Summer Festivals 4

Hit the Road for Some Family Fun!

As the temperature begins to rise and the final school bell rings, one thing is on everyone’s mind; vacation! Thoughts of packing up the family cruiser and hitting the open road race through our collective heads as we try not to forget the necessary travel items. Our destination is one of the many festivals currently being organized for our listening and viewing pleasure.

Gone are the Woodstock days of hitchhiking to a muddy open field with 100,000 of your hippie friends. Today’s festivals cater to the whole family while pairing eclectic music lineups with kid-friendly activities and magical locales. On the following pages are some festivals—music, art and theatre—to help you plan your summer vacation.


4 Peaks Music Festival, Tumalo
(June 16-19)
Each summer solstice weekend, the folks at 4 Peaks Presents—aka Stacy Totland and over 100 volunteers—transform the Rockin’ A Ranch into a family-friendly musical playground. Totland’s desire to bring the festival experience to Central Oregon has led her to book some of the top bands in the jamband, bluegrass and blues scenes. While mom and dad dance to their favorite artists, the children are off safely enjoying the kids area, complete with everything from face painting to ukulele lessons. Two stages alternate bands for the four days. Food carts, a beer tent, vendors and a photo booth round out the 40-acre site, all under the watchful eye of the Cascade Mountains. This year’s lineup includes Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Jackie Greene and Poor Man’s Whiskey. Grab your tickets fast as last year’s festival sold out.

Pickathon, Happy Valley 
(August 5-7)
Pickathon’s diverse lineup has garnered it one of the most eclectic music festivals around. This year’s lineup—anchored by Jeff Tweedy, Yo La Tengo, and The Easy Leaves—will prove to be no different. Their eco-friendly environment is well-known, complete with a long list of camping and other lodging options. Arts and other activities fill the farm’s woodsy areas. Kudos to Pickathon for encouraging biking to the festival by setting bike-friendly routes from NE and SE Portland.

Telluride Bluegrass Festival, 
Telluride, Colorado 
(June 16-19)
This 43-year-old mainstay always attracts the top bluegrass pickers and Americana songwriters in the country to the majestic San Juan Mountains.

Kate Wolf Festival, Laytonville, California (June 23-26)
Set on the beautiful 150-acre Black Oak Ranch, the Kate Wolf Festival has four stages of music, ranging from mellow to spiritual. The kids will enjoy the circus camp known as Winnarainbow.


Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF), Ashland (February – November)
The gold standard in west coast Shakespearean festivals, the not-for-profit OSF has been delighting audiences since 1935. Three stages—the indoor Angus Bowmer Theatre and Thomas Theatre, and their flagship outdoor Allen Elizabethan Theatre—offer up 11 different plays. Inspired by the theatre and William Shakespeare’s works, but also showcasing other classic writers, the OSF has something for everyone. Make sure to catch some plays, as well as backstage tours, park talks and workshops.

Leavenworth Summer Theatre, Washington 
(July – August)
The Bavarian-themed locale of Leavenworth provides the perfect backdrop for The Sound of Music. This year’s summer theatre also hosts quality performances of Singing in the Rain and Beauty and the Beast. Each of the three stages—Ski Hill, Hatchery Park and Summer Festhalle—are unique settings for the classic plays. Add to that the town’s natural surroundings and you have a perfect family getaway.

Want some Shakespeare, but don’t want to travel?

Shakespeare in the Park, Bend 
(August 19-20)
Set on the banks of Mirror Pond, in Downtown Bend’s Drake Park, Grant Turner will direct the Bard’s The Tempest. Watch as sorcerer Prospero creates a storm in one of Bend’s most iconic spots.


Oregon Country Fair (OCF), Veneta 
(July 8-10)
This non-profit—which began in 1969 as a benefit for an alternative school—takes on a life of its own each July. The annual three-day festival draws festival-goers from across the country. Performers—musical and artistic—set up shop on the multiple stages or simply wander the grounds for attendees’ enjoyment. Jugglers, stilt walkers and girls with flowers in their hair provide the colorful backdrop to the natural landscape. OCF definitely meets its goal of creating an “event and experiences that nourish the spirit, explore living artfully and authentically on earth, and transform culture in magical, joyous and healthy ways.”

Art in the High Desert, Bend 
(August 26-28)
If you’re feeling like a staycation, but still want to check out world-class artists showcasing their efforts, head down to the Old Mill District for Art in the High Desert. Now in its ninth year, the juried fine art and craft show weekend is ranked 12th in the nation for Fine Art Fairs by the Art Fair Sourcebook 2015. Set along the banks of the picturesque Deschutes River, Art in the High Desert celebrates individual artists while allowing art-lovers and collectors to meet the creators while wandering from booth to booth.

A couple out-of-town art festivals.

Gig Harbor Summer 
Art Festival, 
(July 16-17)
The 32nd running of this popular art festival sets approximately 120 fine artists and crafters along historic Gig Harbor. Festivities also include live music and a literary corner for authors and illustrators.

Union Street Festival 
San Francisco, California 
(June 4-5)
Now in its 40th year, the Union Street Festival features technology, local exhibits, crafts, health and fitness, and the immensely popular fashion show.