written by Stirling Myles

What is the perfect recipe for a good festival? Sure, a good music festival needs to have artists you like. A great mixture of active ingredients that create a cohesive, powerful experience is a good start. The next consideration is the location—a travelable, comfortable setting is the easy part in Oregon, as there are so many beautiful places to choose from. Yet the key ingredient in a good festival is really the magical element that creates the temporary yet intense community bond formed with your temporary neighbors.

Here are eight Oregon festivals that not only have some of the most exciting national and local lineups this year, but bring together the celebration of community and music.

Which one stands out to you?

Northwest String Summit

When: July 17 – 20

Where: North Plains

Max Attendance: 4,500

This festival just gets better with age. Now in its 13th year, a whole wealth of acclaimed bluegrass bands are taking over beautiful Horning’s Hideout. What started as an intimate festival amongst friends has now grown into a wider community. This year’s lineup is shaping up to be their best. Festival goers get three nights to see the likes of national acts Yonder Mountain String Band, Railroad Earth and Greensky Bluegrass. Local Oregon acts are making a strong showing and include Fruition, The Shook Twins and World’s Finest. Tickets start at $145 and are quickly selling out; grab them at stringsummit.com

PDX Pop Now!

When: July 18 – 20

Where: Portland

Max Attendance: 5,000

For the past ten years, PDX Pop Now! has taken the meaning of “it takes a village” to a whole new level. Put together as a nonprofit with an entire of team of volunteers, this festival is curated by the community, for the community. Feeling more like a party, PDX Pop Now! continues to provide music to the masses in the most inclusive way—by making this an all ages event and completely free. Check out the incredible lineup of talented, up-and-coming local acts at pdxpopnow.com

Wildwood MusicFest

When: July 18 – 20

Where: Sheridan

Max Attendance: 1,000

Things are kept simple at this festival, and that’s exactly how the promoters want it. A single stage gives every band a chance to revel in the same spotlight. There’s room for everyone here. Nestled in the small town of Sheridan, this three-day festival has a lineup of some of the best Americana acts around. Nationally-known Larry & His Flask will headline, backed by a dense lineup of amazing Oregon bands including Hillstomp and Otis Heat. Camping is encouraged. Tickets start at a reasonable $79, and your money goes to the bands and the hard work that went into the festival, and as a bonus, it’s also going to charity. Local charities benefitted include The Tina Miller Youth Center and The Friends of Family Farmers. wildwoodmusicfest.com

Oregon Jamboree

When: August 1 – 3

Where: Sweet Home

Max Attendance: 13,000

Deep in the Cascade Mountains, the Oregon Jamboree has turned into the best-kept local secret for country music. Hosting a lineup of huge names including Tim McGraw, Jake Owen and The Railers, the festival continues its vision of intimate experience. Starting at $150 for all three days of music, pack your bags and bring a tent. More info at oregonjamboree.com


When: August 1 – 3

Where: Happy Valley

Max Attendance: 7,000

In this rustic festival, you will get to see some of the best music being made. Period. And all in a barn right next to the resident sheep. Pairing together dusty Americana with edgy indie-rock, this has turned into one of the most special local festivals taking place in Oregon. With an emphasis on the environment, no plastic is allowed, and Kleen Kanteens are available for the entire experience. Here’s your chance to camp at beautiful Pendarvis Farms and watch nationally renowned bands like The War on Drugs, Jolie Holland and X,along with local bands including Ural Thomas and The Pain and Blind Pilot. More info can be found at pickathon.com

Bi-Mart Willamette Country Music Festival

When: August 15 – 17

Where: Brownsville

Max Attendance: 13,000

For Oregon, this might be the best chance to see some of the biggest names in country music. It looks like Nashville has taken over the state for a couple of days. With an extensive lineup including Blake Shelton, Eric Church and Gary Allan, the BMWCMF is shaping up to be something fierce. More info can be found at willamettecountrymusicfestival.com

MusicFest NW

When: August 16 – 17

Where: Portland

Max Attendance: 10,000

Portland’s premiere festival is switching things up a bit. Changing from the format of having bands play in different venues across the city, everything is now consolidated at Tom McCall Waterfront Park. For two days on two stages, indie and dance tastemakers such as Girl Talk, Haim, and Future Islands will play along with local legends Spoon and Shy Girls. Another year, another amazing lineup of Northwest music. More info at musicfestnw.com

Mad Decent Block Party

When: September 20

Where: Eugene

Max Attendance: 5,000

Some of the most innovative electronic acts will be sharing one stage in September. All hosted within the confines of Cuthbert Amphitheater, edgy acts like STRFKR, Diplo and Big Gigantic will be making Eugene shake. More info at maddecent.com

Now the question is, where will you be during these festivals and what dance moves will you be brushing up on?

Stirling Myles

After growing up in Denver and attending Naropa University in Boulder, Stirling left the mountains of Colorado and nestled himself within the trees of the Pacific Northwest. He has called Oregon his home for the past seven years. Firmly rooting himself in Portland, Myles has established himself as a musician, promoter and music writer for IQ and 1859. When not at the office, he is typically touring and playing shows with his band Alameda, or venturing to the Coast for intense sessions of Tuvan throat singing. 1859_july_oregon_music_festival_9