Festival at Sandpoint: Week 1

Our guide to Sandpoint’s biggest music event of the year — whether it’s your first time or a longtime summer ritual

By Lyndsie Kiebert
Reader Staff

The Festival at Sandpoint is nothing short of a two-week shindig. With shindigs come the necessary planning: How will you get there? What will you bring? How can we get this whole thing to go down without a hitch?

We’ve compiled our best Festival advice in the interest of making sure every night lives up to the well-deserved hype.

A happy crowd watches the opening act at the Festival at Sandpoint in 2018. Photo by Ben Olson.


Walking or biking to War Memorial Field is ideal, but seeing as the shows draw people from across the county and beyond, the pedestrian option isn’t great for everyone. Driving to the venue, while possible, will result in serious street-parking frustration. The most convenient option is to park at Sandpoint High School and catch a free SPOT bus ride to the field. Buses throughout the night, picking up festival-goers at the main entrance to the school and ferrying them back at regular intervals — whether the show has completely ended or not. Regardless of your chosen transportation method, understand that exiting the venue and surrounding blocks is a slow-going process. Be patient, be mindful of others and just ride that relaxing live-show high as long as you can.


There are two lines to the entrance depending on the type of ticket you have. Sponsor/patron ticket holders line up along the fence to the left of the main entrance to the field. General admission ticket holders line up to the right, winding through Lakeview Park. Don’t mix these up or it’s going to be an extra long wait.


Move over, strict food and drink policies — the Festival at Sandpoint is down with a good, old-fashioned picnic dinner, complete with beer and wine from the home fridge. Coolers are welcome, along with blankets and lawn chairs. When it comes to blankets, be humble about the space you really need (maximum 8 feet by 8 feet) and leave room for people to walk down the aisle without traipsing across your beloved quilt. Low-profile chairs are best so that people behind you can see the stage. Crowd-appropriate chairs are also available to rent for $3. Other essential supplies include cash for Festival Street treats and a sweatshirt for when the evening cools off.


There’s nothing worse than looking forward to an event only to have your blanket-neighbors ruin it for you. To avoid this, make a wise seating choice. Dancers should congregate toward the front, where concert goers typically end up standing for the main act. Those looking forward to a low-key, easy-listening evening should choose seats toward the back to be sure their sightlines aren’t blocked. Talking during the show isn’t outlawed, but be mindful of the people around you who came to hear the music, not the latest gossip.

Odds and ends

Pets are not permitted at the Festival. Shows are happening rain or shine, unless organizers determine there is a safety risk. There are security checkpoints at all entrances. Diehard fans are welcome to start lining up at 6 a.m. the day of their chosen show, but no earlier.

• • •

Festival at Sandpoint Week 1 shows

Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats + Lucius
Thursday, Aug. 1; early entry gates open at 5:45 p.m., general admission gates open at 6 p.m., show starts at 7:30 p.m.; general admission $59.95, early entry $84.95.

Walk off the Earth + Shook Twins
Friday, Aug. 2; early entry gates open at 5:45 p.m., general admission gates open at 6 p.m., show starts at 7:30 p.m.; general admission $44.95, early entry $69.95.

Jackson Browne
Saturday, Aug. 3; show starts at 7:30 p.m.; SOLD OUT.  

Family Concert
Sunday, Aug. 4; activities begin when the gates open at 2:30 p.m. and the music starts at 5 p.m.; $6. 

All shows are at War Memorial Field, 801 Ontario St., 208-265-4554, festivalatsandpoint.org.

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