The Waterfront Blues Festival returns to Tom McCall Waterfront Park this year 1-4. until July.
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Many of Oregon’s beloved music festivals will return this summer after an earlier break in the pandemic. OPB’s music director Jerad Walker recently joined OPB’s “Think Out Loud®” show to talk about the bands and artists he’s most excited to hear on stage as the weather warms up.
The Waterfront Blues Festival takes place from 1-4. July at Tom McCall Waterfront Park in Portland. The festival was canceled in 2020, and last year the organizers organized the lagging event in a different place than the traditional place. This year, it is back in full swing with keynote speakers such as the Taj Mahal and Grace Potter, and regional pillars that many people in the Northwest recognize, such as Curtis Salgado. Walker’s choice as the obligatory artist for this festival is the lesser-known Adia Victoria.
“It’s based in Tennessee and it just has an incredibly powerful and atmospheric Southern Gothic blues brand,” he said.
Next weekend, 8-10. July, is the Oregon Country Fair, which returns after a two-year hiatus.
“She’s the mother of all hip-dip festivals,” Walker said. “It was founded in 1969 and is firmly rooted in the countercultural movement of the late 1960s. It has an extensive program that includes everything from poets to dance troupes and circus actors, but music has always been central.
Walker says he is most excited to see the Portland band Sávila.
“This is a project consisting of well-known musicians in the Portland music scene: Fabi Reyna, Papi Fimbres, Brisa Gonzalez. They play dreamy, rhythmic, Latin music, ”said Walker. “Their latest release was strongly influenced by the sound of Oaxaca, a state in southern Mexico with a glorious and unique cultural tradition. It does not sound, taste or look like the rest of Mexico.
The Northwest String Summit will take place on 21-24. July. The festival will feature root and bluegrass music and will celebrate its 20th anniversary, which will also be the last of the festival. The festival attracts a wide range of fans with leading performers such as the Del McCoury Band, featuring the legendary 83-year-old second-generation bluegrass musician, as well as more modern-inspired bands such as the Yonder Mountain String Band.
Walker is looking forward to the Portland band Fruition.
“They’ve quietly become one of Oregon’s biggest bands in the last decade, almost entirely through their live performances, which are truly energy-rich, rooted, and fit into this truly stunning rock-and-role vibe,” Walker explained.
In two years, the Pickathon Music Festival will return to Pendarvis Farm in Happy Valley on 4-7 May. until August.
“I think it’s probably the most eclectic lineup that a state, perhaps even a nationwide, can find,” Walker said. “They have everything from bluegrass to hip-hop and metal. I’ve seen them all on Pendarvis Farm in recent years and the line-up is no different.
Margo Cilker, who has roots in Eastern Oregon, will be registered this year. But Walker says his best choice for Pickathan is hip-hop artist Sampa the Great.
“He was born in Zambia, grew up in Botswana, has spent time in the United States and now lives in Australia: a true world citizen. Simply put, he’s one of the most electric rappers in the world … and I’m so excited to see him live.
Walker also highlighted another international band, a group called Wet Legi from the Isle of Wight in England.
“They’ve just exploded into the rock landscape over the last year,” he said.
Other festivals to look out for this summer are the 29th and 31st. The Oregon Jamboree Country Music Festival at the Sweet Home in Oregon in July. Portland Hip Hop Week is 20-26. August and PDX Pop Now! is August 22-28. The latter is a volunteer festival that focuses on independent Portland musicians.
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