Every time it looks like Pickathon is about to go big, something reins it back in.

In 2016, it certainly seemed like Portland's biggest little music festival was approaching a tipping point. In terms of prestige, the lineup was its heftiest yet, and it showed in the turnout. Pickathon has never had trouble drawing people to the woods of Happy Valley. As you'll often hear, it's all about the experience, man, not who's playing. But last year was the first time where it felt like the festival might be on the verge of outgrowing not just its location, scenic Pendarvis Farm, but its own humble ambitions.

A year later, Pickathon was back to being Pickathon again. Whether it was the heatwave or the upcoming eclipse festivities siphoning off attendees, the crowds returned to a more manageable level. And while the bookings also returned to the mean, the moments that make the festival what it is—the experience, man!—were bountiful. Swedish psychedelic maestros Dungen live-scored a 1920s animated film under a moonlit sky. Dinosaur Jr. shredded so loud it threatened to crack the trees shading the Woods Stage in half. Young acts like Priests and Tank and the Bangas played breakthrough sets to audiences that never saw them coming. On a personal level, maybe you took a weed nap under a glowing geodesic cube, or waited in line for pie behind Robyn Hitchcock.

It won't actually stay like this forever, of course. Nothing good does. But for now, it remains one of Portland's truest pleasures. Enjoy it while you can, and save your cynicism for tomorrow.

The view at the Mt. Hood Stage. (Sam Gehrke)
The view at the Mt. Hood Stage. (Sam Gehrke)
Cat Hoch. (Sam Gehrke)
Cat Hoch. (Sam Gehrke)
Cat Hoch. (Sam Gehrke)
Cat Hoch. (Sam Gehrke)
Black Milk & Nat Turner. (Sam Gehrke)
Black Milk & Nat Turner. (Sam Gehrke)
Black Milk & Nat Turner. (Sam Gehrke)
Black Milk & Nat Turner. (Sam Gehrke)
Black Milk & Nat Turner. (Sam Gehrke)
Black Milk & Nat Turner. (Sam Gehrke)
Billy Strings. (Sam Gehrke)
Billy Strings. (Sam Gehrke)
Billy Strings. (Sam Gehrke)
Billy Strings. (Sam Gehrke)
Big Thief. (Sam Gehrke)
Big Thief. (Sam Gehrke)
Anna & Elizabeth. (Sam Gehrke)
Anna & Elizabeth. (Sam Gehrke)
Anna & Elizabeth. (Sam Gehrke)
Anna & Elizabeth. (Sam Gehrke)
Charles Bradley. (Sam Gehrke)
Charles Bradley. (Sam Gehrke)
Charles Bradley. (Sam Gehrke)
Charles Bradley. (Sam Gehrke)
Ex Cult. (Sam Gehrke)
Ex Cult. (Sam Gehrke)
Dungen live-scoring “The Adventures of Prince Achmed.” (Sam Gehrke)
Dungen live-scoring “The Adventures of Prince Achmed.” (Sam Gehrke)
Drive-By Truckers. (Sam Gehrke)
Drive-By Truckers. (Sam Gehrke)
(Sam Gehrke)
(Sam Gehrke)
Dori Freeman. (Sam Gehrke)
Dori Freeman. (Sam Gehrke)
Dinosaur Jr. (Sam Gehrke)
Dinosaur Jr. (Sam Gehrke)
(Sam Gehrke)
(Sam Gehrke)
Y La Bamba. (Sam Gehrke)
Y La Bamba. (Sam Gehrke)
Xenia Rubinos. (Sam Gehrke)
Xenia Rubinos. (Sam Gehrke)
TYuS. (Sam Gehrke)
TYuS. (Sam Gehrke)
Ty Segall. (Sam Gehrke)
Ty Segall. (Sam Gehrke)
Ty Segall. (Sam Gehrke)
Ty Segall. (Sam Gehrke)
Tank & the Bangas. (Sam Gehrke)
Tank & the Bangas. (Sam Gehrke)
Tank & the Bangas. (Sam Gehrke)
Tank & the Bangas. (Sam Gehrke)
Robyn Hitchcock. (Sam Gehrke)
Robyn Hitchcock. (Sam Gehrke)
Priests. (Sam Gehrke)
Priests. (Sam Gehrke)
Priests. (Sam Gehrke)
Priests. (Sam Gehrke)
The view at the Woods Stage. (Sam Gehrke)
The view at the Woods Stage. (Sam Gehrke)
Mic Capes. (Sam Gehrke)
Mic Capes. (Sam Gehrke)
(Sam Gehrke)
(Sam Gehrke)
(Sam Gehrke)
(Sam Gehrke)
Mandolin Orange. (Sam Gehrke)
Mandolin Orange. (Sam Gehrke)
MAKU Soundsystem. (Sam Gehrke)
MAKU Soundsystem. (Sam Gehrke)
MAKU Soundsystem. (Sam Gehrke)
MAKU Soundsystem. (Sam Gehrke)
The Last Artful, Dodgr. (Sam Gehrke)
The Last Artful, Dodgr. (Sam Gehrke)
Kelsey Waldon. (Sam Gehrke)
Kelsey Waldon. (Sam Gehrke)
Jay Som. (Sam Gehrke)
Jay Som. (Sam Gehrke)
Jalen N’Gonda. (Sam Gehrke)
Jalen N’Gonda. (Sam Gehrke)
(Sam Gehrke)
(Sam Gehrke)
(Sam Gehrke)
(Sam Gehrke)
Mic Capes. (Sam Gehrke)
Mic Capes. (Sam Gehrke)

