The annual Ballard Freakout Festival is making its return to the neighborhood this November, with the largest lineup to date.
The Freakout Festival started in 2013 in Capitol Hill, and eventually moved its yearly concert series to downtown Ballard. The homegrown record company Freakout Records was born from the festival, supporting a lineup of local artists including Acid Tongue, Smokey Brights, and Shaina Shepherd. The festival happens every November, with the exception of 2020 when it was cancelled during the pandemic.
“Freakout offers a place for audiophiles to shake off their fall rain jackets, get rowdy and tap into a collective psychedelic music experience,” the website reads. “Freakout Festival is a comprehensive sensory experience. The weekend offers gritty guitars complemented by hypnotic light shows, along with tasty libations to enjoy while checking out bands that you’re unlikely to catch elsewhere in the PNW.”
The festival directors have partnered with Mexico City’s NRMAL Festival this year to bring together a diverse lineup of Latinx artists, national performers, and local Seattle artists. They’ve booked over 70 performers scheduled to perform across several different venues in Ballard and Fremont: Nectar Lounge, The Tractor Tavern, The Sunset, Salmon Bay Eagles Club, and Conor Byrne, Hotel Albatross, Caffe Umbria, and CC Filson.
Freakout Festival 2021’s headliners will include, “Cedric Burnside, Liz Cooper, renowned garage rockers The Seeds, reggae legend Clinton Fearon, Matthew Dear, Seattle’s Big Business, our own Smokey Brights, and rising Seattle star Shaina Shepherd.” In keeping with the festival’s psychedelic and garage rock roots, you can expect performances from The Mystery Lights, Levitation Room, Triptides, The Black Tones, White Mystery, Vacant Lots, The Schizophonics, Acid Tongue and The Grizzled Mighty.
The Latinx artists will include, “Puerto Rican garage legend AJ Davila, Colombian electronic prodigy Cerrero, and an array of emerging artists from Mexico, including Los Blenders, Petite Amie, Margaritas Podridas, Myuné and Par Ásitom,” plus “Mexico City punks Carrion Kids and Los Honey Rockets.”
The Mad Alchemy Liquid Light Show will also have a strong presence at the festival this year, set to take over a few of the stages throughout the fest.
The festival will come to Ballard starting Thursday, November 11 and going through Sunday, November 14. Tickets are available online; you can buy a full four-day pass for $135, a Friday and Saturday pass for $85, or VIP tickets that include priority entry, custom merchandise, and drink tickets ($215 for VIP four-day pass, or $155 for VIP Friday/Saturday pass). They’re also selling standalone Thursday night tickets for Matthew Dear and Manatee Commune at the Nectar Lounge for $25.
Photo by Travis Trautt with Fruit & Flowers.