The PNW Experience is not just a Seattle Sounders-OL Reign doubleheader. It’s a Cascadia Cup match featuring the biggest rivalry in American men’s professional soccer. It’s also a rivalry match for Reign as they host Portland Thorns, a rivalry that in the past meant silverware and in the present is the opportunity to knock Portland down and build Reign up.
Sunday’s event is also about more than soccer. There’s a charity element with auctions and certain tickets raising money for a second futsal/soccer court to be built in Tacoma.
There’s even more than that. There’s a music festival featuring artists inspired by Jimi Hendrix, Seattle, and the Greater Puget Sound. Sunday is a celebration of the sound of soccer. With all that’s going on it could be overwhelming. Let’s focus on a few of the highlights.
Celebrate Quinn and the other Olympians
They are the best. Out, proud, and a world champion. Quinn brings their 2020 Olympic Gold to Lumen Field on Sunday. They and their teammates, bronze medalists Rose Lavelle and Megan Rapinoe, as well as Olympic participant Angelina, will be honored prior to the match. Yes, all were just honored at Cheney Stadium last week.
They all deserve more honors. These are icons using their platforms for more than soccer. They are the Puget Sound soccer experience as much as winning Cups and Shields is, as much as the massive crowd support for the men is, as much as Tacoma’s warm welcome for Reign is.
A handful of Sounders have participated in the Olympics, a few others have gone to World Cups. Reign — they don’t just participate, they win it all. Champions League, World Cup, Olympics? Check. Check. Check. That roster is stacked. Come early enough to give Quinn a sound like thunder. Cheer for them, because they are the best of us.
Music Celebrating Jimi Hendrix and Puget Sound
There are five total stages and over a score of acts performing throughout the day. During both pregames and both halftimes musical acts will share their passions with huge crowds. There’s a bit of structure behind who is appearing on which stages, which is handy because the last time a music festival was packed this tight was Bumbershoot 2019.
The Hendrix Stage is for the big acts — Lady A pre-Reign and The Black Tones pre-Sounders.
Over on the West Field Concourse, the MoPOP stage is hosting six local artists performing with a “Jimi Hendrix” twist.
The Full 90 stage on the East Concourse will have five other local acts.
Both club levels also have their own stages, with two different performers in each of those limited-access areas.
Here's a sampling of the bands that are part of the experience.
My usual festival advice is go to one act that you know and then go vibe with something different. Experience a sound that you wouldn’t normally play on your own. Open your mind and kiss the sky.
Lots of Merch
There are 30,000 PNW flags being handed out prior to the Reign match. These purple, orange, and yellow flags are inspired by the Jimi Hendrix alternate kits the Sounders wear this season and feature both Reign and Sounders logos. Those are free.
There’s also quite a bit of match-exclusive gear to include three scarf pins, also free, and in limited quantities. You can find match t-shirts and scarves at the standard Sounders shop locations.
Just outside of the Lumen Field Pro Shop you will find OL Reign merch. You can also find their retail kiosk at the NE corner of the plaza. Here’s a handy map.
There are also higher value items available at auction, raising money for the RAVE Foundation and the Right to Play. Sounders FC are building mini-pitches throughout areas of need not just in Seattle, but also the suburbs, exurbs, and eventually the dryside.
Exclusive to Sounders season-ticket members is a beer garden in the NE corner of the plaza. There will be some open space to relax, lawn games, a 4th scarf pin exclusive to those who can enter this space, and Michelob Ultra. You’ll almost certainly be able to hear the main stage concerts.
The stadium is allowing exit and re-entry between matches. You must scan your ticket to leave and again scan your ticket to re-enter. Exits must be done at either the NW and SW gates between 5:15 and 6:45 PM PT.
Tip: Send your guests their ticket in case they want to leave while you want to experience everything else.
Just Be Casual
Maybe you need to get away for a bit. It’s a large crowd, something that’s been uncommon for almost 20 months. There are some locations where you can give yourself space.
From the West Upper/300s Concourse there’s a beautiful view of Puget Sound with Alki, Vashon and the Olympics beyond the bustle of one of the busiest ports in America.
The Lower East Concourse looks over the railyard. It looks like the stage for that area’s best view will block the potential to see Tahoma (Mt. Rainier).
We at Sounder at Heart and Ride of the Valkyries like you. We want to see you in and around our community for a long time. Here are some recommendations to stay safe during the match.
- Come hydrated and remember to continue hydrating throughout the day.
- Wear sunscreen, sunglasses, a hat, and loose clothing.
- Be ambulatory. If you can walk, take a walk. If you need assistance, have your friends or family, or one of us, help you move about for a bit. Sitting or standing for 7 hours is a lot.
- Wear a mask whenever practical. Yes, the legal requirement is only when indoors. But wearing it more often can help those who are unable to be vaccinated stay safe.
- Get vaccinated. They’re free, safe, and readily available.
- Seriously, hydrate. It’s a long day to be outdoors even in mild weather, especially when there is alcohol available. The expected sunny and mid-seventies can sneak up on you.
- Plan your transportation home before you leave your house for the matches.