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Festival Info



Pickathon Music Festival

Posted on 2011-10-14 00:00:00 by Pickathon

How do we want to grow?

Please help us decide what we should do?

We've heard your feedback loud and clear and can assure that our focus for 2012 is locked in tight. It's a big time of year at the Pickathon HQ, one that sets the tone for the next 10 or so months. Site planning, performer selection and booking...major decisions around every corner.

The post-2011 feedback has given us a great deal to consider and the first item we want to discuss is a big one for us.

What path we should proceed to become financially sustainable as an organization over the long term?

In reading your comments, talking to numerous people, and working through endless brainstorming sessions there seems to be two clear options on how we can move forward:

Long Term Sustainability Option #1
Limit the growth of Pickathon and offset the growth with increased ticket prices. The idea would be to give up ~25% of our original final projected crowd size for an increase in ticket price by ~25%.

How would this affect 2012?

Ticket prices: $160(early bird) - $190(final online ticket price)

Growth: 0-10% vs. 2011 attendance.

Commentary: Limited growth alongside specific venue and camping improvements will allow for more overall comfort on a per-person basis. It also means we are highly likely to sellout for the first time in 2012 before the gates open.

Long Term Sustainability Option #2
Grow the total audience size of Pickathon between 2011 and 2013 by around 33-40% more than 2011.

How would this affect 2012?

Ticket prices: 130(early bird)-145(final online ticket price)

Growth: 20-25% vs. 2011

Commentary: Tickets would be more accessible, and the overall density would increase. To offset the increased attendance we would continue to more dramatically expand venues and camping options.

It is important to note for a point of reference that even if we were to implement Long Term Sustainability Option #2, Pickathon would still be under 4x the density of many other major comparable music festivals.

Either way we go, we will not change our core values.

We still believe that Pickathon can make it to the point of long term sustainability by being dedicated to providing the best music in the most inspiring settings one can imagine, listening to everyone with good ideas, making yearly improvements to all aspects of the site, and being open to new possibilities that may arise.

Let us know your thoughts and please note that we will continue to post more major questions for everyone to weigh in over the upcoming weeks.

We'll see you next August 3-5th!

Photo: Pickathon

STORY COMMENTS (91) comments

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2012-02-07 14:26:23

When will hear a decision on this and/or a little more input from you on the commentary above?

2012-01-15 21:11:03

Raise the price to maintain the present size. It seems to be near comfortable capacity now. There isn't much more camping available unless it is far back on the steep hill. Improve the outhouses.

2012-01-15 18:10:23

I vote raise the price. You already have a great volunteer system in place for those that have trouble with the admission. In 2011 it was very difficult to see many of the shows without binoculars. I also agree that letting volunteers monopolize the campsites before Thursday is starting to cramp the paying campers.

2012-01-12 21:30:40

Raise the price! We'll budget for the increased price in order to keep it the festival we love. More crowded= less intimate= less interest in attending.

2012-01-03 08:19:08
Option 1 gets our vote. We have been there the last two years and won't miss it again for anything.

2012-01-01 10:47:04

I completely agree. Do not increase the number of people. If you do, you'll ruin the festival. This year my friends and I felt it was at the tipping point. Add more people and you'll just ruin what you've built.

2011-12-28 13:58:20

Rise the price! so glad to see so many people feel the same. it is a really special thing to go to a festival that is small and feels good to be in. lets keep it as the gem that it is!

2011-12-20 00:33:42
A rise in ticket price will be beneficial for all.. I found the festival to be an incredible bargain to begin with and wouldn't mind contributing to the beauty of Pendarvia and the fluidity of my favorite weekend of the year... The hardest part about the festival's explosive popularity and subsequent swelling involves a struggle with late night options.. I feel that the expansion into the court is a step in the right direction, but projections will never compete with the real thing.. The perceived separation from the actual Galaxy Barn also made the court a lot less desirable. As a longer term goal, why not seek to move the Galaxy Barn's late night influence completely down to the court? Some sound control would definitely be required, but a system of tarps/canvas barriers could effectively wrangle the late night dance energy, saving campers and Happy Valley from the noise of the night... If that happens the Galaxy barn could evolve in a new direction, with stage projects, recaps of the day, an expanded beer garden and/or comedians etc.. Just a smattering of thoughts.. I agree in advance to pay whatever you decide to charge and I look forward to a Pickathon that grows and evolves and reinvigorates me summer after summer after beautiful summer... Thanks for all you do guys!!

