Most music festivals begin innocuously enough, but by the end they can feel like a hellish prison you'll never be able to escape. The first six hours were fun, but now you're tired, sunburned and can't seem to escape the smell of raw sewage.
But the festival experience doesn't have to be punishing, and the Oregon coast's first annual 'Stackstock aims to prove it. Taking place in the quaint coastal tourist town of Cannon Beach, the event's all-Portland lineup—headlined by the Decemberists' Colin Meloy, with local indie-pop staples Ages and Ages, Pure Bathing Culture and more filling in the undercard—is aimed more for post-summer, pre-fall relaxation than drunken debauchery.
Willamette Week caught up with 'Stackstock organizer Alicia J. Rose to discuss the festival's lineup, why seeing live music in outdoors is so special and why a laid-back music festival experience is so much better than the other option.
Willamette Week: Why Cannon Beach?
Alicia Rose: ['Stackstock founder Ryan Snyder] owns the Surfsand Resort, the Wayfarer Restaurant and the Stephanie Inn, all in Cannon Beach. It's been his dream for years to have a music festival there. He's got this fantastic green space that we're using as the event space called Haystack Gardens. He's been salivating trying to figure out a way to put a rad little music festival there. There's never been a music festival or anything like it on the coast, ever.
What's the draw of seeing music in a beautiful landscape as opposed to the sweaty bars in which we usually see live music?
I love the sweaty, small clubs. [But ] there's something magical about being near the ocean. We're really blessed to have that here in Oregon, and I think the appeal of the festival is getting to wander through Cannon Beach.
What was the intention with staying local? Did you consider pulling in a big out-of-towner at first?
In the beginning, there were a few names being bandied around like Neko Case and Jeff Tweedy. But at the end of the day, keeping the lineup wholly local gave it this beautiful, hometown integrity. What we've got going on in Portland is really special. The scene here is amazing—we don't necessarily need outside talent to do something spectacular.
What demographic were you hoping to appeal to here? Was this designed for the older person who doesn't want to deal with 20-year-olds on molly and also wants to be home at a reasonable hour?
We definitely weren't trying to specifically target or exclude anyone. We're pretty inclusive with our MO. In terms of the style of music and appeal, I think "yacht rock" came out of [festival coordinator Kate Sokoloff's] mouth a few times. And I kind of like that there's a kinder, gentler music fest that's still going to rock, but it's going to be fucking beautiful. It's not going to be punishing, it's going to be inviting.
SEE IT: 'Stackstock is at Haystack Gardens, 148 E Gower Ave., Cannon Beach, on Saturday, Sept. 23. 1 pm. $40 general admission, $150 VIP. All ages. See stackstockfest.com for complete schedule.