Northwest Tune-Up Festival Features Bellingham Mountain Biking

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A festival goer jumping across the pump track at Bellingham Harbor on Sunday July 10, near Waypoint Park during the Northwest Tune-Up festival.

The Bellingham Herald

The North West’s first tune-up festival featured Bellingham’s mountain biking and the Mayor hopes it will continue.

The event welcomed several thousand people over the three days of the event from Friday to Sunday July 8-10, according to a press release from the organizers.

Arin Phillips, a visitor from Nashville, said it was a truly unique festival.

Mayor Seth Fleetwood attended the festival on Saturday and said it was a great festival which he hopes to continue.

“I thought it was a great first year and I know so many people who had a great time,” Fleetwood said in an email interview. “I think it will one day become a legendary festival. There is simply too much for that. It was kind of a perfect first festival. Now is an opportunity to review, reflect and identify all the ways we can learn from it and make it even better.

The festival was organized by Tune-Up Events LLC, based in Bellingham near Waypoint Park on the waterfront. The company is run by Brandon Watts and Eric Brown. Brown is also executive director of the Whatcom Mountain Bike Coalition and Watts runs Freehub Media.

The festival featured live music, beer tastings from over 20 local breweries and cider houses, and bike shows. While the festival included music and beer tastings, mountain biking was the main attraction.

Bike demonstrations and displays were featured throughout the event with bike competitions open to riders of all ages. Events included city bike tours, bike races, scavenger hunts and hiking tours. The event also featured more than 50 exhibitors where attendees could view the latest gear, apparel, bikes and accessories from bike and outdoor brands, according to the press release.

The biggest bike trail event was along the Galbraith Trail which provides access to Cedar Dust Jump and Skills Park. Festival partners have helped provide a range of bikes for attendees, including traditional mountain bikes and e-bikes.

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Festival goers visit the Ride Concepts stand on Sunday July 10, near Waypoint Park on the waterfront in Bellingham during the Northwest Tune-Up Festival. Kiaya Wilson The Bellingham Herald

Alongside the cycling events, live music was played throughout the festival on two stages. Local groups from across the Pacific Northwest entertained residents between bike shows and beer tastings. Headliners included The Dip, Allah Las, Wolf Parade, Cut Chemist with Chali 2na and PJ Morton.

“My favorite part was finding new music and new bands,” visitor Phillips said.

Although there were many events for attendees, there were some logistical complications during the festival’s first year.

John Phillips, another Nashville visitor, said the festival was a bit sparse but he enjoyed it overall.

“The first day they had spaced out the event for tons and tons of people,” said John Phillips. “They reorganized for the second day and moved barriers.”

Some Bellingham residents were unhappy with the blockades around the waterfront district, but Mayor Fleetwood said the town would work to reduce those problems.

“We host many events that bring people to our region and our neighborhoods, to recreate, celebrate, enjoy our beautiful surroundings and support our local economy,” Fleetwood said. “We hope to use the coming year to consider how to reduce disruption to others, but in the meantime the benefits and joys of the event in my mind have outweighed the temporary inconveniences.”

This story was originally published July 19, 2022 5:00 a.m.

Kiaya Wilson is an intern at the Bellingham Herald. She has a journalism degree from Western Washington University.

Wiley C. Thompson