A Few of Our Favorite Things from 2018
The War & Treaty | Mt. Hood Stage - Pickathon 2018 | Photo by Kate Horton
Saturday December 29, 2018

Terry Groves, Pickathon partner and all things Artist Relations & Marketing strategy, had the idea to gather some ‘Favorite Things’ from folks in the Pickathon community who are some of the hidden gems in the workforce.  

In honor of 2018 as our 20th year, we aimed for 20 responses and got 14. I’ll throw mine in to make 15, but if any of you out there want to add yours to make an even 20, we’ll try to post the extras on our website and social media over the next few days.

Might we suggest listening to John Coltrane’s “My Favorite Things” as you read through these 2018 highlights from some beloved folks in the community.  Because John Coltrane is an all-time favorite thing.  

Ned Failing & Terry Groves getting fierce during set-up. Photo by Nalin Silva.

Ned Failing – Pickathon CFO

  1. The weather (mid 80’s, about as good as it gets)!
  2. Pickathon Presents: Daniel Norgren at Revolution Hall
  3. Sierra Hull at the Woods Stage
  4. The War and Treaty (All stages)
  5. Phil Cook + special guests at the Galaxy Barn on Sunday evening
  6. DahkaBrahka (All stages)

Terry Groves – Pickathon A&R + Marketing

Originally from Western Colorado, Currently living in Manistee County, Michigan.

2004 was my first Pickathon

  1. The Wasp Whisperer
  2. 83 degrees Fahrenheit
  3. Scandinavia
  4. Foosball
  5. Artist Camp At Pickathon
  6. Concrete & Stone
  7. The Woods Stage
  8. Chances With Wolves
Jason Powers + Ryan Stiles. Photo by Nalin Silva.

Jason Powers – One of the Executive Audio Overlords aka Head of Audio, along with Nalin Silva. We are in charge of all live and recorded sound at the festival.

First Pickathon: 2012, doing the live broadcast mix at the Galaxy Barn.

Where I’m From: The Upper Peninsula of Michigan

A Few of My Favorite Things (in no particular order):

  • DakhaBrakha live @ the Woods Stage – I’m usually working so hard at Pickathon that I rarely get to stop and listen for very long. This was one act I made a point to see, as I’d been very curious about them since they came for TBA Festival a few years back. They did not disappoint. This was one of my favorite sets I’ve seen in my 7 years working at Pickathon. Just stunning.
  • Low: Double Negative LP on Sub Pop – 25 years into their career, Low makes one of their best records. The production on this one is amazing, and like nothing they’ve done before. Bandcamp
  • Zerzura Soundtrack LP on Sahel Sounds – I’m biased because I recorded and mixed this one, but I really, really enjoy this record. Think Neil Young’s Dead Man Soundtrack with a West African/Touareg sensibility. The movie is pretty great too. Bandcamp
  • Mississippi Records Soul Comps – Eric Isaacson is one of the best curators around. The last half of 2018 brought us 3 of an eventual 10 double LP soul compilations assembled by him. I can’t stop playing these.
  • Xylouris White at Holocene – Sometimes simple is best. Greek lute player/singer and Australian drummer. Jim White is also one of my favorite drummers ever. He has played with so many great artists from the Dirty Three to Nina Nastasia to PJ Harvey and White Magic. His style is totally his own, and immediately recognizable.
  • Interviewing Tom Lakenen about Lakenenland – Union boilermaker Tom Lakenen has spent most of the last 10 years making this brilliant sculpture garden and public space deep in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. He is truly one of the great outsider artists of our times. My partner and I were lucky enough to interview him about his work this past spring in the U.P. http://lakenenland.com/
  • Touring with Ólafur Arnalds – I’ve been working for Ólafur the last half of this year, and can’t speak highly enough about the quality of this production. What a great band and crew to spend time with, and an excellent show. Here’s a clip from his show in London in October.
  • Soft Goods performance @ TBA – My favorite performance of the year. This description says it all: “Equally funny and heartbreaking, Soft Goods lays bare the beauty and brutality of backstage culture. Performed by an ensemble of stage technicians and dancers, and structured as a live load-in and technical rehearsal for a performance that never happens, the show illuminates the lonesomeness of theaters, the spectral elegance of a lighting focus, the choreography of labor, and the labor of dance. Soft Goods is a meditation on work, life, loss, and occupational self-obliteration.” http://pica.org/event/karen-sherman-soft-goods/
  • LWW: 3PE LP on Leaf – My buddy Luke Wyland (formerly of AU) released an LP of abstract improvisations that still groove. This one’s been in steady rotation since it came out. Bandcamp
  • Legal Sativa Pomegranate Cannabis-Infused Beverage – I’m not usually into edibles, but this stuff is just so lovely. http://mirthprovisions.com/legal/

