The Festival at Sandpoint returns with an impressive lineup By Abigail Thorpe | Photo Courtesy of The Festival at Sandpoint
Each year as summer kicks into full swing and the busy tourist season returns to Sandpoint, locals and visitors alike anticipate one of Sandpoint’s favorite annual traditions: The Festival at Sandpoint. Celebrating its 39th annual season this year, The Festival has long been a beloved local event that unites local and regional audiences in an intimate outdoor setting in small-town Sandpoint.
“The Festival is unique in the sense that as a nonprofit we bring large acts to a small town in North Idaho, which is rare for a rural area. We can accomplish this with immense support from our community. There is a sense of pride and ownership in The Festival at Sandpoint and its community,” says Executive Director Ali Baranski.
Traditionally, The Festival hosts eight different concerts during its roughly week-long period, but this year the team is hosting 10 different concerts from July 28 to August 7, and the lineup promises to impress. Headliners include The Beach Boys, KALEO, Lindsey Stirling, Gregory Alan Isakov and Pink Martini, with a host of other impressive artists.
“It has been so exciting to see our community’s excitement for the high-caliber acts we have lined up for this season. This season’s lineup is like no other, and we can’t wait for Festival season!” adds Baranski.
The Festival returned last year after a brief hiatus during the COVID pandemic, and was a big success with a record number of ticket sales—which The Festival is on track to beat this year, she adds. “Last year came with some trial and error, however, we received immense support from our staff, board of directors, donors, volunteers and community that allowed us to have the time and resources we needed to get The Festival back on its feet,” explains Baranski, who served her first season as executive director in 2021.
Since last season, The Festival has added two full-time hires and five summer interns, allowing them to frontload a lot of the planning, giving them more time to fine-tune the systems that make for a smooth and enjoyable Festival season.
Paul Gunter has joined the team as the full-time production and education manager, making venue planning easier and also creating new educational programs to share with the community, like the Pre-K Outreach Program that takes Paul to various local preschools to teach music. “We feel lucky to be able to give back to the area with free education programs, economic impact, and access to incredible concert experiences,” says Baranski.
Food and drink vendors will be returning to Festival Street in the fenced-in portion of Lakeview Park, just like last year, and they will be offering both in-person debit and credit card ordering and mobile orders through the Noble app. However, to give everyone a bit more space, the bar will be moving to the lakeside concessions building this year. This year, The Festival welcomes Adia Burton as the new Festival Street chairperson, responsible for coordinating all of the food booths.
Throwing such an impressive event takes a lot of work from both employees and volunteers, and The Festival is always looking for volunteers for everything from bartending and checking tickets to selling merchandise and more. “Locals should consider volunteering and give back to the community in a fun environment and while enjoying a concert!” encourages Baranski. A volunteer application is available on the website for interested volunteers.
Overall this year, concert venues have seen a record number of sales as concertgoers are eager to get out and return to doing the things they love, and The Festival at Sandpoint is no different. Tickets are selling fast—particularly for some of the most popular performances, so make sure to book your tickets early. The Festival recommends buying tickets directly from the website (they use ETix as their ticketing platform), as many ticket resellers online are selling shows for higher than market value. To purchase tickets, see the full lineup and learn more about The Festival at Sandpoint, visit FestivalatSandpoint.com, and get ready to enjoy another memorable season at Sandpoint’s beloved summer concert series!