For music fans and performers alike, Pickathon feels like heaven. Every August since 1999, this annual gathering of artists and audiences at Pendarvis Farm has celebrated the summer with music and revelry.
Bands at Pickathon
The three-day festival on 80 acres just outside Portland attracts a range of indie, rock and rap artists as well as the bluegrass troupes that gave the event its name. Featuring six stages of music, 2018 acts included Built to Spill, Ezra Furman, Haley Henderickx, Rasheed Jamal and more.
Pickathon’s lineup is geared toward new music discovery; don’t worry if you haven’t heard of most of the artists — that’s half of the fun! The festival always releases a Spotify playlist so you can hear participating acts beforehand. And once you’re at the fest, Pickathon makes it easy to see all the artists you want. Each act performs two times over the course of the weekend at two different venues.
Camping at Pickathon
Attendees can choose between day tickets or weekend passes, which include camping at Pendarvis Farm. If you choose to camp (highly recommended!), you have a few options. With car camping weekend parking tickets, you can set up your tent right next to your car. RV camping is also available, as are a couple of “glamping” options that include tent and gear rental. Finally, general camping is available in the woods uphill from the main festival grounds. Because the ground is sloped, hammocks are a popular option.
Food at Pickathon
You can bring your own food to Pickathon (no outside alcohol), but with so many great local dining options, you certainly don’t need to. Each year, the fest features around a dozen food carts, most from Portland, serving a wide range of eats, from healthier options like salads and smoothies to festival favorites like biscuit sandwiches and pizza.
Attendees can tantalize their taste buds as well as their ears at the Pickathon Curation Series, a limited-seating dining experience that features multi-course meals prepared by lauded Portland chefs. In 2018, participants, included John Boisse and Lauren Breneman from Astral and Han Ly Hwang from Kim Jong Grillin’. Every meal is followed by intimate, special-guest musical performances from Pickathon artists. Check out the Pickathon Curation Series videos (sponsored by Travel Portland) for a taste of the magic.
Sustainability at Pickathon
In addition to an earful of tunes, the acclaimed festival is also sustainable summer fun. Eco-friendly transport makes getting to the event both convenient and good for the environment. In 2011, Pickathon became the first large outdoor music festival in the U.S. to eliminate single-use plates, cups and utensils, and each year promises to be even greener.
In practice, this means that you can bring your own cup (for the plentiful, free drinking water and tasty local beverages) and dishes and wash them on-site. Or do as most attendees do and purchase a stainless steel cup and a dish token. The token gets you a clean, reusable dish and utensils at any food vendor, and at the end of the festival, you can take them home as souvenirs of this unforgettable festival.