For a long weekend in August just outside Portland Pendarvis Farm swells with people, many of which are young families, to camp, enjoy music, and commune with our fellow humans. In the forested part of the grounds, every square foot of flat dirt or bush that could be used as sleeping space was taken, and then some. Hammocks were a favorite device since much of that forest was the side of a hill. A cool 90 degrees in the shade for a period, Toddlers misted passers-by with friendly doses of water from squirt bottles, and teenagers were getting entrepreneurial with a Super-Soaker. On the hottest day of the weekend the festival itself provided an industrial effort misting station, a essentially spraying people down for hours on end. It was very effective and much appreciated.
Gonzo heat aside Pickathon delivered on just about every count. Food: Pine State Biscuits for Breakfast and Bunk Bar For Dinner? Oh Snap! Music: War On Drugs, THEESatisfaction and Thee Oh Sees among others made nearly every set I witnessed a winner. Shovels and Rope and Lake Street Dive both brought down the house. Notable bands played small stages and smaller bands played big stage. Atmosphere: Low key, but enough license and space was given to allow people to keep things going all night long. Official sets went late into the night and jam sessions of one and many were happening in campsites all over, all the time.
Note to self for next time: Show up early to get a prime campsite. And bring a hammock just in case. There will definitely be a next time.
Phil and Pickathon, getting ready for the weekend ::: photo courtesy of Pickathon
How many of you went to Hot 97′s Summer Jam?!?!
Just like a decent amount of you are probably scratching your heads, wondering what kind of preserve a “Summer Jam” is (“Oh, I think I saw that at PCC on Sunday!”), I am doing the same as it relates to Pickathon.
I’ve only heard what rumors were brought to my attention. All that I have felt and seen has been second-hand.
When it comes to music festivals, I read names, I scour press releases but rarely do I check out what the artist actually sounds like. Gentle readers, you may think I am failing you as a “music writer,” but I am merely just setting myself up for the slow bump and grind of disappointment or the potential minuet they call a pleasant surprise. The ironic cliche of expecting the unexpected is what the live music experience is all about. I fully expect to be both disappointed and elated by consternation this weekend.
Despite all the things that remain unknown heading into this weekend, what I can tell you about Pickathon is that if you miss an artist the first time, there’s a pretty good chance you can catch them the next day at a different stage. For instance, Typhoon, White Denim, Heartless Bastards, Thee Oh Sees and many more are performing on both Friday and Saturday. There’s also a dozen or so musical acts that are performing both Saturday and Sunday. Then there’s the War on Drugs skyrocket’s in flight, afternoon delight who are performing every 11 minutes throughout the weekend. They are taking the term burning the midnight oil to a new level.
If you want the official schedule without any hint of sarcasm, you can click here.
My expectations for my first Pickathon are levied by my embryonic experiences at Sasquatch and Doe Bay Music Festival. In other words, I forecast great things. If I am doing a minuet alone all weekend, you’ll be sure to hear about it in an unfiltered fashion.
I’ve been admiring Pickathon from a far for years. Living vicariously through friends stories of “the perfect festival”, drooling over photos on Flickr and cursing the fact that it is always scheduled the weekend before Doe Bay Fest. This year I decided I wanted to admire all Pickathon has to offer up close, scheduling conflicts and back-to-back music festivals be damned. So next weekend I’ll be making my first trek to Pendarvis Farm for Pickathon and I have to say, its the festival I’ve been most looking forward to all summer.
And that’s not just because it’s the new one, the one I haven’t been to yet, but because the solid line-up featuring diverse genres from hip hop to Americana to zydeco to old-timey string bands to rock and roll, the chance to see artists multiple times in different settings throughout the weekend, to explore the Pickathon ethos of low impact and low stress, and to deduce if I really am burned out on banjos.
Based on the festival’s website and my interactions with the folks running it, it would seem that Pickathon is a festival run right. The site features a streaming playlist of all the artists playing, giving you an easy chance to listen and discover more than the big names on the line-up. Thanks to the playlist, my schedule expanded greatly from seeing the six or seven bands I knew I wanted to see three times during the weekend to a chance to discover all kinds of new favorites. And beyond the music and importantly for a remote music festival, the directions sent to attendees about parking, camping and other random festival details is exhaustive.
I’ve included my full planned schedule below, but wanted to point out a couple of the events I’m most excited to see. Thanks to the Pickathon playlist, I can’t wait to catch a couple sets by The Wood Brothers (Sunday from 5 to 6pm at the Mt. View Stage), Reverend KM Williams (Friday from 2:45-3:30 at Fir Meadows and Saturday from 1 to 2pm at the Galaxy Barn), Lonnie Walker (Friday from 7 to 8pm at the Galaxy Barn and Sunday from 1:30 to 2:30 at the Woods Stage) and Midtown Dickens by starlight on Sunday. I’m eager to check out a couple of Pickathon’s famous barn workshop events and just to see sets at stages with names like The Woods, Starlight Stage, Fir Meadow and Galaxy Barn. Then there’s the chance to see some of the biggest names of the summer festival season in an intimate setting — like Block Party Headliner Neko Case, Sasquatch show-stealers The War on Drugs and non-stop tourers, Dr. Dog. I haven’t even stepped foot on the festival grounds, and I’m already ready to declare Pickathon my new favorite festival. We’ll have to wait and see if it lives up to my high expectations.