2011-12-19 15:10:41

Definitely option # 1. Raise the prices and limit the size. I would very happily pay more for the intimate experience.

2011-12-15 20:03:39

Pickathon is a very special event; for the musicians, and the fans. The gradual increase in attendance has built a very strong "family" atmospere over the years, but at some point this growth reaches critical mass. I watched this transpire with HSMF after it moved to Quincy from Bear Valley, and is why we don't attend anymore. That feeling of "family" became lost, even with their measured and planned-for increased attendance. Raising prices for tickets, will retain the ambiance and character of what Pickathon is all about.

2011-12-08 11:00:15

Raise the price and keep Pickathon from getting too crowded! I've been coming to Pickathon for years and wouldn't come if it got much more crowded. With more people you end up with a lot of folks just there to party, rather than there to see the music, and it changes the experience.

2011-12-05 22:08:46
Have a day of at least 3 hour stage time that's open mic only open to 1-2 original songs/6 minutes maximum a piece...

2011-11-30 17:53:02

Option 1: Raise prices. Crowds that large are anxiety inducing!

2011-11-30 15:06:31

I agree with everyone else. Raise the price and not the number of people attending! I too thought it was already too crowded in 2011...2009 was the best. You stated that the density is less than other large festivals...but other large festivals don't have the likes of the Galaxy Barn. Festivals just cost alot..and Pickathon is so special...its okay to raise the price to have a better experience. Thanks for asking!!

2011-11-29 16:41:17

I tend to agree that the prime camping areas should be reserved for paying customers. Everyone appreciates the volunteers, but they are already being compensated with free tickets. It is lame to buy Thursday access, show up at gate time, and discover that the woods are already completely full of volunteers. It seems like it should at least be equal opportunity for the folks paying as well. I hope people don't think I'm unappreciative, but how did the volunteer situation get this way???

2011-11-29 15:53:44

I would support splitting #1 and #2. Raise the price and increase attendance by ~20-25% (as long as the barn can be expanded).

2011-11-28 16:10:26
I doubt that you need more to think about, but you may want to consider a third option of doing a two session event on consecutive weekends rather than price or attendance increases. It would afford you tons of flexibility and I would guess a number of people would attend both.

2011-11-27 19:34:38

Watching acts on a screen at pickathon is so very un-pickathon. A+ for your effort in attempting to circumvent the barn overcrowding but F- for the experience of it.

2011-11-27 10:08:29
We would enlarge the barns if we could; it's just not financially feasible. But what did you think of the expansion to the court with the fabulous projection of the stage, and the beer garden there?

2011-11-26 18:58:37

I would be willing to pay extra, so I guess I am in line with everyone else, but I wonder about the crowded venues - barn and workshop especially - and wonder about the harder rock performers (which I know a lot of people prefer-but not me) and I wonder if the answer might be to split the audience into two distinct events. I know nothing about the financial feasibility of this - so it's just a random idea... Even at current festival-goer levels, I think you need to enlarge the barn or somehow limit body count.

2011-11-24 23:29:15
Perhaps you have too many unpaid volunteers. I bet most of them would be willing to pay a nominal fee to volunteer...say $20-30 for a volunteer position. Then you could do both of what you want to do. Keep ticket prices where they are AND limit growth.

2011-11-24 01:11:43

yep, raise it up. What would it take to get to 2010 levels? That was the last year it felt really good. I do not support growing 10 %. I love pickathon! thanks for asking for our imput. see you next year.

2011-11-17 17:45:59

I would welcome paying more if that ment less people. Option number 1.

