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10 Must-Do Art and Culture Events
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10 Must-Do Art and Culture Events

Picture of Marcelina Morfin
Updated: 9 February 2017
Idaho’s summer season is packed with amazing music, art, food and cultural festivities. From the celebration of Native American and Basque cultures to rodeos to art exhibitions, there are many unique events happening over the next few months. Here we take a look at the 10 best art and culture events in Idaho.

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Music | Boise Music Festival

28 June

Currently in its fifth year, the Boise Music Festival attracts tens of thousands of music lovers each year. With performances taking place on seven stages simultaneously, there is an array of musical genres from which to choose. This year the main stage is reserved for country singer Kelleigh Bannan, alternative rocker Emerson Hart, hip hop artist Sir Mix-A-Lot, and pop-rock band Train to name a few. Dozens of local acts, such as singer Alexa Cashen and punk rock band False Idle, take centre stage at the other six venues. This one-day event also includes over 50 vendors — food, retail, and arts & crafts — and a carnival making it a great event for the whole family.

Boise Music Festival, Expo Idaho, 5610 N. Glenwood St., Boise, ID, USA, +1 208 344 6363

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Theatre | Summer Fools Festival

1-26 July and 7-9 August

Company of Fools is a non-profit theatre company that began in Richmond, Virginia in 1992 when a group of artists came together with the same goal: to establish a connection between artists and the audience through theatre. Relocated to Hailey in 1996, the award-winning company produces, performs, and hosts several plays each year at the Liberty Theatre. The Summer Fools Festival’s productions this year are Enchanted April, whichtakes centre stage 1-26 July and a short engagement, 7-9 August, of the popular play Shirley Valentine. The company also provides educational arts programming throughout the year, such as classes on voice acting, improvisation, and set design.

Company of Fools, 110 N. Main St., Hailey, ID, USA, +1 208 788 6520

Dance | Idaho International Summerfest

3 July – 2 August

Idaho International Summerfest is a month long interactive art and cultural celebration that takes place in Rexburg and Burley. Hundreds of groups from 60 countries have participated in this extravaganza in the past 28 years when the event was known as the International Dance and Music Festival. With a new name and more events, highlights from the upcoming Summerfest include an art competition and exhibition, an international street festival and dance, youth culture classes, and numerous other dance and musical performances, and participants will include teams from Mexico, China, India, and Russia to name a few. It is a great opportunity to see and learn about other cultures and their traditions.

Various venues across Rexburg and Burley, ID, USA

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Culture | Snake River Stampede

15 – 19 July

Each year tens of thousands of spectators descend upon Nampa to watch and partake in the Snake River Stampede held at the Ford Idaho Center. Known as ‘the wildest fastest show on Earth’, it is one of the top 10 professional rodeos in the USA and is now in its 99th year. Starting as a small local bucking contest in 1913, it now attracts over 600 entrants in various events, such as bull riding, bareback bronco riding, and ladies’ barrel racing. There is also a mutton-busting event that allows children to participate in the rodeo. Other events scheduled this year include a parade, Buckaroo breakfast, and live music making this a fun experience for the entire family.

Snake River Stampede, 16200 N. Idaho Center Blvd., Nampa, ID, USA, +1 208 466 8597

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Culture | Julyamsh Powwow

25 – 27 July

Hailed as ‘the largest outdoor powwow held in the Pacific Northwest’, Julyamsh is a gathering of Native American tribes to celebrate their culture and traditions. Hosted by the Coeur d’Alene tribe in Post Falls, tribes from around the nation come together to participate in traditional dance competitions, which include Women’s Fancy Shawl and Men’s Traditional, and other ceremonial practices all the while wearing time-honoured colourful regalia. Other events scheduled for this year include a sky diving performance and an art exhibition and auction. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to watch this amazing cultural fete.

