Monday, June 23, 2008

The Absolutely Essential Summer Music Finder

Well, hopefully the title got your attention . . . though, I don't feel for a minute that any words written in any post on this blog are particularly essential to anyone. Okay, maybe occasionally useful . . . but mostly with a limited shelf life.

This one you might want to note and refer back to when you want to find outdoor music in Portland this summer. I am amazed that there are so many opportunities to hear great music almost every day at multiple locations . . . it really is all around us. So here's my attempt to give you a small set of links to help you find on any given day, incredible, wonderful music - outdoors and mostly free. We should feel very lucky, as there are few places in this country were there's this many choices.

Portland Parks & Rec Summer Music Series
Fourteen parks around the city will host music through July and August! Washington Park has two solid weeks of shows at the beginning of August. With a few exceptions, most of the artists at all of these shows are local. This amazing summer series would not happen without the local business sponsors, neighborhood committees, and the two part-time coordinators at Parks & Rec who juggle all the pieces. There are few better ways to spend an evening in Portland every summer.

Lake Oswego Summer Concerts
Lake O has four different free music series that you should check out.

Music on Main Street
The Portland Center for the Performing Arts presents eight weeks of free music on Wednesdays at 5 PM beginning on July 9th. If you work downtown (or even if not) this is a great way to get over the midweek hump.

Noon Tunes Summer Concert Series
This series in Pioneer Courthouse Square begins on Tuesday, July 8th. Music from noon to 1 PM, every Tuesday and Thursday until August 28th. Lunch al fresco with music!

The Doug Fir Lounge's Pickin' on Sundays returns for a 2nd year beginning on July 13 ... from 3-7 PM on the patio. Free music, intimate setting, great songwriters.

Cathedral Park Jazz Festival
In the shadow of the St. John's Bridge, this festival is in its 28th year. One more fine free event for the weekend of July 18-20.

Here's a few good choices for spending $$ for tickets:

Waterfront Blues Festival
Biggest music festival in Portland every summer - July 3rd through 6th . . . and the biggest fundraiser for the Oregon Food Bank. Bring a couple of cans of food and buy an amazingly reasonable ticket ($10 per day or $30 for a 4-day pass). One of the best run large music festivals you'll find anywhere - top notch talent and it just feels great to be there.

The Bite of Oregon
The schedule isn't posted yet, but always great music for only $7 per day. This year it will be held August 8th - 10th at Waterfront Park.

Farm Tunes at Kruger's Farm Market on Sauvie Island
Beginning on July 3rd, Thursday evening concerts with great local bands will "rock the crop" out at the farm. $10 per car or $50 pass for all nine shows. And I think you can bike in for free.

Tuesdays By Twilight Concert Series at the Portland Classical Chinese Garden
Music in one of Portland's most beautiful settings. Six shows beginning on July 8th. Tickets are $18 for garden members, $22 for everyone else.

Zoo Concerts
Great shows all summer at the zoo including a Wednesday series that's just $10 per show.

And I haven't even attempted to list all of the street fairs (like Mississippi Ave on July 12) and other festivals in the area that will have music too. I'll try to keep you posted on those opportunities as I see them.

A last note is a great go-to site for finding out events for any particular day or period - it's the events finder on the TravelPortland site. Plug in a date or date range and the type of event and you'll get a comprehensive list. And, you can actually search 16 other events calendars right from the page too. How cool is that?

So, your job now is to not get overwhelmed with choices and just stay late at work, in the garden, or cleaning out your garage. Get that summer sense of adventure, mark your calendars, and get out to the parks, festivals, farms . . . wherever . . . . really, it's so good for you.

One more thing . . . add your comments or email me if you have more to share . . . I really can't notice everything!

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