2011-11-16 03:37:10
We visited Pickathon this year from the UK and loved it! The comparison with a very similar English festival, the End Of The Road Festival, was frequently in our minds. Pickathon felt like EOTR a couple of years back. On our return to the UK we made our annual pilgrimage to EOTR and were very disappointed to see that by allowing it to grow (by, I guess, c.25%), much of what we and others loved was being lost ... a certain intimacy and atmosphere, but equally importantly the quality of the experience: longer walks between stages (which with kids is a real issue on a hilly site), toilet facilities that couldn't cope with the numbers, worse support for people with disabilities .... my advice if it's worth anything would be to restrict growth and allow the price to float upwards ... by the looks of it you'll get the support. Just a real shame that we won't be there in 2012!

2011-11-15 19:57:24
I beg you Please ...raise the price that so work's for me \

2011-11-14 20:45:56

2012 will be our fifth Pickathon as a family and we love it. We have noticed, however, with the increase in size comes a hidden cost - the lack of feeling like you are truly part of something. Please raise the price. We will save our duckets and gladly pay to have Pickathon stay simple and unique.

2011-11-13 18:57:04

Supersizing events tends to ruin them beyond repair...

2011-11-13 18:18:09

Option #1 all the way! 2010 was my first year and I was enchanted. Returned this year and gave up getting into the barns. The Forest Stage was far more crowded as well but still nifty. I did like that food and beverage could be found away from the food court. When I read that you were thinking of increasing the attendance quite a bit my first thought was 'Oh no, another cool event goes mainstream'. As a person who does not like crowds and lives in the middle of nowhere I really, really like that at Pickathon I never feel as though I am in a mass of population. To grow the attendance exponentially will draw a line that I will not cross. Keep it small and raise the price - I've already started saving for 2012 :-)

2011-11-12 23:21:34

I would actually vote for higher density. More people equals more new friends to choose from, I really liked that there was so many people at this festival and the amount of diversity of people. The music and the festival vibe was so brilliant it would be a shame not to have as many people as possible experience it.

2011-11-11 14:15:34

My vote: Raise the price, limit the size. As a long-time attendee, I was a little overwhelmed and disappointed by how crowded it felt this year. Pickathon is special, and I'd like it to stay that way.

2011-11-07 03:38:10

raise the ticket prices, please! there were too many people this year already... i miss the old days. :(

2011-11-06 12:30:54
I must concure with the raise the price gang! I have been coming for all the years at Pendarvia! It is hands down my favorite alternate reality of the year!

2011-11-04 18:10:31

please don't compare Pickathon to other music fests. You couldn't PAY me to go to coachella but I will pay more for my pickathon.

2011-11-04 13:19:54

Raise the price! Picakthon will still be a bargain. Cheers to all you at Pickathon for asking.

2011-11-03 11:08:30
Raise the price! Honor the early bird policy. 2011 beer and food vendors were the best yet.

2011-11-03 10:16:36
i would def pay more to keep it smaller for sure :)

2011-10-30 21:38:56

It was my first pickathon and I thought the crowds were no big deal at all. There was plenty of space for all, and I never had to wait very long for food or drink. I also really enjoyed the wide variety of musical acts. I will be back this year regardless of the price.

2011-10-28 23:30:04
I would rather pay more and keep it smaller. That for me is one of the biggest draws for me. I went to 6 music festivals this year from Coachella with 76,000 concert goers to Schoolhouse Rock in Friend, Oregon with about 350 attendees and I can say Pickathon was my absolute favorite! I love the venue, love, love, love the bands and that it is local and we don't have to travel over 100 miles is wonderful too! Don't change a thing except there really does need to be more room then the Galaxy Barn can manage when you have such great bands playing!! I also think prime camping should be for paying guests and perhaps there should be a different area for venders and volunteers....? Just a thought!

2011-10-27 06:36:43

Raise the price and make the "special" features more spendy and rare. 1. Charge more for parking. Encourage mass transit / carpooling 2. Make early bird worth something (getting there early only prevents chaos, not choice camping spots as so much was tarped out (not sure by who) 3. More VIP offerings? Food Tour? All inclusive food/shower/message/backstage? Private showing? 4. Expand on the barn bar. Line was out of control. ie sell more beer. PS time to change beer lineup or go with many vendors It is an amazing festival but any larger and it will not be fun. This year was border line (long lines, crowded stages, massive party in the woods) but adding too many more people and I am afraid I won't be able to attend. Keep up the amazing work!

