Ed. note: Pickathon is a weekend-long festival held at the Pendarvis Farm in Happy Valley (!!!), Oregon located just outside Portland. The main intention of the festival is to provide three days of great music, which was definitely accomplished this year through the inclusion of Feist, King Tuff, Yellowbirds, Pure Bathing Culture, Sharon Van Etten, Andrew Bird, Ty Segall, Kurt Vile and the Violators and many more. Apart from playing host to some solid tunes, the outdoor festival also features a pretty excellent backdrop; on top of THAT, one of the organizers’ goals is to maintain a level of sustainability by eliminating all plastic, and by cutting down on single use items. SO, despite being located across the country, the incredible lineup, unique setup AND the lucky coincidence that our photographer Carrie and her dad were free to cover it made us say, “Okay, Pickathon. We are coming for you.” And so, without further adieu, here is what the Walters family had to say (and see) about the festival:
Words by Dave Walters, Photos by Carrie Walters
It’s hard to say enough good things about Pickathon, the three day music fest presented in a beautiful forest setting outside of Portland, Oregon.
The food, the facilities, the stages, the sound, the people, even the weather was near perfect.
And then there was the music. While it tended to slant toward Americana, folk and country, there were enough rockin’ acts to keep me happy.
I hadn’t even heard of the festival or most of the performers but it’s vacation time and part of the fun was spending time with my darling daughter Carrie.
After orienting ourselves on Friday (getting our Pickathon stainless steel cups for the $4 beer) we enjoyed short sets from Jessica Pratt and a fantastic Irish folk band called I Draw Slow before getting to one of the bigger stages for a nice set by Yellowbirds. Then it was over to the more club-like seting of the Galaxy Barn for a great show by Pure Bathing Culture including a cover of the Mac’s “Dreams”. Terrible name, good band. Then it was back outdoors for a psychedelic show from White Fence before heading back to the Woods Stage for Andrew Bird. Nice but one can only take so many violin solos.
Saturday was set up for some of the bigger acts and was consequently more crowded. Making a special effort we got there early enough to rock with King Tuff’s power trio. Then over to the Woods Stage for our shuttle bus companion Sharon Van Etten who was plagued by technical difficulties. These were solved by Ty Segall with a blistering acoustic set (two acoustics, basic drums, electric bass) featuring a great cover of Love’s “Live and Let Live.” Then it was time for Feist. Her highness wouldn’t allow photography or people standing near the stage and her pretentious Joni Mitchell inspired stuff is just not my cup of tea.
Fortunately we got back to the big stage for an arena rock set from Divine Fits complete with smoke and lights. Then Kurt Vile entertained with some inspired guitar and even brought in a saxophone for a little color. Finally it was 1:00 A.M. and time for the band I wanted to see, Parquet Courts. After a few sound problems, they blazed their way through the entirety of “Light Up Gold” and one cover I didn’t recognize.
Sunday was steamy hot and it seemed most everyone was a little tired. Most of the acts played twice over the three days so Sunday we again saw Kurt Vile, Sharon Van Etten, an incredibly disappointing showcase set from Parquet Courts and a full out stadium show from Feist (Fred Armisen appeared to be a fan of both Parquet Courts and Feist). My favorite of the day was local band Builders & Butchers who were filling in for the injured Foxygen. We also saw a workshop show from Howe Gelb of Giant Sand featuring Sonic Youth’s Steve Shelley on drums!
By midnight I couldn’t take any more soundchecks, band set-ups or beat-up guitars (Willie Nelson would’ve been proud). I went home. But again, a great experience.