Summer is officially here and that means Oregon’s music festivals and events are taking the stage across the state.
Oregon has an eclectic mix of music festivals to suit an array of genre lovers, featuring everything from indie rock and pop to hip hop, country, bluegrass/folk, electronic, classical, jazz and more. We have big festivals that receive national attention, and we have lots of little festivals that cater to a local audience. Many festivals are also fun for all ages and reasonably affordable.
Here are some of the biggest and fan–favorite music festivals around the state.
Outdoor music fans of all stripes are invited to two of McMenamins’ top concert venues all season. At Edgefield in Troutdale, this year’s concerts on the lawn include top acts like Fleet Foxes, The Avett Brothers, Ween, David Gray and the Goo Goo Dolls. At Grand Lodge in Forest Grove, headliners include Fitz & the Tantrums, Franz Ferdinand, Michael Allen Harrison and more. Both venues include plenty of food and beverage options and the opportunity to tour the beautiful grounds and stay overnight before and after a show. Snag your seats early in the season and plan to carpool or take a carshare to the event if possible.
Hayden Homes Amphitheater (June-October)
Formerly the Les Schwab Amphitheater, this venue brings music fans to Bend’s Old Mill District, overlooking the Deschutes River. Before and after a show, it’s easy to walk to dozens of shops, restaurants, food carts and lodging options, as well as find your slice of paradise on the river or on the trail. Top acts in recent years include The Chicks, Bonnie Raitt, Incubus, Alice in Chains, Ziggy Marley and more. Book early since these tickets go fast.
Britt Music Festival (June–September)
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. Get excited for appearances from stars like Norah Jones, Jason Mraz & Raining Jane, CAAMP, Old Crow Medicine Show, Michael Franti & Spearheard, Iration, Blues Traveler and more.
A beloved tradition during the Fourth of July weekend, the Waterfront Blues Festival in downtown Portland is the largest and longest-running blues festival on the West Coast. It not only brings a stellar lineup each year but is the No. 1 fundraiser for the Oregon Food Bank, raising more than $10 million dollars to fight hunger. The festival has grown steadily in size and reputation each year and is now recognized as one of the nation’s premier blues festival. Recent acts have included Taj Mahal & The Phantom Blues Band, Grace Potter, The Wood Brothers, Galatic, Curtis Salgado, Lettuce and more.
For more than 50 years, the Oregon Country Fair has been celebrating a counterculture of art, music and food. The festival is located about 15 miles west of Eugene and takes place in a forested labyrinth layout that leads to more than 700 artisans, 75 food booths and 12 stages featuring musicians, magicians and acrobats. Nourish your mind, body and soul. Recent acts have included Mononeon, The California Honeydrops, Weedie Braimah & The Hands of Time, Moonalice, High Step Society and many more.
When the world-famous Pendleton Whisky puts on a music festival, you know the outcome will be a fun and wild time. Since its inception, the Pendleton Whisky Music Fest has attracted big names every year, and it shows no signs of slowing down. Recent headliners have included Macklemore, Dylan Scott and Ashley Cook. The festival takes place at the Pendleton Round-Up grounds a month before the annual rodeo.
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. 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.
Set at the lakeside retreat of Horning’s Hideout in North Plains, 40 minutes west of Portland, the Northwest String Summit is the ultimate family-friendly festival for jam-band fans. When attendees aren’t busy dancing to the biggest names in bluegrass, there are plenty of other distractions like food and craft vendors, a kids play area and a beer garden, plus wandering peacocks to admire. Recent showstoppers have included Yonder Mountain String Band, Greensky Bluegrass, Umphrey’s McGee, Railroad Earth, Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, The Infamous Stringdusters and more.
This event 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 with two main stages and more than 25 shows in one weekend. Every year some of the biggest names in country perform at this family-style event, which draws attendees from all of the United States. Recent acts have included Miranda Lambert, Trace Adkins and Old Dominion.
Pickathon, the “biggest little music festival in the Northwest,” is a truly unique multi-day outdoor music experience, taking place each year at the beautiful Pendarvis Farm in Happy Valley (about 30 minutes outside of Portland). With more than 50 bands representing just about every genre of music and multiple hand-built stages (art pieces of themselves), the music never stops. Pickathon has also been recognized as a global leader for its sustainability practices. An event fun for whole family where kids under 12 get in free and can choose from a jammed-packed schedule of activities. Recent lineups have included Valerie June, Wet Leg, Goth Babe, Sons of Kemet, Built to Spill, Hurray for the Riff Raff and Sampa The Great and dozens more.
The Vanport Jazz Festival pays tribute to the former city of Vanport, which was destroyed by flooding in 1948, and its once thriving jazz music scene. Held near the historic site at Colwood Golf Center, the festival is a cultural revival of Vanport, featuring renowned jazz musicians and artists. Recent appearances have included Eric Benet, Marcus Miller, EFX All-Stars, Kandance Springs, and more.
PDX Pop Now! is Portland’s premier all-ages community art and music festival. The free event runs five days this year at multiple venues in Portland with heaps of music, daily events, vendors, food and games to keep the whole family entertained. Best of all, it’s for a great cause; the non-profit organization provides educational programming to schools across Portland.
September and Beyond
For more than a decade, the Juniper Jam has drawn songwriters and musicians to Enterprise for “the sweetest little music festival in Eastern Oregon.” With the awe-inspiring Wallowa Mountains as the backdrop, the Juniper Jam is a humble, family-friendly community gathering and fundraiser for the Wallowa Valley Music Alliance. Never Come Down, Siren Songs and Rut Nut are some of the recent featured acts.
If you needed another reason to visit the sweet community of Sisters, the annual folk festival has all the string music to make your heart sing. Recent festivals have hosted The Milk Carton Kids, Doreen’s Jazz New Orleans, Le Vent Du Nord, Rainbow Girls, Po’ Ramblin’ Boys and more. In between sets, explore the art created by students in a collaboration between Sisters Folk Festival and local schools.
Now that you’re a little more in tune with Oregon’s music festival scene, it’s time to gather your fellow music enthusiast friends and make your way to a show.