Pickathon has long been one of the most unique festival-going experiences—nestled among the trees on Pendarvis Farm in Happy Valley, it legitimately feels like summer camp—and in the last few years, the lineup has shifted to reflect that uniqueness. It hasn't abandoned its roots as a, um, roots music festival, it's expanded on them, making it unlike just about any other multi-day music gathering in the country. This year's lineup, released this morning, is maybe the most off-the-wall eclectic in Pickathon's 15-year history—and maybe the biggest, too. Here are the top six things that make it so awesome:

1. Feist

Honestly, I'm not a huge fan of Leslie Feist, but this is a major get for the festival—perhaps its greatest get yet—and anything that helps Pickathon attract bigger names to such a modestly-sized festival is good by me. And anyways, potentially seeing her amongst the intimate, one of a kind atmosphere of the Woods Stage, a la Neko Case last year, is something even a minor fan like me wouldn't want to miss.  

2. Divine Fits

Featuring onetime Portlander Britt Daniel and Dan Boeckner of Wolf Parade/Handsome Furs, who has his own connections to our fair city, it's a bit surprising the indie rock supergroup has yet to actually play here during its short existence. Unless the band books a local gig around the time of Sasquatch!, this'll be their first Portland-area appearance—and you can bet that late-night barn set will be killer.

3. More Garage Rock

After Thee Oh Sees absolutely slayed the Galaxy Barn last year with easily the best and most talked about set of the festival, Pickathon founder Zale Schoenborn seemed to make a concerted effort to book more tripped-out, high energy garage bands in the same vein, including Parquet Courts, King Tuff and White Fence. Expect to sweat.

4. Vieux Farka Toure

The son of late Malian guitar god Ali Farka Toure had to cancel an appearance at last year's Pickathon after his house in Mali was allegedly ransacked by thieves. He's bringing his psychedelic African blues back this year, and for a lot of people will be one of the festival's most pleasant surprises. 

5. Shabazz Palaces

Pickathon's embrace of hip-hop has been slow coming, but between THEESatisfaction being there last there and this year's appearance by fellow Seattle avant-rap visionaries Shabazz Palaces, at least it's starting at the fringes.

6. You Don't Know Half These Artists

Where most promoters book the same two-dozen buzz acts playing every other festival, Schoenborn grabs regional favorites and complete unknowns, and lets them play multiple times during the weekend, on several different stages, offering multiple opportunities for discovery. That's what make this a true festival for music lovers, and not just a bunch of stoned hippies with hula hoops—though there are plenty of them, too, and you'll probably exchange numbers with a few by the time the weekend is over.  

The full lineup as of now:



Andrew Bird

Divine Fits

The Devil Makes Three

Kurt Vile & The Violators

Sharon Van Etten

Shabazz Palaces

Sallie Ford & The Sound Outside

Vieux Farka Touré

Howe Gelb


The Felice Brothers

Tift Merritt

The Lone Bellow

Dale Watson


Wayne Hancock

Marco Benevento

Ginny Hawker

Parquet Courts

King Tuff

Breathe Owl Breathe

Lake Street Dive

Dirk Powell

Lightning Dust

Cedric Watson & Bijou Creole

JD McPherson

White Fence



Foghorn Stringband

Shakey Graves

Caleb Klauder Country Band

Bradford Lee Folk & The Bluegrass Playboys

I Draw Slow

Leo Rondeau

Malcolm Holcombe

Pure Bathing Culture

Sturgill Simpson

Old Light

The Cactus Blossoms

Pharis & Jason Romeo

Pickathon Squaredance with Caller Caroline Oakley



Diane Ferlatte

Cardboard Songsters

Cat Doorman

Circus Cascadia

Trackers Earth

Pickathon is Aug. 2-4 at Pendarvis Farm in Happy Valley. Check out this piece on the festival from Spin and this sweet promo video below: