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Sounds of Sandpoint come in all styles

Year after year, the Festival at Sandpoint has proven to be one of the best and most reliable concert series in the region. Now in its 31st summer, the fest continues to bring major musical acts to Bonner County.

A wide array of acts highlighted last year’s event, from the South African vocal group Ladysmith Black Mambazo to the radio-friendly folk rock of the Counting Crows. That variety continues this year, with a lineup of artists from a number of genres and eras.

This coming Thursday marks the first day of the festival, which is spread over two weekends.

• Indigo Girls, with the Shook Twins, Thursday, 7:30 p.m. Along with Tracy Chapman and Natalie Merchant, the Indigo Girls were one of the defining female singer-songwriter acts to emerge from the late ’80s and early ’90s. Known for their poetic lyrics, complex melodies and haunting harmonies, the Atlanta-based duo of Amy Ray and Emily Sailers crossed over to mainstream success with such adult alternative hits as “Closer to Fine,” “Hammer and Nail” and “Galileo.” Having collaborated with artists as diverse as R.E.M., Pink and Brandi Carlile, the Indigo Girls’ folk-pop sound remains contemporary, and they have a Grammy, two platinum albums, and four Lilith Fair tours to their name. Sandpoint natives the Shook Twins are the scheduled openers. Tickets are $36.95; access to the Brew Fest beer tasting, which includes a commemorative pilsner glass, costs an additional $10.

• Cake, Aug. 2, 7:30 p.m. It might be impossible to shoehorn Cake into a single genre. The Sacramento band isn’t easy to classify, yet their style is distinctive, combining jazzy trumpet licks, funky bass lines and half-spoken vocals into a sound that’s all their own. Although best known for their 1996 radio hit “The Distance,” Cake has released a number of memorable songs in their 20-year career: Most notable are “Short Skirt/Long Jacket,” which lifts the guitar riff from the Velvet Underground’s “Sweet Jane” wholesale, and their snotty, lounge lizard cover of Gloria Gaynor’s disco anthem “I Will Survive.” Their sixth studio album, 2011’s “Showroom of Compassion,” debuted at the top of the Billboard charts. $49.95.

• Rosanne Cash, with the Greencards and Devon Wade, Aug. 3, 6 p.m. Carrying on your family legacy can be daunting, especially if you come from country royalty. Rosanne Cash, daughter of the legendary Johnny Cash, has certainly lived up to her name as one of the defining country artists of the last few decades. Racking up 11 No. 1 singles and four Top 10 albums on the ’80s country charts, Cash has remained a critical darling throughout her career. Her music continues to resonate with modern listeners, and her latest album, a compendium of country standards titled “The List” became her first Top 10 album in more than 20 years. Openers include Sandpoint native Devon Wade and Austin-based bluegrass band the Greencards. $49.95.

The music-filled weekend ends with a Sunday afternoon family concert event called “An Invitation to the Dance,” featuring performances by the Spokane Youth Orchestra and Sandpoint’s Studio One ballet dancers. Kid-friendly activities include a petting zoo, pony rides, face painting and games, while weary parents can seek refuge in the Parents’ Corner for a much-deserved mini-massage. All tickets to this event are $6, and gates open at 4:30 p.m.

Our preview of the festival’s second-week lineup will appear in 7 on Aug. 2.

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