It might seem counterintuitive, but MusicfestNW isn't only about watching a bunch of bands. There's also breakfast sandwiches to eat, local art to admire and humanitarians to support. It's not so much that the music won't be enough. It's just important that you realize—in full—the awesomeness of this festival. Here are eight non-concert events to look for during the two-day weekend:
Get your yolk on: At MFNW, you won't find the typical, fried festival grub. Instead, you'll see some of Portland's favorite food carts. Arriving early? Get a pesto fried-egg sandwich for breakfast from the Southeast Portland's Fried Egg I'm In Love. In the mood for lunch? Perhaps a garbanzo bean salad sandwich from Bunk Sandwiches will do. Is Haim's throwback pop-rock making you nostalgic for your childhood? Grab a grilled cheese with a cup of tomato soup from Grilled Cheese Grill.
Music for introverts: The website calls it the "most talked about and freshest of dance party experiences." Though that seems a little extravagant for a "headphone disco," it's not hard to understand the appeal. A live DJ plays for you, and the only way to hear the music is through a pair of headphones. If you're still not convinced, you can try it out at MFNW. Through both days of the festival, five "silent" DJs will spin inside a large tent that will also have a water station, phone chargers and free Kind bars. You can sit down and relax to the beat, or dance to the rhythm—company not required.
Clothes for a cause: Don't let the name fool you. Krochet Kids is a serious clothing company. It's not about clothes so much as it is about empowering women who live in poverty-stricken parts of the world. The company offers jobs, education and mentorship to women from countries such as Uganda and Peru, with the long-term goal of helping them find a sustainable career path. Krochet Kids will sell handmade pieces at MFNW, with up to 85 percent of the proceeds going toward programs dedicated to supporting women via fair-market wages and education.
Put a label on it: For the first time, you can express your love for MFNW by purchasing festival merchandise. Buy a hat as a souvenir, get your mother a shirt for her birthday or take home a silk-screen poster, so you'll never forget this weekend—not that you ever could.
Where art and music meet: Local author Matt Wagner's book The Tall Trees of Portland is a primer to Portland's vibrant visual-arts scene—a scene that will be on full display at MFNW. In conjunction with Old Town's Hellion Gallery, 16 local artists—all featured in Wagner's book—will showcase their work. They include new pieces made specifically for the festival, among them alternative album covers based on the bands playing this weekend. It'll be interactive, too: Over the course of the weekend, the artists will use a temporary wall to collaborate on a mural.
Dreams of cream: How are you going to satisfy that sweet tooth after a grilled cheese sandwich? You're going to get free ice cream, duh, courtesy of your favorite hippie friends, Ben & Jerry's.
Rest those hands: Sometimes, you just need a massage, especially after being on a dance floor for hours. The folks at MFNW feel your pain. That's why Kiehl's, a local skin-care shop in business since 1851, will offer free hand massages and facials to VIP ticket holders. This isn't Neutrogena fluff, it's quality exfoliation.
A market of posters: Just in case you haven't yet satisfied your artsy side at MFNW, you'll also have the opportunity to buy original concert posters created by local artists. Grab a commemorative poster of Wolf Parade by Joanna Wecht, or Gary Houston's hand-drawn screenprints of Willie Nelson and Family. According to artist Mike King, this is the perfect opportunity for "music fans, art lovers and other weirdos to purchase original concert posters and gewgaws direct from the creators." His only advice? "Bring money."