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.

Greater Portland
Pickathon (August 2-4, 2013) is an outdoor festival that showcases a national mix of roots musical styles (folk, Americana, bluegrass, indie), located on Pendarvis Farms, which is 15 miles outside of Portland. The festival includes at least six stages sprawled out across 80 acres, forest camping, various hiking trails, and of course, impromptu picking parties. While other festivals draw bigger names and operate on bigger budgets, Pickathon focuses on what matters most: the best music possible. I’ve gone two years in a row now and it’s by far the most family-friendly, intimate, sustainable, low-hassle, musically diverse and beautifully executed festival I have ever been to.

MusicfestNW (September 4-8, 2013) is Portland’s largest and most successful music festival that teams up with local, regional and national bands to create a multi-venue, five-day festival featuring the biggest names of indie rock, hip hop, punk and many other genres. The headliners play at the Pioneer Courthouse Square while the other bands take over the city’s venues including Crystal Ballroom, Roseland Theater and the Doug Fir, among others. Music Fest NW is the closest thing Portland has to a SXSW-style festival experience.

The Waterfront Blues Festival (July 4-7, 2013) 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.

Willamette Valley
The Oregon Bach Festival ( June 24-July 14, 2013) 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.

The Oregon Jamboree (August 2-4, 2013) is 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.

Southern Oregon
The Britt Music Festival (August 2-18, 2013) 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.

Central Oregon
4 Peaks Music Festival (June 21-23, 2013) 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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  1. Erika Sanchez says…

    Hello Allison.
    Perhaps you haven’t heard of us, but here we are, Oregon’s newest classical music festival: the OREGON MUSIC FESTIVAL (www.oregonmusicfest.org) This year, the festival features its educational arm, Orpheus Academy, featuring Orchestral Training Program, violin masterclass, and a concert of great music on June 19 at First Baptist Church (909 SW 11th Ave.). Featured soloist is Canadian violinist Carla Trynchuk; Travis Hatton is the conductor. Please see our website.
    Please spread the word.
    Thank you,
    Erika Sanchez, Managing Director

    Written on June 13th, 2013 / Flag this Comment
  2. Allison Keeney says…

    Hi Erika,

    Thank you for this information. I hope you had a successful and fun festival this year! We would love information for next year’s festival so we can put it on our calendar of events. Feel free to email me anytime.

    All the best,


    Written on June 26th, 2013 / Flag this Comment

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