[STRING JAM] When you’ve curated your own three-day festival for more than a decade, you’re somewhat expected to headline at least one night—or in the case of Colorado’s Yonder Mountain String Band, all three. But just because the bluegrass icons are the only band poised to take the stage at least three times at the 2014 Northwest String Summit doesn’t mean they’re the only outfit of note. This year’s lineup includes big-name mainstays like Greensky Bluegrass and Railroad Earth, along with a refreshing return of many Pacific Northwest acts. Polecat, with its brushed percussion and occasionally reggaefied nostalgia, is returning for a midday slot, along with the keen Americana of Portland’s Fruition and the stupendous interplay of the Wood Brothers. While the haunting harmonies of Shook Twins and the up-and-coming Gipsy Moon round out the notable late-night sets, the Lil’ Smokies—winner of last year’s String Summit band competition—and the flat-picking fervor of Burle and the No-Brainers break up the midday lull. Elsewhere, you have groups like the Infamous Stringdusters—a band known to touch on Middle Eastern influences while throwing in the occasional U2 cover—pushing beyond purist notions of what defines a “traditional” sound. Other standout moments are bound to include fiddler Allie Kral and ace mandolinist Sam Bush. But String Summit isn’t about the names, it’s about the camaraderie. And when you have four dedicated stages and more than 35 bands, you can expect plenty where that came from.
SEE IT: Horning’s Hideout, 21277 NW Brunswick Canyon Road, North Plains, 647-2920. Thursday-Sunday, July 17-20. See stringsummit.com for ticket prices and complete schedule. All ages.