Alt-rock band Vertical Horizon headlines free celebration of new Dune Peninsula at Point Defiance Park


Arts and other activities also planned as part of the Downtown to Defiance event

Vertical Horizon have released a double-platinum album and created hits that rank high on the Billboard charts. Credit:

Two months after opening to the public, Metro Parks Tacoma is ready to show how the new Dune Peninsula at Point Defiance Park will be a prime spot for entertainment.

The alternative rock band Vertical Horizon, which has had a number of popular radio hits, will headline an afternoon concert Sept. 7 on the waterfront park’s Cambia Legacy Lawn, which features sweeping views of Puget Sound and the Cascade and Olympic mountain ranges.

The day will start at 9 a.m. as Dune Peninsula creates a bookend and must-see stop for the annual Downtown to Defiance event. Now in its seventh year, the event closes a lane of Schuster Parkway and Ruston Way to encourage people to experience Tacoma’s spectacular five-mile waterfront by walking, bicycling, skateboarding, scootering – any means of human-powered travel you can imagine.

At 1 p.m., the concert will start at Dune Peninsula, which opened in early July after a three-year transformation from contaminated Superfund site into a world-class park. The concert is free thanks to support from Point Ruston and others.

“This is the next step in the transformation of the old ASARCO slag peninsula into a waterfront destination,” said Aaron Pointer, president of the Metro Parks Board of Commissioners. “We welcome Vertical Horizon to Tacoma as we host the park’s first concert, and I hope people come out and have a great time. We look forward to bringing all kinds of music, theater and more to Dune Peninsula in the coming years.”

Vertical Horizon, fronted by lead singer Matt Scannell, had a huge breakout in 1999 with the album “Everything You Want,” which went double platinum as it sold more than 2 million copies. The title track hit No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 and Adult Top 40 charts, and became Billboard’s “Most Played Single” of 2000. Other radio hits include “You’re a God,” which hit No. 4 on Billboard’s Adult Chart, and “Best I Ever Had (Grey Sky Morning).” The band released its latest album, “The Lost Mile,” in 2018.


9 a.m. to 2 p.m. – 7th annual Downtown to Defiance

  • Activities along the route include making art, gaga ball, bubble soccer, pickleball, children’s obstacle course, pop-up skate park, adaptive cycles, and Tacoma Nature Center.
  • These activities will take place at Fireman’s Park, mid-way down Schuster Parkway, Dickman Mill Park, Judge Jack Tanner Park, and Dune Peninsula at Point Defiance Park.

10:30 a.m. – Artists Adam Kuby and Nichole Rathburn

  • Kuby and Rathburn will lead a walking tour of Dune Peninsula to share the process and inspiration behind two new artworks, “Alluvion” and “Little Makers.”

1-4 p.m. – Dune Peninsula Celebration Concert presented by Point Ruston

  • Free concert on the Cambia Legacy Lawn, with a beer-and-wine garden and food trucks offering food and beverage for purchase.
  • Performance by Vertical Horizon. Opening performance by Dedset.
  • Parking and transportation: visitors are encouraged to participate in Downtown to Defiance by coming to the park via human-powered options. Those who are coming by car are encouraged to come via Pearl Street to avoid the lane closures. Free parking, while it lasts, is available in: Lot B, a small lot to the left of the ferry lane; the new multi-purpose parking lot to the right of the ferry terminal (below the Wilson Way pedestrian bridge); a temporary gravel lot next to the multipurpose lot; and Point Ruston’s paid parking lots are also available on a first come, first serve basis.
  • VIP Experience: For $65, a limited edition VIP ticket includes reserved parking close by, light hors d’oeuvres, a reserved area for ages 21+ next to the stage, and more.

Visit to purchase the VIP pass or learn more about the day’s activities.

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