Pickathon on Pendarvis Farm outside Portland was everything a music festival needs to be. The bands were on point and every band seemed to be followed up by an equally impressive one, and the after hours partying throughout the farm made this a festival experience like no other. The site was beautiful and the woods were well maintained and lush. Camping was comfortable and the shade allowed for plenty of sleeping in. The lineup was so good that even the artists spoke of how stoked they were to see each other and were often seen at other shows in between one of the two sets they played over the weekend. At the bar there was an impressive selection of beers and ciders all local and affordable at $5 a pint. The food selection was equally impressive and affordable, especially Pine State Biscuits’ breakfast options and Boke Bowl’s pork sticky buns. Here are some highlights from the festival:
The Heartless Bastards played an intimate set at the beautiful Woods Stage, which is uphill in the campgrounds and made from the fallen branches of nearby trees. Their second show was packed into The Galaxy Barn where they enjoyed a much more high energy and sweaty crowd. Lead vocalist Erika Wennerstrom showed a dynamic range and gave an impressive performance both nights.
The English psychedelic rock band has been active for nearly a decade and this was their first appearance at Pickathon. The only band to play three sets over the weekend (the rest played two) Wolf People did much to impress. Their sound was heavy, loud, and showed elements of jam band-like improvisations while they created a high-energy show.
Dripping Springs, Texas resident Israel Nash was one of the highlights of the weekend for many people. Nash and his band played a late night set on the Starlight Stage that was loud, but not too loud, and they played many of the songs from their album Rain Plans. They were one of the bands that could be seen around the farm all weekend checking out other shows.
A Giant Dog
Austin, Texas was represented well and A Giant Dog’s front woman Sabrina Ellis used raw sexual energy to tantalize the crowd. The band played heavy rock with elements of garage post-punk and their main stage set caused a buzz all weekend.
Kamasi Washington’s saxophone playing was powerful, emotional and groovy. His first world tour after releasing his album Epic kicked off in Seattle the day before Pickathon started and his band is already hot.
Summer Cannibals are a local band led by two stunning ladies who energized the crowd. Their songs were heavy garage rock and the band looked to be having a lot of fun on stage. Both sets were high-energy and tons of fun.
One of the most crammed sets at The Galaxy Barn, Ty and his band played heavy psychedelic rock. Erika Wennerstrom from Heartless Bastards was seen cramming her way into the side stage and said she was a huge fan of his. His second show at The Woods Stage was a different experience entirely in the open woods; another reason the two set requirement is great for artists and fans alike.
Cloud Nothings closed the festival with their set at The Galaxy Barn. They play heavy psychedelic rock with fast beats and loud guitars. Playing first on the main stage and last in the big barn were both great locations for this band and their closing show led to plenty of hung-over energy to party the last night away.
Pickathon at Pendarvis Farm has happened every summer since 1999 and it is easily one of the most modern and intelligent music festivals in the country. The festival’s diverse lineup and beautiful location make it one of a kind, and the venues approach to sustainability and cleanliness are the way of the future. Never have I seen a festival with so little trash left over, something that other festivals should learn from. The festival is run by a huge group of volunteers and there is an unmistakable family vibe that makes the place feel like home. That combined with the friendly and welcoming attitudes of the production team and you have one of the most comfortable festivals out there.
Additional reporting by Jonathan Marti.