Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Annual All Knowing Summer Music Post!

Actually I don't know that much ... but I have collected a bit of info about live and outdoor music you can catch in and around Portland this summer - in the parks, plazas, and other outdoor venues. It's already started and will begin to pick up a full head of steam in the next week. As I've said in the past (in fact, using some of this exact wording as I am recycling much of last year's post!), when it comes to live music outdoors in summer, we truly have an embarrassment of riches .... and I hope nothing stops you from getting out to a bunch of these through the summer. 

There is free music and ticketed shows ... but let's begin with the free (most paid for by generous sponsorships of local businesses).

Portland Parks and Recreation's Summer Concerts in the Parks:  Thirteen city parks, including Washington Park, will have evening concerts throughout the summer.  These concerts kickoff on July 5th at Mt. Tabor Park and are one of those summertime treasures around town. Grab a picnic dinner (or patronize the food vendor/sponsors), bring a blanket or chairs, and enjoy.  Nothing better on a summer's eve. I've been a part of organizing the Sellwood Riverfront Park shows that will run four consecutive Mondays, beginning on July 11. That series kicks off with the Too Loose Cajun Band, and will be a dance party every week - salsa, soul/funk, and blues will follow. Hope to see you there! (note: The Sellwood series might need to move up to Sellwood Park this year due to flooding at the Riverfront Park - keep an eye on the Parks and Rec site for changes.)

For all of you who are downtown in Portland for your work week, there a couple of great opportunities - one at lunchtime, one at 5 pm:
Music on Main is a great Wednesday series that begins next week (6/29) on Main Street between the Schnitz and the Performing Arts Center. As usual, it has a fine lineups of bands this summer.

Pioneer Square has another year of Noon Tunes - every Tuesday and Thursday beginning on July 5th.

And not to leave out those on the east side - there's noon Lunchbox Concerts in the Oregon Square Courtyard (Lloyd District) every Wednesday until 8/24.

A new one is Sundown@Ecotrust Concerts (721 NW 9th) - on five consecutive Thursdays beginning June 30th at 5:30 pm.

Then there are street fairs - for instance, Mississippi Street Fair (July 9) and the Hawthorne Street Fair (Aug 28) - and other events that will have free live music...good list of area street fairs here.

But Portland isn't the only city in the area that has an abundance of free music ... check out these summer concert schedules:

Lake Oswego has four concert series at Millennium Plaza Park, Foothills Park, and Westlake Park.

Hillsboro has music every Tuesday night at the Hillsboro Marketplace starting at 5:30 pm.

Tualatin has two series - parks concerts and Tualatin Commons.

West Linn's has a Thursday night series at Tanner Creek Park.

Vancouver has an evening and a noon series downtown in Esther Short Park.

Ticketed shows:

Of course starting Friday, July 1st, its the 23rd Annual Safeway Waterfront Blues Festival - once more with an outstanding lineup of national headliners, regional acts, and locals tearing it up for four days in Waterfront Park. Stay tuned to a post devoted to the festival and a few acts not to be missed.

Head to Kruger's Farm Market on Sauvie Island for Farm Tunes - excellent bands every Thursday at 6:30 pm through September 1st. $10 per car and shows kick off this Thursday.

Check out the lineup at The Oregon Zoo. Nothing quite stands out for me like last year's Levon Helm show, but a pretty strong selection both on the Wednesday series and higher cost weekend shows. Kicks off this Thursday with a pretty fine one - Taj Mahal and Joan Osborne.

Then there's the McMenamin's Edgefield Concerts on the Lawn, including My Morning Jacket, Allison Krauss & Union Station, Fleet Foxes, Neko Case,Willie Nelson, John Prine, and The Decemberists. 

There's also the Maryhill Winery's summer shows that, though in a beautiful setting, are kinda underwhelming this year. 

The annual Bite of Oregon (Aug 12-14) in Waterfront Park has a very solid local music lineup that includes some of my favorite bands.

There's a couple of music festivals within minutes of the city ... complete with camping and a feel-good vibe that's hard to resist. First is the annual Northwest String Summit at Hornings Hideout (July 21-24). Then the first weekend of August (5th-7th) brings the annual Pickathon out at Pendarvis Farm ... combining an eclectic mix of touring and local artists - roots music, folk, bluegrass, and indie pop (and Mavis Staples!) in a beautiful setting just outside of Portland.

I'll bet someone could go to live music outdoors every day this summer! No, it isn't going to be me ... but I'll do my share ... and I'm sure you'll do yours!  See ya out and about ....

 .... and be sure to add other events you know about via the Comments or email them directly to me.

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