If you still haven’t gone on your “epic summer vacation” and happen to be a fan of Americana and roots music, I highly recommend Pickathon.
Located on the picturesque Pendarvis Farm in Happy Valley just outside of Portland, the three-day music-lovers festival runs from August 2nd-4th. Pickathon is both an exercise in sustainability, family and community and the place to find your next favorite band.
At a hefty $260 for the weekend (includes camping, but not parking), the ticket is nothing to sneeze at, but is a necessary evil to keep the participant number at a comfortable level.
The site is the perfect mix of Doug Fir forest and meadows, with a commanding view of Mt. Hood and made complete with grazing horses. There are 4 miles of trails through the woods if you wanted to satisfy your active vacation need, but you are guaranteed to be dancing the entire weekend.
Main stage headliners include Feist, The Devil Makes Three, Dale Watson, Vieux Farka Toure and Divine Fits. The Galaxy Barn stage is a hub for old-time music by day and turns into a raucous honky tonk by night. Wander out to the Woods Stage for up-and-coming jug bands. The Workshop Barn offers question and answer sessions with picking legends and this year, they have added a new venue, The Café Stage. All stages are conveniently located near beer gardens that command excellent views.
Friday night the entire place participates in a few thousand people square dance, and Saturday morning live cartoons are enacted by The Cardboard Songsters. Circus Cascadia offers workshops all weekend in unicycling, juggling and more, so do bring the kids.
Attendees are a generally mellow mix of music aficionados, families, hipsters, country folk and cowboys. (Note: the cowboys have been known to sweep gals off their feet to dance in the juke joint. Don’t agree to a dance unless you are really ready to swing!)
Be sure to leave your plastic at home, because Pickathon runs on reusable dishes that you can take home as your souvenir. Drinking water is provided. If you’re really going for the relaxing weekend, the food and beer choices are all local and delicious. Mead, cider and cocktails with local spirits have been added to this year’s drink menu. For food, I recommend Pine State Biscuits, quite possibly the only line in the place but worth it.
The last day to order tickets online is July 31st, so if you are thinking about it, do it! Don’t wait until the gate, because chances are the festival will be sold out. Car camping passes are sold out, so be prepared to hike your gear in to find your little nest in the woods.
For ticketing, music lineup, and to read about bussing/biking options and sustainability requests (please do!) go to http://www.pickathon.com.