2011-10-25 12:08:13

Wow, it seems like there's almost universal consensus on this front! 2011 was my 4th Pickathon, and the first year that really just felt a little too big. While the camping and transportation situations were well-handled for the density, the venues themselves were inevitably over-crowded. The single greatest thing about this festival (in my mind) is its sense of intimacy, and any more growth would really threaten to ruin that.

2011-10-25 10:15:36

I also say raise the price. I would be worried about this excluding people, but Pickathon is great about taking volunteers, so if anyone can't afford the extra cost, they can give their time instead.

2011-10-24 20:44:05

Option #1, for sure! It's still a good price for a festival. If attendance increases by 33 - 40%, not sure I'll still want to go. And yes, thank you for asking. Viva Pickathon is right!

2011-10-24 11:58:55

Adding my voice to the chorus of "raise the price". We love Pickathon just the way it is.

2011-10-23 18:04:28

please please please don't raise the attendance! It's so unique in that way and I know I'd pay the extra $30. Keep doing what you're doing pickathon!

2011-10-23 09:22:15

this year was my 4th pickathon a fair bit more people than usual but still the best festival around. i always go with the early bird option as i know i don't want to miss out so my vote would be raise the prices and no more people as i would hate for pickathon to lose her quaintness. thanks for the chance to be heard.

2011-10-23 09:13:33
i would love to pay more , for the same festival ,in place of less for a different one .RAISE THE PRICE

2011-10-23 04:32:58
We at Pendarvia are busily trying to accomodate our creative loving community. Pickathon helped us repair the deck. We decided to expand the South Deck of the Gallery Barn (aka 'workshop') to the south, adding 24'x 6' - plus flanking 6' wide steps. This will provide more viewing pleasure, and easy ways on and off of the new superdeck. It is build elephant style. Bring on Aida! Dear old Red passed on last week. He was "37 for several years"; a friend to many of the Pickathon. He had been here for something like 10 years. Captain is doing pretty good, and Miss Luckey showed her grief. Horseshoer Mike and Dr. Posey have been around, so don't worry, all is doing well here. For Pickathon in the future- entry to the galaxy barn will go through the first hall of stalls. We have a design in process that will ease flow from the Starlight Stage to the Courtyard. Entry will occur through the stalls. The Galaxy Exit at the steps will be exit only. We hope that our guests will respect the horsie's domain, but be assured with high level Pickathon planning in cooperation with the City of Happy Valley this new passway will be much better! You'll stomp through some stalls to get to the beerland, say Hi! to the horses on the way if they are about. (thanks for NOT feeding them-hand feeding may make them nippy, plus they are on special diets). Winter is approaching. Volunteers can come out, bring a shovel, and make beautiful camps. Not too many, mind you! Let's cap it and make it something special. Sign up at we sure do want you to come back and experience it next year. We really do appreciate it. Pendarvis Farm really likes Pickathon, and wants to be able to accommodate, in appropriate numbers, with a sustainable basis, as gorgeous as possible. Many thanks for the feedback. pi

2011-10-22 13:09:50

I will pay the higher price.

2011-10-22 10:59:55

Option 1 hands down. I've always considered Pickathon a major bargain compared to other festivals for many reasons. I would much rather see an increase in price over crowd.

2011-10-21 17:31:14

Raise the price! As a long-time attendee (10 years!), I felt that this year was definitely pushing the limit for attendance. I agree with what someone else suggested about making some "scholarship" (lower priced) tickets available. Really, though, $160-190 for 3 days/nights packed with music and camping is not much compared to what many shows are costing these days.

2011-10-20 22:42:52

I attended with my wife and son for the first time this year and we had teh most amazing time. I vote for increasing the price and keeping it at current size. If people can't afford the price, they can volunteer to work . No one needs to be priced out if they're willing to contribute in other ways. My 5 year old son was inspired by the kids showcase performance and is now taking violin/fiddle lessons. See you next year!

2011-10-19 12:08:09

Really appreciate the opportunity to chime in. Option # 1 all the way. Thank you!!