Julyamsh, 5100 W. Riverbend Ave., Post Falls, ID, USA, +1 800 523 2464

Culture | San Inazio Festival

25 – 27 July

Boise has one the largest Basque populations in the USA, and each year they come together to honour their patron saint, St. Ignatius of Loyola, in a weekend long celebration known as the San Inazio Festival. Hosted by the Basque Center, the event is essentially a street party where Ikurrinas, the Basque flag, are proudly displayed everywhere, and Basque dancers perform and happily wear traditional costumes, which can vary from one dance to another. Visitors can dine on pintxos, which is similar to Spanish tapas, watch a game of Basque pelota, or relax while having a picnic in the park listening to Basque music. Fun is to be had by all at this unique cultural celebration.

Various venues in Boise, ID, USA

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Music | Festival at Sandpoint

7 – 17 August

Set along the banks of Lake Pend Oreille, The Festival at Sandpoint strives to bring the people of Sandpoint and surrounding areas an opportunity to listen to amazing music by some of the best musicians, and with the event in its 32nd year, it’s succeeding. Lining up musical acts from a variety of genres ensures that all music aficionados will be pleased. Singers and bands on the list this year include indie-folk band The Head and The Heart, the great Huey Lewis & The News, jazz musician Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, and country duo Montgomery Gentry to name but a few. The festival takes place over 8 days and includes a family day featuring music, a petting zoo, and much more.

The Festival at Sandpoint, Memorial Field, Sandpoint, ID, USA, +1 208 265 4554

Art | Artists’ Studio Tour

15 – 17 August and 22 – 24 August

Celebrating the local arts community, the Artists’ Studio Tour presents an incredible opportunity for people in the Sandpoint area. A self-guided tour, many artists — there are currently 29 on the list — open their studio doors for two weekends each summer so that art lovers can go and watch these artists produce their works and ask any questions they might have. Paintings, photography, jewellery, and pottery are just a few of the media represented in the tour this year. Some artist’s opening their doors for visitors includes painter Liliana Barbieri, wildlife photographer Jerry Ferrara, and jewellery designer Mary Gayle Young.

Various studios across the Sandpoint area

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Art | Movements: Paintings by Rachel Forte

Until 31 August

Part of the Idaho Falls Arts Council, the Willard Arts Center displays artworks by emerging and established artists from the USA in its various galleries, and the featured exhibition in the Carr Gallery this summer is Movements: Paintings by Rachel Forte. An abstract painter based in Massachusetts, Forte’s artworks are often featured in art shows around the Mid-Atlantic area, and so it is a special treat to have them in the west. Working with acrylic on canvas, Forte’s is inspired by the natural world, particularly the movement of microscopic and celestial shapes, which is evident in the depiction of the dynamic free flowing lines and shapes featured prominently in her artworks.

Willard Arts Center, 450 A Street, Idaho Falls, ID, USA, +1 208 522 0471

Movement Paintings by Rachel Forte
Rachel Forte, Whorl, 40 x 40 inches, acrylic on canvas, Willard Arts Center | Courtesy of the Idaho Falls Arts Council

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Theatre | Idaho Shakespeare Festival

Until 28 September

In its 38th season, the Idaho Shakespeare Festival provides educational programming throughout the year and produces several performances each summer, including works by Shakespeare, contemporary plays, and musicals. Nestled in a park amongst a habitat reserve in Boise, the festival takes place in a beautiful outdoor amphitheatre that provides ample seating for those wishing to enjoy a play under the stars. Taking centre stage this summer: Death Trap, As You Like It, Les Misérables, The Merry Wives of Windsor, and Steel Magnolias. Spectators are able to purchase food from the on-site café or bring their own picnic.

Idaho Shakespeare Festival, 5657 Warm Springs Ave., Boise, ID, USA, +1 208 429 9908

More from our USA Event Guide:

Washington | Washington’s 10 Must-See Art Exhibitions in Summer 2014

Arkansas | Arkansas’ 10 Unmissable Art and Culture Events in Summer 2014

New York | NYC Cultural Calendar: 10 Unmissable Events in Summer 2014

South Carolina | South Carolina’s 10 Best Art and Culture Events This Summer

Rhode Island | Summer in Rhode Island: 10 Exhibitions, Fairs and Festivals

Massachusetts | Boston’s 10 Best Art and Culture Events This Summer

USA | Top Music Festivals in the USA: Summer 2014

California | LA Cultural Calendar: 10 Unmissable Events in Summer 2014