Our Picks for Portland’s Best Music Festivals This Summer

Get your sunscreen and earplugs ready.

Project Pabst 2023 (adam guy)

We’re entering the season when people go all out to maximize their time absorbing vitamin D and shorts weather before the rains return. Summers are meant to be savored, and for many of us, that means partaking in the ritual of attending music festivals. While Portland’s festival and event outlook was initially sluggish on the post-pandemic landscape, these days there’s no shortage of eclectic fests both big and small to add to your summer calendar. Whether you’re chasing big acts, supporting local talent, or looking to discover something entirely different and new, there’s an experience for every taste in these festival picks.

Dead Guy Music

Rogue’s Eastside Pub, 928 SE 9th Ave., 503- 517-0660, rogue.com/rogue-eastside-pub-pilot-brewery. Friday–Sunday, June 7–9. $25.

Rumor has it that PDX Pop Now is planning to make a triumphant return later this summer, but in the meantime your best bet for diving into Portland’s diverse local music scene may be at the inaugural Dead Guy Music Fest put on by Rogue Brewery and the Portland Radio Project. Each day features a different theme, with hip-hop and R&B on Friday, rock on Saturday and bands with members under the age of 20 on Sunday. Acts like free-flowing R&B and rap artist Lady Dreamer, chill-pop sensation Kid Indigo, psych-meets-shoegaze act Sneaker Wave, breezy folkster Anna Diem, and droning rockers Supplemental Pills are among the many acts you can catch, while there will also be a vendor marketplace by PDXchange to peruse between sets. It’s usually a good thing whenever a new festival comes onto the scene, and at $25 for a weekend ticket, what do you have to lose?

Shady Pines Music Festival

Camp Tasty’s @ McKinnon Airpark, 12960 SE Ten Eyck Road, Sandy, shadypinesradio.com/festival. Thursday–Monday, July 18–22. $150.

Portland’s favorite freeform streaming station Shady Pines Radio throws its own festival in Sandy at an old airport that has been revamped as a campout spot called Camp Tasty’s. The lineup reflects the station’s anything-goes approach to curation, with acts like indie-rockers Maita, blues-funk jammers The Quick & Easy Boys, psychedelic cumbia collective Orquestra Pacifico Tropical, old-school rock-’n’-rollers Family Worship Center along with a slew of mostly Pacific Northwest bands and DJs all coming together for a four-day marathon of partying. Since launching in 2020, Shady Pines Radio has done its best to embody the eclectic community spirit of Portland through its programming, and we can only hope that its eponymous festival brings those vibes to life this summer.

Project Pabst

Tom McCall Waterfront Park, 98 SW Naito Parkway, projectpabst.com. Saturday–Sunday, July 27–28. $115–$220.

First launched in 2014, the two-day ode to hipster swill was somewhat surprisingly discontinued in 2018 after the festival had expanded to other cities. Even with a mixed reception from those who feel our craft beer mecca shouldn’t be allowing big beer to throw a festival, it was hard to argue with how good the mega-lineups were that included Spoon, Ice Cube, Duran Duran, Beck, Ween, Tame Impala, and Iggy Pop. Now, Project Pabst is back from the dead with another lineup that does a fine job of mixing nostalgia acts like Billy Idol, rappers like T-Pain and Denzel Curry, and indie psych and folk from hot bands like Big Thief, Soccer Mommy and Dehd. Sure, tickets have gone up significantly ($65 a day in 2017 versus $115 this year) from the last Project Pabst, and you’ll likely have to knock back a few PBRs, but seeing such an impressive lineup return to downtown Portland is surely a sign that our city is coming back.


Pendarvis Farm, 16581 SE Hagen Road, Happy Valley, pickathon.com. Thursday–Sunday, Aug. 1–4. $195–$399.

The crown jewel of Portland-area music festivals almost didn’t happen this year after encroaching development threatened the viability of holding a large-scale event at bucolic Pendarvis Farm. Lucky for us, the people of Happy Valley listened to the community and renewed Pickathon’s permit, ultimately giving it the greenlight for 10 more years. Even though one can make an argument that Pickathon’s lineups are not as incredible as they were pre-COVID , you’d be hard-pressed to find a more well-curated festival aimed at taking attendees on a journey of musical discovery. The best part is, nearly every band plays two sets, so you rarely have to make schedule sacrifices. This year’s lineup features a slew of acts running from folk and bluegrass to jazz, hip-hop, indie rock, New Orleans brass bands, country and more. Add the fact that all of the food and beer are from local businesses and you have an experience that is unrivaled when it comes to fests.

Vanport Jazz Festival

Colwood Golf Course, 7313 NE Columbia Blvd., vanportjazzfestival.com. Friday-Saturday, Aug. 2–3. $65–$225.

In a nod to the rich yet tragic history of one of Portland’s most important Black neighborhoods and communities as well as the jazz scene that grew around it, the underrated Vanport Jazz Festival brings a small but mighty lineup of local and national talent to North Portland’s Colwood Golf Center each summer. What makes the fest so special is the way it balances classic jazz and fresh voices while often expanding beyond the confines of what we think of as jazz music. This year’s lineup includes hometown hero and musical powerhouse Esperanza Spalding, Grammy-nominated R&B artist Stokley, genre-bending saxophone player Najee, and jazz-pop fusionist Patrice Rushen.

Best Day Ever

McMenamins Edgefield Amphitheater, 2126 SW Halsey St., Troutdale, thebestdayeverfest.com. Saturday–Sunday, Aug. 10–11. $200–$250

McMenamins’ Edgefield venue in Troutdale is Portland’s go-to spot for big summer shows, and now it is being transformed into a two-day fest put on by local rap phenomenon Aminé (one of WW’s Best New Bands in 2017). In a reflection of Aminé's think-outside-the-box approach to rap music, the lineup is all over the map in the best kind of way. Alongside a performance by the man himself, you can catch prolific rapper and producer Kaytranada, progressive jazz outfit Badbadnotgood, chillwave icons Toro y Moi, and honey-voiced R&B artist Ravyn Lenae. This is the kind of event that captures the excitement of today’s hip-hop landscape—let’s hope it becomes a Portland tradition.

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