The night before releasing the lineup for Timbrrr! Winter Music Festival, Kevin Sur received a call from a tour manager while he was driving. Sur, the founder of Artist Home, the organization that puts on Timbrrr! (and its summer counterpart, Timber!), had already sent out press releases to media outlets with the 13-band lineup. But Sur thought that the group Moorea Masa & the Mood were so good, he had to add them at the last minute. So he sent out a new 14-band lineup hours before the announcement. When you care about talent above all else, you make those hard decisions.
“I was on my way home,” says Sur, “thinking about the lineup, thinking I need this one certain thing and their manager called saying she’s available now. I think she’s going to be one of the biggest artists in the country pretty soon, and I don’t think anyone at Timbrrr! has seen her before.”
For Sur and Artist Home, the essence of their acclaimed seasonal music festivals is their outstanding curation. Whether it’s a hot toddy garden, professor-led stargazing or the discovery of a new band, Artist Home aims for a certain type of vibe, which begins first with treating their artists with the utmost care, Sur says. “If someone’s paying attention to you,” he says, “making sure you’re comfortable, hydrated, that’s important. When we do an event, when an artist shows up, that’s the most important moment for me. How they’re greeted and how they’re treated. I want everyone who plays to feel like they’re coming to my house for a barbecue.”
This is the 5th annual Timbrrr!, which is held every year in snowy Little Bavaria (aka Leavenworth, Washington). This year’s 14-band lineup ranges from the haunting Moorea Masa & the Mood to romping folk-rockers the Cave Singers to the powerful rock-and-roll trio the Black Tones. “I always say people in the Northwest don’t like [one] certain style of music,” says Sur, who likens curating a festival to making the perfect mixtape. “They like good music.”
But in the end, Sur says being able to offer the feeling of introducing new music to people is what drives his work each go-round. “The more talented someone is and the more unknown they are, the more we want them to play our festival,” says Sur, a former touring musician. “Falling in love for the first time with a band is so rich. And giving that chance to people is so valuable for us.”
Tickets for Timbrrr! are available here.
Check out all the bands playing Timbrrr! this year.