Chris Funk's Favorite Moments of Pickathon 2010
Pickathon is a music festival located just outside of my town, Portland, Ore. It feels like you stepped onto what I’d always pictured Neil Young’s farm circa Harvest to be like, but with a view of Mt. Hood.
I have been hearing great things about the event for years, and finally my band Black Prairie was booked to play the “indie roots” festival, as it’s billed. Because it was more or less a hometown show, we decide to join the masses, “go big," and camp out.
The camping at Pickathon is about as good as it gets. There is the option to car camp in the fields, or, hike into the 80 acres of classic mossy fern Oregon forest that the Pendarvis Farm family owns, which we opted for. Again, it was amazing how relaxed the event staff was with camping in comparison to the hundreds of other festivals I’ve been too, not the usual tent on top of tent festival fare. Basically anywhere you could lay a tent in the woods was fair game, amazing!
Usually after (often, ahem, before) I play, I just sort of end up in the beer garden. However, the booking so resembled my iPod that I found myself running from stage to stage, or just standing at one as act followed act.The great part of this festival is if you are booked to play, you have to play more than once, and beyond the “big stages” you will definitely play a small one; either the “Galaxy Stage,” which is a small barn where the music goes until 2:30 a.m., the “Woods Stage,” which is as it sounds, or the “Workshop Barn” where folks can ask questions or just listen. This also creates an atmosphere where all the musicians booked are just hanging around the farm all weekend instead of rushing off to the next city.
This event is the first weekend of August every year. You should make it your priority to come to the great state of Oregon next year.
Mr. Funk’s Top 11 Pickathon Moments:
1. Michael Hurley, and the fact the merch booth was selling his prints for cheap!
2. The Fruit Bats in general, and jamming with Eric from Fruit Bats during our set and beyond.
3. The Red Stick Ramblers, my labelmates at Sugar Hill that I sadly had never heard until that night, watching thousands dance to their Louisiana-influenced twin fiddle music.
4. Langhorne Slim tearing it down in the barn until almost 3 a.m.
5. Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy at the Woods Stage.
6. The Heartless Bastards asking Black Prairie to “super jam” with them on stage.
7. Frank Fairfield. I literally followed him around. I had never heard him and I am completely taken with his music and persona.
8. The Punch Brothers. So many notes, so many good new songs.
9. Blue Giant, who sang a song with Black Prairie.
10. Dr. Dog, who played their asses off in the barn until the weeee hours as well. I had never seen them, and their guitar made me feel like I was on mushrooms.
11. The general laid-back vibe of the farm and the great attention to this some how not only being an event where real party hounds can stay up all night with music, but also families can find something to do with their early risers starting at 8 a.m. with quality activities for kids. I somehow did both, I’m still beat, and with that I bid you good night.