What's your favorite thing about Pickathon? Mic Capes: "The diversity of genres of music and the hospitality."

Luz Elena Mendoza. (Sam Gehrke)
Luz Elena Mendoza. (Sam Gehrke)

Who are you most excited to see? Luz Elena Mendoza: "Ty Segall and Tank and the Bangas. I wanted to see Charles Bradley last night, and Dinosaur Jr. for freakin' sure!"

(Sam Gehrke)
(Sam Gehrke)

Do you drive or camp?  "Camp! To be able to fall asleep next to my son while Dungen was playing in the background last night was really surreal and great. It's good to just be able to wake up and go. Plus driving sucks!"

(Sam Gehrke)
(Sam Gehrke)

What is your favorite thing about Pickathon? "It's our fave 'cause everybody's really nice, open and giving. It's like a really friendly Coachella."

(Sam Gehrke)
(Sam Gehrke)
(Sam Gehrke)
(Sam Gehrke)
(Sam Gehrke)
(Sam Gehrke)

Who are you most excited to see? "Charles Bradley for sure.  His outfits are incredible. Last night he looked like a disco ball!"

(Sam Gehrke)
(Sam Gehrke)
(Sam Gehrke)
(Sam Gehrke)
(Sam Gehrke)
(Sam Gehrke)
(Sam Gehrke)
(Sam Gehrke)
(Sam Gehrke)
(Sam Gehrke)
(Sam Gehrke)
(Sam Gehrke)
(Thomas Teal)
(Thomas Teal)
(Thomas Teal)
(Thomas Teal)
(Thomas Teal)
(Thomas Teal)
(Thomas Teal)
(Thomas Teal)
(Thomas Teal)
(Thomas Teal)
(Thomas Teal)
(Thomas Teal)
(Thomas Teal)
(Thomas Teal)
(Thomas Teal)
(Thomas Teal)
(Thomas Teal)
(Thomas Teal)
(Thomas Teal)
(Thomas Teal)
(Thomas Teal)
(Thomas Teal)
(Thomas Teal)
(Thomas Teal)
(Thomas Teal)
(Thomas Teal)
(Thomas Teal)
(Thomas Teal)
(Thomas Teal)
(Thomas Teal)
(Thomas Teal)
(Thomas Teal)
(Thomas Teal)
(Thomas Teal)
(Thomas Teal)
(Thomas Teal)
(Thomas Teal)
(Thomas Teal)
(Thomas Teal)
(Thomas Teal)
(Thomas Teal)
(Thomas Teal)
(Thomas Teal)
(Thomas Teal)
(Thomas Teal)
(Thomas Teal)