Top Things To Do This Weekend: July 18–21
Just about every music festival and artist you want to see is performing this weekend. Take a look at our picks to figure out your sonic and outdoors schedule.
PDX Pop Now
Fri from 7pm-1am, Sat-Sun 12pm-12am; East Bank Lot
Portland’s music scene has grown so raucously big that sometimes it’s impossible to keep up—which is why we collectively thank our Musical Maker every July when PDX Pop Now! rolls around. Not only is the all-local festival free, all-ages, and volunteer-run (making it still seem more like a recurring Portlandia pipe dream than a reality, despite entering its 10th year), but its eclectic lineup features a formidable cross-section of what’s going on right now. The 45 bands this year run the gamut, from literate, melancholy country rockers Richmond Fontaine to inventive metal ensemble Witch Mountain to the beguiling gypsy pop of Y La Bamba. Read our feature on the festival's 10th anniversary.
Sat at 12pm-Sun at 3pm; Portland International Raceway
Sure, keeping up with Portland’s roiling music scene can sometimes feel like a marathon, but the first-ever 8-Track Relay takes it to a whole new level. Curated by Mississippi Studios and Kink-FM, 8-Track will offer more than 20 of Portland’s best bands playing continuously for 24 hours, and the lineup includes Menomena, Blitzen Trapper, and Nurses. If that weren't enough, there’s also a 200-foot Slip ’n Slide and water park, free hourly yoga classes, food, a bonfire, camping, and a Fourth of July–worthy fireworks display. Which is to say, this is a field day for adults like only Portland could imagine.
Northwest String Summit
Thurs 6-11pm, Fri-Sat 12pm-1am, Sun 12-8pm; Hornings Hideout
Looks like another stellar lineup at the 12th annual gathering of pickers and pluckers, with Yonder Mountain String Band, Dave Grisman, and Leftover Salmon. Portland favorites Black Prairie (a Decemberists side project) will also grace the stage. Catch our sneak peek for what acts not to miss—not to mention our signature bluegrass/jam band name generator. (Need a name for your jazz-grass band? We've got you covered.)
Portugal. The Man
Thurs at 8; Crystal Ballroom
After exploding onto the national stage in 2011, Portugal. The Man has gained widespread recognition for their fusion of punk and the quintessential psychedelic pop of the 60's. The Portland-based band moves further into the "Beatlesque" and experiments with hip-hop in their new album, Evil Friends, produced by superstar music man Danger Mouse, out this month. Read our Q&A with lead singer John Gourley.
CLASSICAL AND JAZZ
Cathedral Park Jazz Festival
Thurs 4pm-12am, Fri 3pm-12am, Sat 12pm-12am, Sun 3pm-12am; Catherdral Park
For thirty-two years, the traditional free jazz concert in the park has brought thousands from all over the region without fail. Now, going into round thirty-three with new leadership, the festival has expanded into three elements: concert, engagement, and late show. The bottom line? You can still enjoy lots of the festival free of charge, but for certain events (Latin Jazz, Ezra Weiss, and the finale show, to name a few), you'll have to pay up in support.
Chamber Music NW Summer Festival
Thurs-Sun at 8; Reed College and St. Mary's Academy
This weekend promises two outstanding chamber music concerts, according to artistic director David Shifrin. The Voices and Virtuosity program (July 18) pairs world-class singers Sasha Cooke and Nicholas Phan with a series of musicians for compositions by Benjamin Britten, Hugo Wolf, and Felix Mendelssohn. In an evening of Artistry and Innnovation (July 20-21), Lowell Lieberman’s song cycle "Four Seasons" is inspired by the poems of feminist and Pulitzer Prize-winner Edna St. Vincent Millay. Read our full feature and guide to the festival.
Yoshida’s Sand in the City
Fri-Sat 10am-9pm, Sun 10am-2pm; Pioneer Courthouse Square
If you can't seem to get out of Portland metro to reach the coast, why not bring the beach to the city? Fifteen teams of would-be Frank Lloyd Wrights from local businesses will have just six hours to build their granular masterpieces in Pioneer Courthouse Square. The event also serves as a fundraiser for the nonprofit Kids on the Block Awareness Program.
Portland International Beerfest
Fri 4-10pm, Sat 12-10pm, Sun 12-7pm; Northwest Park Blocks
At this three-day festival, over 150 world-class beers from 16 countries will be on hand, hailing from all over the planet (many from right here in the Pacific NW). Soak up everything you love about Portland in the summer, as you stroll around the beautiful park with a cold one while music plays all weekend.
Portland Highland Games
Sat 8:30am-7:30pm; Mt. Hood Community College
The costumes are loud and so are the games at this celebration of Scottish culture, showcasing dancing, drumming, and the ever-popular caber toss. There will be whiskey tastings, Highland dance competitions, and, all-in-all, enough Scottish goodness to tide you over until next year.
Fri 7-9pm; Yale Union
A finalist for the UK’s most prestigious art award, the Turner Prize, Skaer has exhibited around the world, from the Venice and Berlin Biennials to the Centre Pompidou and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Working in sculpture, film, paint, and drawing, her incredibly eclectic projects have filled the Tate with drawings of a sperm whale skeleton—and the skeleton itself—created 26 slender sculptures from coal dust in the shape of Constantin Brancusi’s Bird in Space, and claimed to have left a live scorpion next to a real diamond on an Amsterdam street. We’re quite delighted, then, to ponder the question: what will she do with YU? Find out at the reception this Friday.
Northwest Dance Project: Pretty Creatives
Sat at 7:30 & 8:30; Northwest Dance Project Studio
Under the guidance of artistic director Sarah Slipper, NWDP presents the work of two emerging choreographers, Simone Orlando and Yin Yue, winners of the fifth-annual Pretty Creatives choreography competition. They will create works in just 18 hours with 29 dancers at their disposal, giving new meaning to the term “flashdance.”
Conduit Dance + 2013
Thurs-Sun at 8; Conduit Dance
Moving into its second weekend (with a new lineup), Conduit’s second annual curated series features eight artists and their projects, selected by a prestigious panel that includes Mary Oslund, Cydney Wilkes, and Margaretta Hansen. Linda K. Johnson, Jessica Hightower, and Kara Girod are among the participating artists.