesday evening, festival organizers went door-to-door on Tester Road. They offered festival passes and explained plans to mitigate traffic.

“They were all really kind and receptive, a lot of them are excited to come,” said Genevieve Hayton, who produces the event with her husband Josh Clauson. “We wanted to extend that invitation.”

She said vehicles will enter on a private driveway at the top of the property, minimizing traffic on Tester Road. There will be flaggers and two off-duty officers at the entrance and exit. With plenty of parking space, they don’t anticipate congestion.

There will be paramedics 24/7, with an ambulance and security on site. As this week’s heat wave continues, water stations are available and forested camping sites provide shade.

“We plan to hold a respectful and professional event here,” Hayton said.

Snohomish County issued a special events permit for the festival on July 6. In the past, the property has been used for outdoor obstacle races. On Aug. 13 and 14, the Seattle Spartan Trifecta event will take place there.

The property is zoned “Agriculture-10 Acre,” where county code limits public events to two a year.

After organizers stopped by Tuesday, they agreed to move a bright light that was shining into Norsworthy’s living room. He plans to check out the festival with his family.

“I think future events should involve all of us (neighbors),” Norsworthy said.

Another neighbor, Sherri Bellefeuille, also wished there had been more advanced notification. Mostly, though, she’s curious about it.

“I hope they have a great time, have great weather and that everyone is safe,” she said.

It’s not clear if Summer Meltdown’s move to Monroe will be permanent, Hayton said. The festival was moved from Darrington amid the uncertainty of the pandemic.

“It has a lot of the same features we were known for in Darrington — forested camping, a nearby river and beautiful pastoral views,” she said.

The festival has a staff of about 400, plus 200 volunteers.

“It’s great to be back in business,” said Clauson, who founded the festival in 2000. “And we hope it’s a successful year at this venue.”

If you go

Summer Meltdown is July 28 to 31 at 18601 Sky Meadows Lane, Snohomish.

Performances take place Thursday evening through Sunday night across four different stages. Tickets are available online or at the gate. Tickets are $90 to $340, with discounted youth passes.

Additional fees for parking and camping.

For more information, visit

Jacqueline Allison: 425-339-3434; Twitter: @jacq_allison

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