It’s an outdoor venue unlike any other: a grassy lawn, sloping down to a modestly-sized stage and band shell, with an elephant yard on one side and a red ape reserve on the other. For the past 35 years, musicians and fans alike have flocked to the Oregon Zoo each summer to revel in music, sunshine and friends — including those of the feathered and furry varieties.
The annual Oregon Zoo Summer Concert Series, which runs June–September, boasts a roster of artists as diverse as the park’s residents, which range from African bullfrogs to Visayan warty pigs.The 2016 lineup was especially impressive, with performances by legendary band Chicago, The B-52s, Flogging Molly, local favorite Pink Martini, Omara Portuondo and Eliades Ochoa of the Buena Vista Social Club, and Needtobreathe, among others.
2017 brings legends Pat Benatar, Natalie Merchant, John Prine and Echo & the Bunnymen, as well as the Midwest comedy and songs of Garrison Keillor, local Portland stars, Blind Pilot, Seu George performing an homage to David Bowie and more.
Shows start at 7 p.m., with access to the concert area at 5 p.m. Concert tickets also grant zoo access for the full day, so plan to visit the animals before the show. And whether you bring a picnic (no outside beverages) or enjoy the zoo’s selection of local food, beer and wine, be sure to fill up — after all, you wouldn’t want your stomach growling louder than the Amur tigers (or the bands).