The Crystal Ballroom Turns 102, and Everybody Is Invited

Portland's iconic venue is turning 102 on Sunday, and throwing a mighty, musical birthday bash. For free.

By Jack Rushall January 20, 2016

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The Crystal Ballroom. Photo Courtesy Incase on Flickr. CC license.

Image: Incase

It’s not every day the Crystal Ballroom turns 102. Which means a raucous birthday bash is in order.

The Crystal Ballroom’s 102nd Free-For-All on Sunday, January 24 is exactly what it sounds like: it’s free and there’s a little something for everyone. Bands such as Block Alegria, Edna Vazquez, Y La Bamba, the Domestics, and Divers will be in attendance for adults who can situate themselves on the legendarily bouncy dance floor. For early comers, “You Who” is a Children’s Rock Variety Show marketed towards the small ones but with parent-pleasing acts like the Decemberists’ Colin Meloy and the Eyelids.

It’s also good time to take stock of the myriad musical legends who’ve come through the Crystal Ballroom over the years, including James Brown, Tina Turner, the Grateful Dead, Sleater-Kinney, and Alabama Shakes. Which—along with its famous floating floor and general rite-of-passageness—is why the venue made it onto our list of 50 Things Every Portlander Must Do.

For a look back at the venue's long history, take a trip through our timeline from the ballroom's early 20th-century roots up to its centenary two years ago.

Crystal Ballroom’s 102nd Birthday Free-For-All is on Sunday, Jan 24 from 2pm till late.

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