2022-11-13 Hardly Raining
Seattle’s Freakout Festival returned to Ballard on November 10-13, 2022. This tenth iteration spanned four nights and six venues, along with a new outdoor stage that featured popular Seattle artists.
It was a fantastic lineup from around the world, emphasizing bands from Latin America and the U.S. West Coast. On-brand for Freakout, this year’s festival mixed emerging acts with legacy artists—including Brazilian tropicália group Os Mutantes, Tucson rocker Kid Congo Powers with The Pink Monkey Birds, Durango psych-rock group Los Dug Dug’s, and “living legend” César “Papi” Castrillón of sixties Lima garage band Los Saicos. (Many of these bands are so classic that they do not have websites.)
Freakout Fest is intended as a musical sampler. With nearly 140 bands and short overlapping sets, it is impossible to catch all of the acts. (This writer attended about nine sets a night, which was a workout!) With the variety of genres and the careful curation, almost everyone will find some matches for their tastes.
As usual, the festival highlighted Freakout Records artists Shaina Shepherd, Mala Suerte, Acid Tongue, and Smokey Brights, along with other Seattle mainstays like The Black Tones, Biblioteka, Linda from Work, Black Ends, and the Kathy Moore Super Power Trio.
Some new-to-me discoveries this year included Automatic, The UFO Club, The Wave Chargers, and Flaccid Mojo. I regretted missing Patriarchy, Spirit Award, and (provocatively named feminists) Cumgirl8.
So far, Freakout has successfully retained its character as a small festival: Drink and bathroom lines stayed reasonable, attendees transitioned between stages with a quick wristband wave, artists passed around bottles from the stage, and festival organizers attended and performed in many sets themselves. Venues were sometimes crowded but rarely packed—with the exception of Friday’s at-capacity Os Mutantes show at the Tractor.
You can catch many of these artists at Freakout’s next festival, the Weekender. The two-day event will take place in Seattle’s Belltown neighborhood on March 4-5, 2023.
Below is a gallery of this year’s festival, along with Freakout’s festival-artist playlist. (And here is a link to Hardly Raining’s photo gallery from the 2021 festival.)