Lifestyle

Are outdoor winery concerts a dream or a scream?

Are outdoor winery concerts a dream or a scream?
Chateau St. Michelle in Woodinville is celebrating its 30th anniversary of their Summer Concert Series. (Image: Britt Thorson / Seattle Refined)
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This year is the 30th anniversary of Chateau St. Michelle’s Summer Concert Series, where they host national and local artists at their in-house amphitheater and invite patrons to come listen, drink and relax.

There are multiple things which make this idea sound very alluring:

  • Chateau St. Michelle, the state’s founding winery, could not be more beautiful. It's easy to forget you're half a mile away from the busy center of Woodinville as you drive into their ornate iron gates. Rolling hills and the state’s signature evergreen trees line the area as far as you can see, and the Chateau’s building architecture is styed true to the European vibe it emits (think Downton Abbey).
  • Due to the beautiful nature surroundings mentioned above, it makes sense that the amphitheater at which the musicians play is outdoors, as are the fields concert-goers set up their camps in.
  • Yes – you heard that right. Visitors can bring blankets, folding chairs, and their own food to set up a picnic on the fields. No overpriced Key Arena hot dogs, and no cramped Tacoma Dome seating with zero leg room.
  • You’re at a winery – so obviously there is a bunch of wine around, and available for sale (throughout the concert, in case you run out halfway through).

But of course, with everything, there is also a flip side:

  • I’m sure it popped into your head as soon as I mentioned the concerts were held outdoors. Seattle’s ever present mascot: rain. Even though the concert series is during the summer, we all know rain doesn’t take a break during this usually sunny season. While communications director Lynda Eller says that they’ve been lucky with good weather, sitting outside in the rain for 2+ hours could be pretty miserable. Patrons are encouraged to bring umbrellas if it is going to rain, as the show goes on rain or shine!
  • If it does rain, and if fields of people have umbrellas, we’re guessing it will be pretty hard to see the stage.
  • While you’re allowed to bring your own food, blankets, and chairs – you cannot bring in any alcohol. Wine can be bought throughout the show by the bottle, and food trucks drive in if people are hungry.
  • As it is in a field and there are no assigned seats, people get to set up their mini-camps on a first-come-first-serve basis. That means if you want a great seat up close to the stage, you have to come early, and be ready to be aggressive. There are strict guidelines on the heights of folding chairs you are able to bring, so to be safe bring low-back ones.

Ticket prices are pretty on par with other venues, and are based mainly on the artist performing. The lineup for the next couple concerts at the Chateau are the following:

Ringo Starr & His All Starr Band
July 16, 2014 @ 7pm
Tickets at $69.20

Replay America: The Go-Go’s, Patty Smyth and Scandal, Martha Davis and the Motels & NakedEyes Featuring Pete Byrne
July 17, 2014 @ 7pm
Tickets at $166.70

Lyle Lovett & His Large Band
July 18, 2014 @ 7pm
Tickets at $55 - $90

Goo Goo Dolls & Daughtry with Plan White T’s
July 19, 2014
SOLD OUT

Festival of Jazz
July 26, 2014 @ 2pm
Tickets at $50 - $75

Check out the rest of the Summer Series lineup on their website.

So, concerts at a winery...a dream? We recommend taking a look at our pros and cons, the weather forecast for the night in question, and factor in the costs of food and beer you usually partake in at a concert. Then make your final decision for on whether to try out the Chateau’s concert series this summer!

For what it’s worth, I headed to the John Legend concert this weekend to check it out. I’d never been to the Chateau before, or an outdoor concert that wasn’t a festival for that matter. The weather was perfect (bring a jacket or a blanket for nighttime concerts), the music outstanding, and the view as the sun set over the trees was absolutely perfect. For me, it was a dream!

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