14 Upcoming Music Festivals
PDX POP NOW
The too-good-to-be-true free all-local-artists all-ages fest returns. Pick up one of their comprehensive two-disc compilation CD’s to support their worthy nonprofit cause and get up to speed on our hottest, hungriest, most of-the-moment local bands.
CATHEDRAL PARK JAZZ FESTIVAL
A Portland institution in its 32nd year, this syncopated soiree under the St. Johns bridge (in the shadow of its picturesque gothic arches) is an all-ages gathering ground for jazz fans and players. This year, the fest’s “new management” includes veteran musicians who’ve booked a more diverse bill that they feel encompasses the whole Portland jazz scene, from bebop to experimental.
COLUMBIA GORGE BLUEGRASS FESTIVAL
The Skamania County Fairgrounds (authentically countrified by three livestock barns on site) invite all-ages toe-tappers to enjoy timeless banjo/mandolin/fiddle fare. Curated for chops and not glamor, this lineup will pluck through the ornately familiar patterns swifter’n a mule-kick!
WHAT THE FESTIVAL
This first-year dance and DJ extravaganza has secured a bankable lineup and a naturally epic location: White River Canyon. Rumored to be the destination of choice for displaced Burners, we predict a reverberant mass-booty-shake.
A surprisingly secretive swarm of 10,000 or more airy sprites (aka fantasy cosplayers) alights on Mount Pisgah (near Eugene) each summer for a three-day bacchanal of music and puckish pageantry. What sort of music tickles a fairy’s fancy? Mostly Celtic, some psychedelic, a smidge of mystic chanting.
SOMETIMES A GREAT NOTION
Details are still forthcoming, but local avant-art provocateurs Disjecta have hand-picked acts from as far as Australia and Japan (and a few much closer to home) for a three-day fest. Find out what sounds are hip amongst the gallery/performance/arts academia crew.
Broadly touting “roots music” (read: alt-country, blues-pop, bluegrass and folk), this salt-of-the-earth festival offers unabashed loyalty to its long-timers, but also consistently lures young pups into the fold. There’s only one curatorial criterion: they have to think the music’s good. Luckily, they’re hardly ever wrong.
If Pickathon’s rootsiness is still a bit too city-slick for your taste, you may enjoy this Sweet Home hoedown that commits completely to straight-up radio-grade country music.
FIRE IN THE CANYON
Some of the most unforgettable 90’s-era hiphop acts are still kickin’ it at this campout in Horning’s Hideout, no doubt forging friendships with the newer Portland-area dance-pop/hiphop crews that fill out the bill. If you’re a fan of January’s Poh-Hop or April’s Soul’d Out, count on this fest to coast you through summer.
NORTHWEST STRING SUMMIT
Hmmm. This Horning’s event seems a bit of a misnomer if you—like we—think of an orchestral “string section” when you first hear it. Instead, consider the whole spectrum of string-ed things (guitar, banjo, mandolin, etc.) and you’ll get the general idea. Basically, this fest seems to favor long-time players with awesome chops over acts that are currently charting.
BELOVED FESTIVAL OF SACRED MUSIC
Aug 10th – 13th
Hung together loosely by a strand of non-denom spirituality, musical acts ranging from roots to gospel to electronica will converge in the Siuslaw National Forrest in Oregon’s Coast Range for the Beloved Sacred Art and Music Festival. The holistic musical-spa-like event also features yoga, meditation, and healing lectures.
WILLAMETTE COUNTRY MUSIC FESTIVAL
A whole herd of big-time new-country stars rides into Brownsville, Oregon, conspicuously endorsed by bargain brand names. We’re guessing you should leave your arugula and your latté at home.
Seattle hosts its usual hullabaloo of au-courant pop-and-rock who’s-who. The bill is a safe bet, though rumor has it that braving the giant crowd is a veritable bloodsport.
Ever more competitive with the Bumbershoot/Sasquatch–style biggies, this Portland-based concert juggernaut closes the summer season with big shows in Pioneer Square and the Roseland, smaller showcases around town, and a roar of press hype.
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