Have music, will travel
Well, you either missed the Sasquatch Festival over Memorial Weekend or you didn’t. Either way, not having that to look forward to is bound to drastically alter your summer music festival plans.
While there won’t be anything else coming through town with a lineup nearly as impressive, that may be for the best. After all, no one wants to actually stand around and watch bands play for 12 solid hours, so an airtight lineup serves no real purpose but to make you feel guilty about ignoring them while you lounge around the common areas, smoking doobies with your friends.
With this in mind, Seattle’s Bumbershoot, taking place over Labor Day weekend, is always a good choice, as the schedule generally provides a good four hours of downtime between anything worth your attention. This year’s lineup is bringing De La Soul, the Black Heart Procession and Wilco along with vast numbers of lesser acts, such as the Shins, has-beens like Donovan and a growing number of non-music events, such as the always-dependable One Reel Film Festival, a DJ/MC competition and a ‘zine-making workshop randomly hosted by Starbucks.
Despite the charm of Bumbershoot, a festival isn’t the same without some road-tripping involved, and what’s a drive to Seattle? That’s like eschewing the Plaid Pantry on the corner for the 7-11 down the street. A drive up to the Gorge in Eastern Washington is a little better, but for the serious festival connoisseur, a trip to the Midwest is in order.
This year’s Krazyfest, taking place over three days in beautiful Louisville, Ky., features nearly 40 bands, ranging from the metallic hardcore of Burnt by the Sun and the relentless thrash of Planes Mistaken for Stars to the bouncy retro-pop of Reggie and the Full Effect.
However, not everyone is willing to go to such great lengths for quality music. The Warped Tour, playing Portland on July 6, understands this and, taking a hint from Pizza Hut, realizes that mediocrity is perfectly acceptable as long as it is delivered to your doorstep. Tour veterans Rancid, who really grew beyond the narrow scope of Warped long before they were even a part of it, will be headlining along with some mid-’90s peers who have aged a bit less gracefully. The lineup on the subsidiary stages is a little more interesting, providing token “eclecticism” in the brilliant but severely misplaced Talib Kweli, whose subtle, poetic lyricism may be lost on the underdeveloped Warped Tour crowd, and Andrew WK, about whose performance I am content not even imagining the audience’s testy response.
A better idea than this festival would be to just go see Anatomy of a Ghost play the Meow-Meow some time, where the energy and charm of youthful punk rockers will be in full display without the accompanying specter of commercialism that pervades the Warped Tour experience.
After contemplating festivals as lifestyle-specific as the last two, it brings great joy to be able to introduce that which needs no introduction, Portland’s own Rose Festival.
Already in progress, the sprawling event, or series of events, as there seems to be no real logic to them being grouped together, continues through the summer, ending with the U.S. Women’s Open Championship on July 6.
During this time, events as disparate as the Portland-Kaohsiung Sister City Association Dragon Boat Races, featuring local, national and international teams, and the Key Bank Starlight Run, a 3.1-mile “fun-run” that doubles as a costume contest, take place.
While the official concert series provided by the festival’s promoters is a predictable drag, a quality soundtrack to the affair will be provided by performers at the World Rhythms Stage, whose influence may, hopefully, inspire main-stage acts like the Gin Blossoms (somehow claiming relevancy despite the absence of deceased singer/guitarist Doug Hopkins) and Emerson Drive to actually put some soul into their own performances or quit the game altogether.
New to the festival this year is the Wild Science Pavilion. Anyone who remembers what science was like before the introduction of mathematics ruined it for everyone should be sure to take their kids, nieces, nephews or whoever they are baby-sitting to this exhibit and enjoy the hands-on “edutainment” it offers.
After all, there will be plenty of summer to spend bored and tired at Ozzfest, Lollapalooza or whichever music festival best suits you taste, so you may as well spend one day with the family at the delightfully random festival that we call our own.