2011-10-18 21:21:33

I think it would be best to raise the price. I also was sad not to be able to get into the barn for shows. Camping is packed as is. We will come either way.

2011-10-18 11:37:26

Please raise the price . I love this festival and we have come as a family from Seattle for the past four years. 2011 was my least favorite, because I really felt the increase of people. You handled the food toilets and water extremely well, but there is just no getting around bigger crowds. I rarely visited the barn because it was so packed all the time, and the woods stage, though still charming this year could not withstand another influx of people and still feel intimate. The intimate feeling is what really has held Pickathon apart from other festivals. One gets to feel like they really know the musicians by the end of the weekend. Having a space where my daughter could freely dance and play around has been priceless, and that would surely go away if it got more crowded. thanks for asking!

2011-10-18 09:29:54

Raise the price. I've been there for the last 5 years and i think 2010 levels should be the max... People will pay more for a better festival. Oh and we need more "picking" bands at pickathon again.

2011-10-17 10:19:05

Wow, all this consensus on raising the price makes me want to be the devil's advocate here. With the price increase we're now looking at around $400 or more per couple/family after the camping or parking pass. For your typical childless Portland yuppies that might not be a big deal but for families where one parent stays home with kids that's a big chunk of the monthly budget. I'm all for keeping Pickathon small but a lot of people might end up getting priced out. We could have a "gentrification" of Pickathon.

2011-10-17 09:22:49

Raise the price - keep it intimate. That's what makes Pickathon so unique! It was already tough to see a number of barn shows this year. Keep up the great work and thoughtful planning.

2011-10-16 23:19:36

I'd gladly pay more (especially if you brought back Mike & Ruthy and invited Blind Pilot - wink, nudge)!

2011-10-16 19:51:06

Raise the price!

2011-10-16 19:30:33

Raise the price. We loved the 2010 festival. It was perfect! We hope to come back real soon. It would be a shame to lose the small festival feel.

2011-10-16 16:37:20
Thank you for asking. Raise the price. We are a group of families with little kids who come from Seattle, and it's nearly impossible for us to camp already because so much is full before the start. We don't have the option of volunteering (from Seattle with kids) to get into the early bird spots, so we'll pay and get whatever we can. Those who can't pay have the volunteer option. The past few years it had a rare feeling of safe space to let kids run around; more bodies will make it completely unpleasant with kids. We always love the lesser-known acts that you work so hard to discover for us and don't feel attached to big names. There are many, many music festivals with big names and huge crowds that we can no longer attend. By the way, we also we appreciate your thoughtful growth: Woods stage still intimate, plenty of porto-pottys and food scattered around, no dishes. Thanks! Chloe, Seattle

2011-10-16 15:00:30

Raise the price, limit the number of 'free volunteer' tickets and the remainder of volunteers get heavily reduced tickets. We'll be there at higher prices if the growth stops. Too many more people make Pickathon no longer Pickathon. Makes Pickathon another one of those 'other' festivals.

2011-10-16 14:39:48

Option 1. We will come at the higher price and likely enjoy ourselves more. Thank you for asking us.

2011-10-16 09:16:01

raise the price! (and find a way to return to closer to 2009 crowd level)

2011-10-15 23:53:32

Raise the price. Establish a family camping area...honor the early bird. We got there really early and it was really obvious that many people had been there for days in areas that were outside the super huge friends of the farm area. An increase of folks would rapidly overcrowd and already crowded festival. The new camp sites make for a real hike.

2011-10-15 18:35:15

thanks for listening to feedback. Raise the Price! we will gladly pay more for a smaller crowd size but most likely not pay at all if you grow.

2011-10-15 17:41:28

Raise the price. No question.

2011-10-15 08:27:06
Raise the price! This year almost felt too big, and I don't think I would continue to come if it were much bigger. And I love pickathon! Last year was my 6th! I look forward to it all year. Preserve the quality of the festival, please!!!!!

2011-10-15 00:39:27

Raise the price. I agree with everyone else about the numbers being a turnoff. I tried multiple times to catch a show in the barn and a workshop but was not able to because of the crowds. Sadly our group of 20 had considered not coming back because of how crowded it was, not because of the price of the ticket.

