Die-hard Portland music fans might say the pandemic isn’t really over until Bekathon returns.
Well, the epidemic no During. But into summer 2022, as with nearly every festival, tour, and venue, the show should go on. After being canceled in 2020 and not booked at all in 2021 (unlike many major festivals), Pickathon is back at Pendarvis Farm in Happy Valley on August 4-7 (it will air in its entirety for the first time).
This year, the big names on the label are Valerie June, Wet Leg, GZA & The Phunky Nomads, with a lineup that also includes returning favourites (Hurray for the Riff Raff, Mike and Moonpies), recent touring artists you might have missed at home (Faye Webster). , Jasmine Williams), and plays a new show from Newport Jazz Festival and/or Lollapalooza (Nate Smith + KINFOLK, Nubya Garcia, Goth Babe).
And that’s not all. There’s also Oregonians (Margo Cilker, Kassi Valazza, Mariachi Tradición), DJs, art installations, the usual complement of food and drink (take out those reusable mugs!), things for kids, and a live version of the podcast. Chapo Trap House.
It’s been a tough few years for Bekathon – and not just because of COVID-19. There was little backlash over the initial shortfall in refunds for 2020 (these sums were eventually granted a year later, with the help of federal aid and lobbying efforts #SaveOurStages). And in 2019, two tree fans died while dismantling a Bekathon stage, which led to a manslaughter and negligence lawsuit against the festival and five other companies.
“We’re trying to learn how to organize a festival again,” says Bekathon co-founder Zal Schoenborn. “And I think on top of that, organizing a whole new festival.”
All Pickathon veterans know that if you ever have a chance to see someone at the Woods Stage, this is the one to pick. As Schoenborn points out, the rustic, woodland grove was built by nature, while the festival’s other outdoor theaters (Mount Hood, Trillian) just tried to bask in nature.
This year, Pickathon has actually been restructured, with a new layout of “Neighborhoods” spread across Pendarvis Farm. Designed by artists and architects from Portland State University, Green Anchors, Skylab Architecture, and McFadin Design, among others, the neighborhoods offer more open space and flow, as well as greater opportunities for shade.
“I think for anyone who’s ever been to the Picathon, it’s going to be familiar, because you’ve been to Pendarvis Farm,” says Schoenborn. “But it will be completely new.”
One thing hasn’t changed, even during COVID: the feeling that the pace of development in Happy Valley will one day end the festival. Schoenborn says he believes and hopes that the Picathon can continue for at least another three to five years. But if epidemiological life has taught us anything, let’s not count on anything… and always go to the show.
“I think it’s safe to treat any year of the picathon as a possible last year,” says Schoenborn. “You just don’t know, right?”
Paddock, 10 p.m. Friday, August 5.
Were you there when the Wet League debuted in Portland in Vitalidad in March? Nope, because the British duo got so big and fast that they were taken to the Wonder Ballroom and sold out entirely.
Paddock, 12 a.m. Friday, August 5; Corner, 9:30 p.m. Saturday, August 6; Cherry Hill, 9 p.m. Sunday, August 7.
Pickathon DJ El Toro (formerly of KEXP and now on KXCI in Tucson) is especially excited to see this British jazz band, especially since they just announced on Instagram that they will “close this chapter of the band’s life for the foreseeable future.”
Galaxy Barn, 9 p.m. Friday, August 5; Woods Theatre, 5 p.m. on Sunday, August 7.
Cherry Hill, 11 p.m. Thursday, August 4; Lucky Barn, 4 p.m. on Saturday, August 6th.
If your favorite Pickathon groups are the likes of Ty Segall or The Cairo Gang, then Nebraska garage psychic god Nance is who you want to see this year. Then you also get Nance and his bandmates performing allegorical fireworks behind gorgeous Philadelphia singer-songwriter Rosalie.
Paddock, 12 a.m. Saturday, August 6; Woods Theatre, 11 p.m. Sunday, August 7.
Schoenborn, DJ Stonebani and Nico Vergara of Bicathon’s food vendor Nico Ice Cream are mentioned by Australian rapper, writer and producer (via Zambia and Botswana). “It just fascinates me, because she can play all the music live,” Schoenborn says. “It looks like it’s been dubbed and produced, but it pretty much lives on.”
The peoples of Garcia
Galaxy Barn, 5 p.m. Saturday, August 6; Grove, 4 p.m. Sunday, August 7.
Not to be confused with Garcia’s birthday squad from Portland, these New Jersey jerks should cheer up your dead uncle… as well as fans of Sun Ra, Superwolves, or Blitzen Trapper. Very similar to Pikathon in general!
he goes: Pickathon runs at Pendarvis Farm, 16581 Hagen Road, Happy Valley, pickathon.com. 4-7 August. Weekend tickets $390; Kids ages 13-16 and under $195 and 12 and under free. One-day tickets are $195 for Saturday or $170 for Friday or Sunday. Live broadcast in frqncy.live/pickathon. $14.99 – $29.99.