In Living Color: Pickathon 2010
Filed under: In Living Color | Posted by: jody
Since I couldn’t make it up to Portland’s Pickathon this year (aka my favorite music festival in the country…seriously, it broke my heart), When You Awake reader Tim Marvin was gracious enough to share his experiences and photos from the fest with us. Check it out below. Thanks Tim!
What happens when you mix hippies, hipsters, hillbillies and a strong showing of cowboy boots? Apparently, Pickathon. Having sworn off festivals about seven years ago- too much money, too many people, too far from the stage, and the whole stinky shitters problem – the rumors of Pickathons past wore away at me to try one more time, but I was still skeptical.
Just outside of Portland, Ore. on Pendarvis Farm, with camping in the woods and a lineup including some of the best indie roots music in the country-, I finally broke. Still, I swore if one dreadlocked kid with a pit bull asked me for money to bail their friend out of jail I would be out of there faster than a Frank Fairfield banjo roll. Thankfully, the closest thing I saw to a pit bull was someone from the farm riding a horse bareback – Hell Yeah.
The folks at Pickathon 2010 did it pretty right, living up to the rumors. I would have been happy just seeing Bonnie Prince Billy and Frank Fairfield playing multiple sets – I figured that anyone who was hip enough to put those two on the same bill had my musical tastes nailed to the door – but with six stages throughout the farm, Pickathon managed to hit just about every genre of roots music.
Though to be honest, when folks built a stage in the woods among old growth trees, they sealed my fate as to who I would be catching. I didn’t move from my hay bale in front of the Woods Stage on Saturday where things started off quirky and whimsical with the Saturday Morning Cartoons by the Cardboard Songsters. The laid back vibe in the woods seemed to give the artists an easy feeling too as Frank Fairfield heckled Blind Boy Paxton from the audience to which Paxton responded by announcing the title of his next album, “Songs That Make White People Uncomfortable”.
Bonnie Prince Billie sat around watching Little Wings play a wandering magical set. Megafaun blew everyone away when they left the stage to come play a couple of acoustic ditties in the audience. During Bonnie Prince’s set, me and some new pals got communal on a watermelon and had a nice talk about the swarms of ladies that came to see Langhorne Slim. That night as we wandered through the lit trails, we came upon Frank Fairfield and the fellas from the Dust Busters (I believe) picking in the parking lot. I also caught Michel Hurley three times, once in the woods, in the barn, and one more time in another barn- really that guy is a treasure.
Fact is, you could plop yourself down anywhere at Pickathon and see someone worth looking at twice. Artists walking through to catch other artists and, of course, the cavalcade of style. Seriously, I have seen fewer Wrangler shirts and pretty girls with boots on at the rodeo. People looked good, really good. As one particularly lovely lady put it “Seeing all these people dressed to the nines makes me wish I left my boyfriend at home.” The photos with my crappy digital camera don’t begin to do them justice, so just go next year and see for yourself.
The downside of any good festival is that you are bound to miss out on some great bands and moments, and I was bummed to not catch These United States or a full set of Breathe Owl Breathe.
Talking to folks wandering through the woods or reclining on a hay bale, I heard the same thing from everyone: what a great vibe Pickathon brought out. Reasonably priced food, free water, composting, $4 decent beer that you had to put into a Kleen Kanteen cups instead of plastic. They even thought to put the beer line in front of the music – genius. Add all that to trails wandering through some pretty Oregon forest and Pickathon created a peaceful easy feeling – pretty fucking wonderful.
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