Whether you march to the beat of a marching band or an electronic one, prefer classical to classic or take your blues without the grass, Oregon has a music festival for you. Summer concerts across the state will help you get your groove on (writes Eileen Garvin).
With more than 90 musicians performing opera, symphonic and chamber music, the Astoria Music Festival (June 14-30) this year celebrates the bicentennials of classical greats Verdi and Wagner. Anyone who appreciates Astoria’s small town elegance can imagine listening to first-rate classical musicians in the art deco grandeur of the historic Liberty Theater.
Southern Oregon likes to throw its outdoor music party all summer long at the Britt Festivals (June 15-September 14) in Jacksonville. This year, the natural amphitheater on the estate of 19th century photographer Peter Britt will host superstars like Cyndi Lauper, Michael Franti, Chris Isaak and the Doobie Brothers.
For a down-home outdoor music party, there’s 4 Peaks Music Festival (June 21-23) at the Rocking A Ranch near Bend. Headliners include troubadours Greensky Bluegrass, Portland’s beloved MarchFourth Marching Band and northern California’s Poor Man’s Whiskey, offering what they call “high-octane hootenanny.” Fewer than 500 tickets are available for this intimate, family-friendly event.
NBC News wonders if the relatively new What the Festival (July 26-28) is the Woodstock of the Millennial Generation. Last year 3,000 people showed up for the inaugural electronic dance party in a meadow under starry skies. Expect hoola hoops, belly dancers, feathered headdresses, light shows, a pool party, interactive art (but please leave your fire-spinning tools at home, organizers ask). For 18-and-older only. (Venue: White River Canyon, some 100 miles east of Portland.)
The mountain town of Joseph will get the blues for the 17th year in a row with the return of the Bronze Blues & Brews Festival (Aug. 9-10). All ages are welcome at this family-friendly event held at the base of the stunning Wallowa Mountains. Sugaray Rayford, Albert Castiglia and Zac Harmon are among those rocking the stage, and Oregon craft brewers will do their part.
The little town of Brownsville will host some big names in country music for the Willamette Country Music Festival (Aug. 16-18). Powerhouse Carrie Underwood will grace the stage over the weekend along with singer songwriter Brad Paisley, named Academy of Country Music Male Vocalist five years running, and hit-maker Darius Rucker.
Multiple venues across the city of Portland get indie-rockin’ with the 13th annual MusicfestNW (Sept. 3-8), which Time Magazine included in its list of “50 Authentic American Experiences.” Past years have seen the likes of The Decemberists, Smashing Pumpkins and Iron and Wine. Experience the thriving indie-music scene in this city-wide festival.
For more information about top events in Oregon take a look at the Top Events USA selection of the annual main festivals and events in Oregon.