Words & Deeds

Michael Deeds: Guide to spring outdoor festivals, events in Boise

In 2001, the Eagle Island Experience launched as the Treasure Valley’s mini-version of the Oregon Country Fair. In 2015, after one last shindig May 16 and 17, the festival will pack up its tie-dye shirts and float off into the great commune in the sky.

Blame Idaho weather. Too often for organizers, the forecast called for pain.

“We’re tired of getting rained out!” event coordinator Carl Scheider explains good-naturedly. “It’s a hard festival to do because of the time of year, the weather. People don’t know if it’s going to be warm enough. It’s just hard.”

The event at Eagle Island State Park has drawn crowds of about 3,000 on good years, Scheider says. A family-friendly time warp into the spirit of the 1960s, it’s definitely worth visiting for a last hurrah. (Get details online at gruntwerks.net.) It’s a freak show — in a good way. You’ll find bands, dance troupes, fire dancers, green-friendly booths, as well as occasional adults wearing fairy wings. It’s all part of a free-spirited vibe that permeates the park, which has resulted in artistic displays such as a “Peace Tree” and that ilk. “The people involved are creative people,” Scheider explains with a chuckle. “They always just want to create something. So something just automatically appears. It just pops up. “It’s like, ‘Oh, I didn’t see that yesterday. What is that?’ ”

It’s a snowman, Carl.

(Just kidding. Start praying to the weather gods right now.)

Scheider fondly describes the Eagle Island Experience as having “the hippie vibe without the drugs.” But local weathermen must think that plenty of Idaho event organizers actually are on drugs. Outdoor festivals keep appearing in spring, taunting the unpredictable skies.

Hey, it’s balmy right now. If temperatures takes a frigid turn in the next few weeks, just hold your favorite festival beverage with a mitten — no koozie required. Here are other notable pre-summer outdoor events happening in May and June:

• Redheads will gather in force at the second annual, mostly outdoor


on May 8 at the Old Idaho Penitentiary. (Remember to take sunscreen even if it’s cloudy.) Adults will enjoy red beer and wine, and there will be family-friendly activities and food trucks. Online:



• The Outlaw Field Summer Concert Series starts May 26 — nearly a month before summer — with

Lindsey Stirling

. She’s the spirited violinist who prances around in an ice castle in her popular video, “Crystallize.” Brrr. Let’s hope it’s 80 degrees at the Idaho Botanical Garden. Online:



• Turn on the fountain! Free weekly music series

Alive After Five

kicks off June 3. It will remain in The Grove Plaza, despite earlier talk of moving. I hope to have a list of the Alive After Five headliners within days. Online:



• Bust out those picnic baskets and visit the Botanical Garden’s annual

Great Garden Escape

series. It kicks off June 4 with Muzzie and Billy Braun and happens most Thursdays through Sept. 17. Sobering news: You can’t bring your own beer and wine anymore; it has to be purchased on-site.

Online: idahobotanicalgarden.org.

• If the weather deities don’t cooperate at the

Treasure Valley Renaissance Festival

, maybe a fire-breathing dragon will land in Caldwell’s Rotary Pond Park and warm everyone up. Join the armored knights June 6 and 7. Online: Bad news, kids, there was no Internet in the Medieval period. (OK, OK,

check Facebook

for details.)

• No crafts allowed. It’s just fine art from about 60 local artists at the 25th annual

Art and Roses

in Julia Davis Park. The June 7 event benefits the Rose Garden and is free. Online:


• Drink up at the

Crooked Fence Brewing Co. Three Year Anniversary

bash June 12 at the Old Idaho Penitentiary. Johnny Cash tribute band Cash’d Out will headline, supported by local rockers Marshall Poole. You’ll find plenty of grub from food trucks. And beer, of course. Online:



• Feel free to gorge yourself at Grind Modern Burger’s annual


It’s goes most of the day June 13 in the parking lot across from the Downtown Boise restaurant. Along with whole roasted pig, there will be pig races, a pickled-pig eating contest, live music and beer from PostModern Brewers. Online:



• Don’t have a cow, man. There will be a herd of entertainment — a carnival, parade, etc. — June 15-20 at Meridian Dairy Days. Online:



• Gotta love the firm stance taken by the

Emmett Cherry Festival’s

website: “

The Emmett Cherry Festival is always held during the second full week of June

.” Period. So make sure it’s gorgeous outside, Mr. Weatherman. Inhale an entire pie June 17-20. Online:



• A new music venue plans to make its debut near Hagerman. The

Ponderosa Paradise Music Festival

will offer camping in a scenic setting with EDM acts including Apashe, Big Chocolate, Vaski, T-Mass and more. It’s June 19 and 20. A $50 advance ticket includes camping. Ages 18 and older only. Online:



Looking for more pre-summer outdoor fun? Check out calendar listings in Scene magazine on Fridays or hit IdahoStatesman.com.

Tonight in ‘The Other Studio’

Join Tim Johnstone and me as we talk rock and spin new music from Adam Lambert, Josh Groban, Speedy Ortiz, Richard Thompson and more.

“The Other Studio” airs at 9 p.m. Sundays on 94.9 FM The River.

In Scene May 8

• Still haven’t made Mother’s Day plans, ya louse? You’re in luck. Scene will have a guide to area restaurants offering Mother’s Day brunches.

• American Craft Beer Week is May 11-17. I’ll include highlights in my “Tapped In” Scene column. Hint: Crooked Flats in Eagle will host an outdoor “Brew O’lympics” on May 17. Sheesh, if I wasn’t so busy sipping this Peanut Butter Milk Stout, maybe I would have remembered to include that in the list up above.

Michael Deeds’ entertainment column runs Fridays in Scene and every other Sunday in Explore. Email: mdeeds@idahostatesman.com. Twitter: @michaeldeeds.