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.
Here’s my full planned Pickathon schedule and here’s the full festival schedule. And p.s. if you want to attend Pickathon, but don’t yet have tickets, there are still weekend passes available and Sunday day tickets — but they’re only on sale until August 1st. (more…)