From the ’70s, we get our name. Vortex I: A Biodegradable Festival of Life was the only state-sponsored rock fest in American history. With the Vietnam War raging across the sea and President Richard Nixon scheduled to appear in town, Vortex I was a clever tactic implemented by then Governor Tom McCall and some hippies to keep the peace. It sought to avoid violent clashes between right-wingers and anti-war protestors, channeling that energy into a positive, creative place.
From the ’80s and the ’90s, we get our blueprint. Local rags Two Louies and The Rocket worked tirelessly to establish a tradition of local music journalism that built community and supported the region’s artistic ecosystem.
We started this magazine because we were inspired by our creative community—and the belief that there’s so much incredible talent here that simply deserves a wider audience—and in turn, we have reflexively inspired.
Back in 2016 alongside promoter J-Fell Presents, Vortex began hosting quarterly educational panels on booking, licensing, touring, social media and much more. This informational forum—good for learning new skills, discovering resources and networking with the Portland music community—has now effectively become an integral part of MusicPortland’s monthly First Monday meetups, an impressive gathering of local musical minds and industry pros plus speakers sharing their insight and expertise.
A year ago, we sought out all the Portland-made instruments and gear we could find for our Maker Issue, highlighting the innovative, world-renowned manufacturers who are developing and building elite musical products in our own backyard. A photo shoot was clearly not an adequate experience for all of our area’s players because this fall we’re proud to present the inaugural MusicPortland GearFest—the physical embodiment of the stories you saw on these pages. But better because this time it’s hands-on.
And this summer, it’ll all come full circle. Fifty years after those 100,000 hippies descended upon Estacada’s Milo McIver State Park, a group of influential organizers are set to stage Vortex2020 in August on the very same grounds as the original festival—but with a fresh statement of our community’s values: unity, kindness, historic awareness and stewardship of our precious public lands.
And if it does, now is the time to turn that inspiration into action so the fertile grounds we cherish now can continue for decades to come. Pay it forward and participate. Your actions today may just be inspiration for future generations.
Chris Young Editor-In-Chief