By Maddy Cristall
There is nowhere on this godforsaken rock quite like Pickathon, an independent music festival in Oregon. In the current Pacific Northwest climate the drug infused party is often the focus above the sea of uninspired electronic rebuttal. After 20 years strong it’s notable that the festival is consistently sustainable both environmentally and artistically.
Pickathon is 40 minutes outside of the ever evolving Portland, Oregon. The festival grounds are on a farm and Waldorf school ground appropriately called Happy Valley. The sounds of psych rock, folk music and R&B cascade throughout the paralyzingly beautiful area. The stages range from the notoriously stunning woods stage (made entirely out of an avalanche of branches) to the debaucherous and sweaty barn which contain country inspired relics from previous years (the only 21+ venue). The bars are thoughtfully placed throughout the area and offer Portland’s most cherished nectar of the gods. There is virtually zero waste, each plate for the local cuisine is compostable and recycling cans are available everywhere. There are explicitly creative kids practicing their craft in virtually every corner, nobody gets out of hand, people sit serenely in front of the stages and the musicians are astutely curated each year.
This year the highlights include Canadian legends Broken Social Scene, renaissance folk artist Shakey Graves, Japanese face melters Kikagaku Moyo, soul queen Jamila Woods and indie staples Built to Spill. The lineup also includes the innovative Toronto based singer-songwriter The Weather Station, the classic Blind Boys of Alabama, Tichumaren rock pioneers Tinariwen and Vancouver’s own Dopey’s Robe. Pickathon has been named the most “hipster festival on the planet”, but if supporting local business, independent artists and sustainability is hipster then we’re ready to get hip with the best of ‘em.
Pickathon Music Festival takes place August 3 to 5 at Pendarvis Farm in Happy Valley, OR