Season of Music Festivals
Oregon’s festival season is springing upon us, which means sunshine and warm weather are within arm’s reach. Oregon has a myriad of festivals hosted around the state each year, but I am going to share with you some our biggest and best music festivals — because music is what makes the world go round, after all.
Oregon has an eclectic mix of music festivals that will satisfy an array of different genre lovers, while also being fun for all ages and reasonably affordable — festivals featuring indie rock, pop, country, bluegrass/folk, electronic, classical, jazz… and the list goes on. We have big festivals that receive national attention and we have lots of little festivals that cater to a local audience.
Pickathon (August 5-7, 2016)
Pickathon, the “biggest little music festival in the Northwest,” is a truly unique multi-day outdoor music experience that takes place each year at the beautiful Pendarvis Farm in Happy Valley (about 30 minutes outside of Portland). While Pendarvis Farm’s 80 acres offers space for 17-20K people, Pickathon wants to remain intimate by offering only 3.5K tickets. It is also the only outdoor music festival in the U.S. to minimize all single-use cups, dishware and utensils, and the first one to go plastic free. With over 50 bands, just about every genre of music you can think of is represented, and multiple hand-built stages (art pieces in and of themselves) mean that the music never stops. With so many other great things to experience, such as amazing local food and craft beverages, you’ll wonder how to fit it all in. Pickathon is also incredibly family friendly. All kids under 12 get in free with their families. Plus, there is a jammed-packed schedule of activities for kids, as well as over 3.5 miles of LED-lighted trails. Camping is also “everyone friendly” with comfortable showers, a “front desk concierge,” camp scouts and a beautiful forested setting.
Project Pabst (August 27-28, 2016)
After 15 years as Portland’s largest and most successful music festival, MusicfestNW is upping the ante and joining forces with Project Pabst, a Pabst Brewing-sponsored event which first came to the city in 2014. Both have brought some of the biggest names in rock, hip hop and pop to the Rose City. This year’s new two-day mega festival will take place at Tom McCall Waterfront Park and various other venues throughout Portland.
The Waterfront Blues Festival (July 1-4, 2016)
The Waterfront Blues Festival in Portland is the largest blues festival on the West Coast. It not only brings a stellar lineup each year, but is the number one fundraiser for the Oregon Food Bank (raising over $7 million in its 25 years). The festival has grown steadily in size and reputation each year and is now recognized as one of the nation’s premier blues festival.
Oregon Bach Festival ( June 23-July 10, 2016)
This festival is an annual celebration that celebrates the music and legacy of Johann Sebastian Bach. Based in Eugene, The University of Oregon presents three weeks of an unequaled environment of performance, discovery and community. See and hear the best the classical music world has to offer, from masterworks for chorus and orchestra to rare gems from the vast classical repertoire, performed by internationally heralded music stars under the direction of Helmuth Rilling.
Oregon Jamboree (July 29-31, 2016)
This the Northwest’s unrivaled country music and camping festival set among 20 acres on the foothills of the scenic Cascade Mountains. The Jamboree offers a full festival experience in the main venue and a more intimate atmosphere on the second stage area. Every year some of the biggest names in country perform at this family-style event, which draws attendees from all of the United States.
Oregon Coast Music Festival (July 21-30, 2016)
Each year for two weeks in July, the small coastal town of Coos Bay comes alive with the sounds of music for the Oregon Coast Music Festival (OCMF). During week one attendees are treated to the sounds of big band, blues, barbershop, folk and jazz among others. Bands, choirs, quartets and solo performers spend the week playing at venues throughout the town. Week two is where the real musical magic begins when over 80 professional orchestral players, regional and national, come together to perform three orchestral pieces, including a family friendly POPS Concert.
Britt Music Festival (June 16-September 20, 2016)
Britt is a non-profit performing arts festival located in the historic, charming town of Jacksonville. It’s one of the Pacific Northwest’s premier outdoor music and arts festival featuring world-class jazz, folk, country, pop, dance and classical music artists. The Britt’s performance venue is a naturally formed amphitheater set among spectacular natural scenery. This festival brings tens of thousands of music lovers from all over the West to enjoy the world-class performances, educational programs and a casual, beautiful and relaxing atmosphere.
4 Peaks Music Festival (June 19-21, 2015)
This festival gets its name from the four Cascade Mountain peaks that form a majestic backdrop at the venue: Broken Top, South, Middle and North Sister. The festival strives to bring nationally touring bands to Central Oregon to create an intimate and family-friendly community experience for both the attendees and artists.
So, now that you’re a little more in tune with Oregon’s music festivals, I hope you’ll invite your friends and family and come experience one of them firsthand. Start your music trip planning!
about author Allison Keeney
Allison Keeney is a part of Travel Oregon's Communications Team. When she's not blogging or photographing the thriving music scene in Portland, you'll find this native Oregonian exploring the many wonders of her home state, savoring the bounty of local craft beverages and eateries, and enjoying the company of friends and family.
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