Make your plans for August 3-5, because our friends at Pendarvis Farm have put together another stellar line-up of foot stomping, hand clapping, feel-good tunes for this year’s Pickathon. Just announced today, the 2012 festival will feature sets from headliners Neko Case and Dr. Dog, as well as folks like The Cave Singers, Bowerbirds, Sonny & the Sunsets and much more.
Tickets go on sale today and with a line-up like this and Pickathon’s unique setting with barn workshops, hidden stages in the woods and nothing short of rave reviews from everyone who’s ever been, I know I’ll be buying mine.
Neko Case, Dr. Dog, Kitty, Daisy & Lewis, Blitzen Trapper, Vieux Farka Toure, Heartless Bastards, The Wood Brothers, Phosphorescent, Hot 8 Brass Band, The Cave Singers, Handsome Furs, Abigail Washburn, Cass McCombs, Sonny & The Sunsets, Langhorne Slim, Alela Diane, AA Bondy, The Barr Brothers, Laura Gibson, Bowebirds, White Denim, Typhoon, The Mynabirds and more.
An early contender for local festival line-up of the year: Pickathon 2011. The annual festival celebrating indie roots music is held on an 80 acre farm in Happy Valley, Oregon and this year’s line-up boasts diverse acts such as Mavis Staples, Fruit Bats, Damien Jurado, Vetiver, Sonny & the Sunsets, Bill Calahan, Laura Veirs, AgesandAges, The Builders and the Butchers, and Cahalen Morrison & Eli West. The festival will be held August 5-7th this year and it is definitely worth the road trip.
Here’s the full line-up thus far:
Mavis Staples | Bill Callahan | Lee Fields & The Expressions | Califone | Thao | Fruit Bats | Vetiver | Damien Jurado | The Sadies | Danny Barnes | The Builders and The Butchers | Laura Veirs | Future Islands | Brownout | The Wilders | Richard Swift | Elliott Brood | Pine Leaf Boys | Sonny & The Sunsets | Whitey Morgan and the 78′s | Old Sledge | Mike + Ruthy | Bruce Molsky | AgesandAges | Charlie Parr | Pokey LaFarge | The Black Lillies | Strand Of Oaks | Rock Plaza Central | The Buffalo Killers | Ted Jones And The Tarheel Boys | Joy Kills Sorrow | Old Light | Truckstop Darlin’ | Cahalen Morrison & Eli West | Diane Ferlatte
Megafaun at the Triple Door ::: Photo by Josh Lovseth
Happening August 6th-8th at Pendarvis Farm near Portland, the 12th annual Pickathon has announced their first round of confirmed acts, and it’s already shaping up to be a great weekend.
Bonnie Prince Billy & The Cairo Gang (Sat, Sun)
Heartless Bastards (Fri, Sat)
Billy Joe Shaver (Fri)
Langhorne Slim (Sat, Sun)
Frazey Ford (Sat, Sun)
The Cave Singers (Fri, Sat)
T-Model Ford (Sat, Sun)
Black Prairie (Fri, Sat)
These United States (Sat, Sun)
Megafaun (Fri, Sat)
Richmond Fontaine (Fri, Sat)
Michael Hurley (Fri, Sat)
Roadside Graves (Sat, Sun)
Elliott Brood (Sat, Sun)
Stone River Boys (Sat, Sun)
Red Stick Ramblers (Fri, Sat)
Chatham County Line (Sat, Sun)
Cotton Jones (Sat, Sun)
Breathe Owl Breathe (Sat, Sun)
The Deep Dark Woods (Sat, Sun)
Black Lillies (Sat, Sun)
Casey MacGill’s Blue 4 Trio (Sat, Sun)
Foghorn Stringband (Fri)
Captain Bogg & Salty (Sun)
Martha Scanlan (Fri, Sat)
Seth Bernard and May Erlewine (Fri, Sat)
Jill Andrews (Sat, Sun)
Weinland (Fri, Sat)
Sallie Ford (Fri, Sat)
Frank Fairfield (Sat, Sun)
Water Tower Bucket Boys (Sat, Sun)
Town Mountain (Fri, Sat)
Woody Pines (Sun)
Known for its forested setting with multiple stages, camping, and hiking trails, Pendarvis Farm provides the perfect retreat. With Pickathon offering the unique opportunity of getting to know artists with multiple sets over multiple days. Together providing a weekend experience unlike anything else that can be found today.
Discount tickets and complete information are available via the Pickathon 2010 page, and more acts will be announced in the coming months. Oregon in summer is awful nice… Doe Bay Fest is the following weekend on Orcas Island…