Anacortes is something like 80 miles from Seattle, or about an hour and a half by car. It's a small town, not a lot of draw, and I can't think of any reason why someone would go there except for the city's annual (and beloved) independent music and art festival, What the Heck?
The little burg's moment in the spotlight is anything but the typical roasted-corn and street-parade celebration most places of similar population are infamous for. Showcasing local talent (with some not-so-local friends) in multiple mediums, What the Heck? is actually, well, it's actually cool.
The event--co-organized by Anacortes' own record label, Knw-Yr-Own, and the local all-ages music and art venue Department of Safety--takes over city streets with concerts, film screenings, and art and fashion shows.
Using their mad connections, those two DIY entities have organized quite an impressive schedule, with the music for this year's showcases including Mount Eerie (AKA the Microphones), Karl Blau, Laura Veirs, A Frames, Kimya Dawson, D+, Gift Machine, Calvin Johnson, Dennis Driscoll, Thanksgiving, and Parenthetical Girls, among others, with highlights of the weekend (if you were to ask me, not that I'd ever pick favorites) including the Blow and Mirah.
Ticket information (full passes are available, or you could do it on a day-by-day basis) and the full schedule are available at www.knw-yr-own.com. Keep in mind past years have sold out and this year tickets are getting slim, so make sure you've purchased your entry first if you're planning on making the drive.