2011-10-14 23:29:47

Raise the price- we are happy to pay more if it means limiting growth. Part of what we love about pickathon is the intimacy which comes, partly, from the small size.

2011-10-14 19:24:41

Raise the price. Why do tickets need to be available at the gate? If you want to get in, plan ahead. Please don't grow more. This year was muy crowded, especially compared to the previous few years. Smaller crowds are better for both the fans and the artists in that it keeps it special. Don't start comparing pickathon to other festivals please.

2011-10-14 17:11:42

Do Raise the price. The cost is so low as is any way. Too many people will ruin the vibe.

2011-10-14 13:47:54

Yes, raise the price, keep it small!

2011-10-14 13:36:04

Definitely raise the price. Pickathon was already too big for me this year--seemed like it was more about the party in the woods, less about the music for some folks. I'd pay even more if we could go back down to 2009 levels. It's such a fantastic festival, but part of what makes it great is the ambiance, the sense of community, etc. That part will shift and it'll be a different sort of audience and experience if you keep growing the numbers.

2011-10-14 13:35:48

Raise the price. I felt, and overheard many others say this year that the event is getting too big. I would hate to see you lose long term attendees (and volunteers!) because of this...

2011-10-14 13:35:18

I would likely not come again if the festival were any bigger than 2011's. I would even think twice about coming again at the same size as 2011. It's just too crowded at the stages, and while I enjoy an active weekend, I would not want to camp any farther away than I did this year--something that would need to happen for most if you continue to expand. It feels like you need to pay extra/get there Thursday night to avoid anything less than a 10-15 minute hike to and from the campsite. Not to mention the woods and especially barn shows were at times inaccessible, which is very sad :( That being said, I would much more likely pay a premium to maintain a smaller, more manageable festival Let it sell out, there are plenty of die-hards who will pay higher prices! I vote option one, and thanks for the opportunity to give feedback!

2011-10-14 13:31:56

Quality over quantity is definitely cool. Raise the price!

2011-10-14 13:31:36

Most definitely raise the ticket price and cap the growth. I would also add some of Option #2 into that by "dramatically" expanding camping and venues so more can get in. For me this is especially true for the experience of the workshop and the barn stages. i love the horses, but how 'bout taking some of the earnings and build those beauties a new pin somewhere else on the property and expand the barn stage out more? Just a thought.

2011-10-14 13:04:43

Option 1! Raise the price - this festival is worth it!

2011-10-14 12:31:27

I feel guilty for supporting higher prices given that this may rule out Pickathon for some attendees... but the notion of 30-40% more people means I have to weigh in for higher prices instead. Maybe there could be Pickathon Scholarships and we could donate to make some affordable tickets available for Underprivileged Fans? :) PS: You guys should REALLY make it clear that if you enter an email address when commenting, it will actually be displayed. It's not typical behavior on the web these days and it's caught me up more than once (resulting in spam to my account).

2011-10-14 12:27:17

Raise the price.

2011-10-14 12:23:52
Quality over Quantity = Raise the price! Part of what makes this festival such a great experience IS that it's smaller than other festivals - totally willing to pay more to keep it that way. I LOVE pickathon, but would probably decide to stop going if it grew too much more than 2011 levels, regardless of a cheaper ticket.

2011-10-14 12:22:19

Raise the price. It felt too crowded this year, as it was. I think I'd have to find a new favorite festival if the crowds increase by 40% over the next few years.

2011-10-14 12:15:09

Option 1! I was really dissapointed by how hard it was to get into barn shows this year. I don't mind paying extra to continue having the festival I fell in love with.

2011-10-14 12:06:18

I vote to raise the price. I will be there either way. Thank you for including Pickathon lovers in the decision making process!

2011-10-14 11:56:55

Raise the price!

2011-10-14 11:56:05
I think that it will be worth an extra $30 per person to keep the crowds from growing by 33%-40%. Option 1 gets my vote. Thank you for asking.

2011-10-14 11:41:13

raise the price! we will still come, it's still a great deal and it just won't be the same festival we know and love if the attendance grows any more. and it's incentive for folks to get their tickets early. viva pickathon!

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