Whether you camp in a tent or rent a room in a rustic motel, there's something special about making a road trip to a party in Idaho's mountainous areas. With hot weather here, outdoor music season officially has begun at higher elevations. Gas up the VW bus, grab the kids - and don't forget the bug spray.
MASSV MUSIC & ARTS SHOWCASE
July 5 and 6, base of Bald Mountain at River Run, Sun Valley, massvmusicfest.com
Year two of MASSV promises more 4 p.m.-2 a.m. party-music excitement with electronica and hip-hop talent, including Krewella, Gramatik, Mimosa, G-Eazy, Chali 2na and more. Festivalgoers are encouraged to join the creative vibe in dress and attitude. Wicked-cool performance-art dance act RemoteKontrol and acrobatic dancers Kazum will supercharge an atmosphere that also features art installations, nightly laser shows and other freaky shenanigans. Pre-festival events will happen in Ketchum on the evening of July 4. On-site camping is available.
MCCALL MUSIC FESTIVAL
July 5 and 6, Manchester Ice and Event Centre, ticketfly.com
Fireworks over Payette Lake? Try a music explosion downtown. One of the state's most popular summer outdoor recreation meccas is bringing the party on Fourth of July weekend - but indoors. The McCall Music Festival will present multiple acts in the climate-controlled Manchester Ice and Event Centre. Boat by day; cool off at night. Why not?
July 5: Big Head Todd & The Monsters, Reckless Kelly, Jeff Crosby and The Refugees
July 6: Pat Benatar with Neil Giraldo, Young Dubliners, Stone Stanley
Also, Stone Stanley (July 5) and the Young Dubliners (July 6) will play after-parties at McCall Brewing Company.
SUMMER MUSIC FESTIVAL AT ROSEBERRY
July 18-20, about a mile east of Donnelly, thesummermusicfestival.com
This laid-back, family-friendly festival has been happening for decades. Thursday is locals night, Friday features bluegrass/folk/string music, and Saturday is world and rock night headlined by Latin funk group B-Side Players. Coolers are welcome, but no on-site camping is available.
IDAHO-DOWN MUSIC FESTIVAL
July 26 and 27, Brundage Mountain Resort, McCall, idahodownfestival.com
Jamming, roots-rock and alt-country will power this two-day bash highlighted by Jeff Crosby and the Refugees (Friday) and Equaleyes (Saturday). But there's plenty of variety, too, ranging from Free Peoples to Boise's own Thomas Paul Band. Now in its fifth year, this party - masterminded by Equaleyes - happens in a perfect location for hiking and mountain biking. On-site camping comes with your ticket.
NORTHERN ROCKIES FOLK FESTIVAL
Aug. 2 and 3, Hop Porter Park, Hailey, northernrockiesfolkfestival.com
For 35 years, the Northern Rockies Folk Festival has been an Idaho staple. And for 35 years, we've told you to make sure you take a swim in the Big Wood River while you're there. (OK, maybe 34.) The 36th annual event is more of the same: Cool tunes and an easygoing atmosphere. It's not just a folk festival, though. Check the lineup:
Aug. 2: Hayes Carll, Halden Wofford and the Hi-Beams, Up a Creek
Aug. 3: Ruthie Foster, George Devore and the Electric Cigarettes, Steph Sloan and the Elephant Parade, Captain Dano & the Nobodies, Paddy Wagon
YELLOW PINE MUSIC AND HARMONICA FESTIVAL
Aug. 2-4, Yellow Pine, yellowpinemusicandharmonicafestival.org
Everyone needs to visit Yellow Pine once - even if it's to buy a Coke after emerging from the woods after a week-long backpacking trip. This harmonica festival in "Yeller Pine" - population 35 - is a true backwoods experience, filled with blues-harp jams, harmonica lessons, food vendors and craft sellers. There's a new "crowd pleaser" youth harmonica contest this year - sure to be fun. And don't miss the Saturday night street dance, which should attract a few mountain characters.
BRAUN BROTHERS REUNION FESTIVAL
Aug. 8-10, Challis Community Stage, Challis, braunbrothersreunion.com
The annual Americana and roots-rock festival is back with lots of familiar names. Do some fly fishing while you're in the area.
Aug. 8: Muzzie Braun, Dale Watson and the Lonestars, Suzy Bogguss, Micky and the Motorcars
Aug. 9: No Justice, Corb Lund and the Hurtin Albertans, Todd Snider, Turnpike Troubadours, Randy Rogers Band
Aug. 10: Tom Nazz and Jazz/Gary and Cindy Braun, Braun Family/Guitar Pull, Wade Bowen, Redd Volkaert, Cody Canada and The Departed, Reckless Kelly
ROCK THE MOUNTAIN
Aug. 9 and 10, Grimes Creek, toward Centerville, facebook.com/RockTheMountainXVII
Bang your head in the mountains. Scare the little critters in the woods. This is the Boise area's skull-crushing answer to Woodstock - except most people never hear about it.
Tons of local and regional metal bands make this a must-do for the hesher crowd, who throw an impressively well-run party.
Camping is available, but you can always cruise (sober) back to Boise; it's an hour drive. This year's headliner is West Virginia band Bobaflex, but Boise thrash-metal faves Krystos will be a popular must-see, too.
MCCALL JAZZ FESTIVAL
Aug. 10, McCall Golf Club, curtisstigers.com
Versatile singer and saxophonist Curtis Stigers will host this inaugural jazz event, which includes Stigers and His Band, the Paul Tillotson Trio, Matt Munisteri and John "Scrapper" Sneider. There also will be a "Pre-Jazz Nosh and Sip" at Rupert's at Hotel McCall on Aug. 9, featuring The Matthew Fries Trio. Proceeds will benefit The Shepherd's Home in McCall. "I've loved McCall since I was a kid," Stigers says. "I hope this will be the first of many great McCall Jazz Festivals."
SUN VALLEY PAVILION
sunvalley.com, (208) 622-2135
With nearly 1,500 covered seats, you can enjoy the outdoors in style at this scenic pavilion. For a full entertainment schedule, visit the above website. Highlights:
July 7: The Music of Abba (Arrival from Sweden) with the American Festival Chorus and Orchestra
July 28-Aug. 20: Sun Valley Summer Symphony
Aug. 21: Huey Lewis and the News
Sept. 6: Reckless Kelly
RIVER RUN LODGE
July 30: Brandi Carlile
Aug. 14: Josh Ritter and the Royal City Band
MUSIC FROM STANLEY
Redfish Lake Lodge, Stanley
These free outdoor shows happen from 4 to 7 p.m. Sundays.
June 30: Barking Owls
July 7: Shook Twins
July 14: The Bare Bones
July 21: Andy Hackbarth
July 28: The Fav
Aug. 4: Korby Lenker
Aug. 11: Jean Jolly
Aug. 18: Interstate (Jake Van Paepeghem) with Fiona Luray
Aug. 25: Caitlin Canty
Sept. 1: Hokum Hi-Flyers with Travis Ward
Michael Deeds on Twitter: @IDS_Deeds