Khruangbin, Mandolin Orange and country singer Tyler Childers lead the bill for 21st annual event.
Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats will join Khruangbin, Mandolin Orange and country singer Tyler Childers in headlining the typically diverse bill for the 21st annual Pickathon festival, set for Aug. 2-4 near Portland, Oregon.
The 50-act bill also includes Lamb Chop, Lucius, Laura Veirs, Fruit Bats, Cedric Burnside, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Canadian Polaris Prize winner Lido Pimienta and more. The acts will perform at six stages set up on the grounds of the Pendarvis Farm in Happy Valley, Ore., where Pickathon drew 3,500 paid patrons last year — a far cry from the 90 or so that founder and executive director Zale Shoenborn estimates came to the inaugural festival in 1999.
“We don’t have a style we hold to or a particular sound that we have for this — we’ve been a little unabashed about that,” Schoenborn tells Billboard. “That approach was kind of an albatross for us as a festival to start with, but after awhile if you survive long enough it becomes strength.”
Shoenborn says Rateliff and company have been on Pickathon’s radar for a while, but this year “the stars aligned to finally bring him here — that goes with pretty much everybody in our lineup. The benefit of doing this festival for so long is a lot of big artists want to come now. It’s fun for them, different than the other festivals they get asked to play.” Nevertheless, the organizer says the most exciting part of putting Pickathon together is finding out “which ones will blow up into the next Future Islands or the next Sturgill Simpson. We do this as close to open-source as you can and get a lot of help finding these regional acts that a lot of people don’t know about yet.”
This year’s Pickathon will again mount custom designs on each of its stages as well as the existing buildings on the site, using locally sourced materials. The festival will also host special event pairings of artists and chefs for crowds of about 100 at a time (tickets will be sold separately), and footage from those events will be used for a TV show, according to Schoenborn. Leading up to the festival, meanwhile, Pickathon plans to post nearly 200 videos made by a group of more than 600 videographers and audio specialists.
Tickets and special packages are now on sale. Learn more at pickathon.com.