Pickathon Celebrated 20 Years in Rustic, Magical Style
Pickathon 2018 was poised to raise the bar in one way or another, even though it was already pretty high. But for its 20th birthday, the little festival that could did again, and in the same rustic, crowd-pleasing fashion as it has since it made the fateful jump from Horning's Hideout to Pendarvis Farm in 2005.
Cherry-picking highlights from the festival lineup is a relatively innocuous approach to recapping something as balanced in every regard as Pickathon is—though it’s not difficult to get giddy about sets from such wonderfully diverse artists as DakhaBrakha (Ukraine), Tinariwen (northern Mali), Bee Bee Sea (Italy), Kikagaku Moyo (Japan), or Jen Cloher (Australia) from outside the U.S.; or to stand in awe of mind-bogglingly fantastic sets from the likes of domestic crews such as Pickathon vets Lost Bayou Ramblers, Bedouine, Circuit Des Yeux, Sheer Mag, Wand, or Portland's Haley Heynderickx, John Craigie and Rasheed Jamal.
But as those who’ve been attending the festival will attest, it isn’t merely the prospect of discovering new music in an intimate setting, or even brushing shoulders with the artists as they take in the coziness of the festival unencumbered by any notoriety that emerges as Pickathon’s most endearing quality. It’s the obvious passion and the care that every minute detail is addressed with, from the excellent food cart options, to the copious shade points, to the DJs, to the trippy inflatable lighting in the woods and everything in between.
Because to experience Pickathon you sort of have to become one with the whole thing—as corny as that may sound. If you allow it to, Pickathon is the kind of experience that swallows you and allows you to hang out inside its weird innards for four whole days, with the heaving shade fabrics above the Mt. Hood Stage across the open field of the main bowl of the farm expanding and contracting like lungs, or something else alive, breathing. If you’ve ever walked through the dark trails at night and heard the echoes of the last set of the night from the Woods Stage as rays of light explode from the middle of nowhere and an unseen crowd screams into the black night for one more song and you smile to yourself, you know what I'm talking about.
Suffice it to say, then, that Pickathon 2018 was, by virtue of the inevitability of evolution (and a whole lot of elbow grease), the fest’s best year yet, and that had a lot to do with some of the artists pictured in these photos. It also had help from a lot of community, love and magic.
Alright, now who needs a shower?
See you next year! —Ryan J. Prado