written by Bronte Dod | photo by Jason Charme
The return of summer means the return of the best music festivals in the Pacific Northwest. Put these festivals on your calendars now and start planning your summer road trips.
Sasquatch! Music Festival
Though it’s not in Oregon, the Sasquatch! Music Festival is one of the largest annual music festivals in the Pacific Northwest. Held in George, Washington, the outdoor festival is about a four-hour drive from the Portland-metro area. Since 2002, the festival has drawn thousands of people to the Gorge each Memorial Day weekend. Five stages host a constant stream of musical acts, from hip-hop and EDM to indie rock bands and singer-songwriters. The festival line-up this year includes Alabama Shakes, The Cure, Florence and the Machine, Lord Huron, Nathaniel Rateliff and the Nightsweats, M83 and more. A four-day pass is $350 and gets you into all the shows during the festival. Sasquatch! generally attracts a young audience, most of whom camp on site.
May 27-30, 2016 | sasquatchfestival.com
4 Peaks Music Festival
Family friendly and small-scale as far as summer festivals go, this string-band-filled weekend of music is a festival experience worthy of the peak title. The views don’t disappoint either. With a panorama of snow-capped vistas from the camping and stage areas, this Central Oregon gem is the epitome of live folk and jam music. In the lineup this year are Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Poor Man’s Whiskey and Jackie Greene. If last year’s grass-stomping shows and late-night campsite jam sessions are any indicator, this year’s festival is bound to gain even more momentum.
June 16-19 | 4peaksmusic.com
Willamette Country Music Festival
Held in Brownsville each summer, the Bi-Mart Willamette Country Music Festival brings national country music acts to Oregon for a three-day event. This year, Miranda Lambert, Florida Georgia Line and Cole Swindell will be performing. If you decide to stay for the whole festival, there is a campground available on site. Brownsville is a small town with buildings still standing from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The festival is an all-ages event that features the latest in country music. Weekend passes start at $150.
August 12-14 | willamettecountrymusicfestival.com
Britt Music and Arts Festival
What started as a classical music festival in 1963 has grown into a festival that includes a variety of musical acts, as well as a fine arts showcase. The highlights of the season are the classical music orchestral concerts, which are held on an historic Southern Oregon estate for three weeks during the evenings and performed by musicians from around the country. The location near Jacksonville—which holds a maximum of 2,200 people—fosters an intimate atmosphere. Peter Britt, the namesake of the festival, was a Swiss photographer who immigrated to Jacksonville in 1852 when the town was in its gold rush boom. His extensive photograph collection chronicling the region is a permanent exhibit at the Southern Oregon Historical Society. Jacksonville is consistently listed as one of Oregon’s best small towns and is an ideal place for a weekend getaway.
Performance dates to be determined | brittfest.org
Waterfront Blues Festival
Founded in 1987, the Waterfront Blues Festival has raised almost $10 million for the Oregon Food Bank. The lineup for this year hasn’t been released yet, but big names from the past have included the Greg Allmann Band and Macy Gray. The festival is held along the waterfront in downtown Portland, and it’s common for Portlanders with boats to claim their listening spot on the water. Festivalgoers also have one of the best views for the Fourth of July firework display on the Willamette River.
July 1-4 | waterfrontbluesfest.com
For three days in August, some of the biggest artists and bands from around the country will be in Portland for MusicfestNW. The mainly alternative festival is an all-ages event that draws the largest crowd of the Portland music festivals. Last year’s headliners included Foster the People, Beirut and Modest Mouse. The festival will also have Portland’s best restaurants and food carts on site. Three-day passes start at $140 and day-of tickets start at $45.
Late August | musicfestnw.com