Pickathon Will Stay at Pendarvis Farm for the Next Decade

The Happy Valley music festival has secured a conditional use permit to remain at its longtime location.

Pickathon 2022. (Allison Barr)

After years of controversy and pandemic-related struggles, Pickathon has secured a conditional use permit to stay at its longtime location, Happy Valley’s Pendarvis Farm.

“This permit passing allows us some stability to wrestle the very irrational beast of Pickathon into being sustainable,” Pickathon founder and executive director Zale Schoenborn tells WW.

During an evening session at Happy Valley City Hall on Feb. 27, the Happy Valley planning commission voted to renew the permit, allowing Pickathon to stay at the location where it first set up shop in 2006.

“We wanted to really engage in the city and see if they wanted this. You can sneak conditional use permits through in a lot of ways—put up a couple signs, hope people don’t open their mail,” Schoenborn says. ”We took the opposite approach.”

For Schoenborn, the permit is about more than ensuring that Pickathon has a home for the next 10 years. He plans to start a nonprofit to support the creation and construction of the unique “neighborhoods” that the festival is divided into—and hopes to transform Pendarvis into “some sort of cultural conservation district.”

“This is an umbrella for us to start dreaming about preserving Pendarvis Farm,” Schoenborn says. “The Pendarvises have lived there since the ’40s. They’re finally in a place where they’re open to some development ideas, especially if it’s led by us.”

In celebration of the announcement, Pickathon will make a limited number of reduced-price tickets for the 2024 festival available at 9 am on Thursday, Feb. 29.

“I kind of think we’re going to have our tentacles everywhere in a couple years,” Schoenborn says.

Related: Pickathon Returns to Happy Valley (and the Internet)

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