PORTLAND, Ore. – Over the past 18 years, Pickathon has evolved from a small gathering of friends to one of the most critically acclaimed and sustainable music festivals in the country.

And it happens a stone’s throw from Portland, on rolling farmland in Happy Valley, Oregon.

This year, the 19th annual Pickathon festival returns with largely the same model as it had in the past couple of years, welcoming a few thousand people to Pendarvis Farm and bringing 60-odd bands, many of whom are poised to explode onto the music scene in the next year.

The festival this year also adds an additional sustainable element, as one stage will be turned into 30 sleeping pods for homeless residents.


You might recognize a few of the bands headed to Pickathon, like headliners Drive-By Truckers, Dinosaur Jr. and Charles Bradley, but the festival prides itself on introducing festivalgoers to relative unknowns. They tap experts around the country to help identify musicians on the verge of a breakout year.

“Musically, we’ve come up with the best music lineup we’ve ever had,” said co-founder Zale Schoenborn. “There are at least a dozen artists in this lineup that are going to become the next big thing.”

Keep an eye out for Brooklyn band Big Thief, New Jersey's Pinegrove and New Orleans act Tank and The Bangas.


Pickathon spends as much energy on keeping the festival sustainable as it does refreshing your Spotify playlists. The festival is virtually zero waste, utilizing compostable, reusable dishware, and Klean Kanteen steel cups for coffee, water and beer.

This year, they’re taking the sustainability initiative one step further by partnering with Portland State University’s School of Architecture to build a stage that will be deconstructed and reconfigured as sleeping pods for homeless people.

The PSU Diversion Design & Build Studio students conceptualized and built this year’s Treeline Stage, which sits on the edge of the woods on the festival grounds. This year’s stage is constructed of triangular wood trusses.

With the help of the city of Portland, Catholic Charities and local architecture firms, the trusses will be reconstructed as 30 sleeping pods at a temporary homeless village similar to the Kenton Women’s Village. The village will be located in Clackamas.

“It’s called diversion architecture,” Schoenborn said. “You can use it as something that can be reused in a different form.”

If you go:

Pickathon takes place August 3-7 at Pendarvis Farm in Happy Valley. Attendees can get weekend passes and camp overnight on the festival grounds or buy one-day passes. Kids 12 and under are free. Parking passes are available for $75, but organizers suggest biking or taking the festival’s EcoShuttle from Clackamas Town Center. To buy tickets, click here.

Can’t go?

Pickathon will be livestreaming performances online during the festival. Also, follow KGW on Twitter and check back on KGW.com next week for photos of this year’s event.