Ryan Stiles – Pickathon Producer 

Top 5 things of 2018 (not in any order):

  1. The War and Treaty at the Woods Stage
  2. The War and Treaty at the Woods Stage (that was worth two of the five)
  3. DahkhaBrakha – Everywhere they played
  4. Bee Bee Seas – The Galaxy Barn video
  5. Flickathon – I do enjoy a trip down Memory Lane. Thanks, Kelly’s Olympian

5 1/2. The week before Pickathon at Pendarvis farm is pretty amazing. So many people coming together to create an amazing experience for all. If you ever have doubts about humanity, volunteer during set-up that week and you’ll walk away with a new perspective.

Ronnie Boicourt at a well-deserved Relaxation Station via Zale. Photo by Nalin Silva.

Zale Schoenborn – Pickathon Founder 
First Pickathon: 1998 🙂 

  1. Remembering the fleeting inner happy place that Pickathon unlocks.
  2. How much fun it still is after 20 years to work so hard with so many great people to make the magic of Pickathon happen.
  3. The article in The Ringer telling the story of how Pickathon is disrupting the Festival business model.
  4. Meeting and collaborating with Matt Wagner to dream up and manifest the new Galaxy Artyard.
  5. Jen Cloher in the Woods

Romana Cohen – Merch / Info Booth / Safety / Operations / Consent Committee / Ice Queen

First Pickathon: 2007 or so

  1. Thinking about Pickathon for months in advance as we have giggly, inspiring meetings with volunteers and staff.
  2. Getting to crack some safety-related jokes on the pre-festival walkthrough with our local fire, police and county agencies who support us throughout the weekend.
  3. Answering questions at the Info booth on Thursday as the masses arrive.
  4. Mid-weekend, catching a cool drink and ducking into a water fight with a local kid gang at the Windmill pump.
  5. Meeting the sweet, hard-working vendors at dawn at the Ice Truck to make sure that the coffee beverages can be chilled.
  6. Brunch Camp annual potluck with old friends in the forest, which always includes surprise visitors, sing-alongs, bagels and glitter.
  7. Joyful reunions of people and things on Monday morning as hearts break, dust settles and things like car keys and cell phones become more important.  
  8. Hearing the deep quiet on Pendarvis Farm on Monday morning, and the returning birdsong.
  9. Getting to visit and relay deep gratitude for the many organizations and people who support the festival with equipment or services, like our loyal Music Millennium.
  10. Listening to the Pickathon Spotify playlist at home, totally exhausted, and having an epic and cathartic cry session. Happens every year like clockwork!
Photo by Heather Binns

Kimberly Adams – Parking is my jam!

My first year at Pickathon was 2009.

  • The parking crew is an assorted group of teachers, counselors, nurses, professionals, non-profit workers, skateboarders, artisans, laborers, small business owners, etc. I adore each and every one of them. I started volunteering in 2010 for Pickathon and I’ve been on this crew since 2013. I’ve made new friends and have the pleasure of knowing some of the most amazing people all year round.
  • Valley Queen is my siren song for 2018. Every time I heard Natalie Carol’s voice in the field while I was working parking, either on the main stage or the Treeline Stage, it felt like my cue to pass things over to my crew and spend time in the crowd and enjoy the festival. I had no control. I will forever be grateful for those moments of forced pausing she magically brought me to.
  • Dhaka Brakha – Wow. I didn’t know.
  • I’m proud of the consent signs. I’m so happy to be a part of an organization that wants to improve personal safety at festivals and wants to help start the conversation.
  • The Barn kept it special this year, more so than past years.  Every time I am in there, I am wowed by the energy of the artists and the attendees of Pickathon. Each gives so much to each other.
  • I’ve loved watching my kids grow up on the farm.  The space encourages them to explore who they are within the safety that Pickathon creates specifically for kids. The experience Pickathon offers for kids is one of the biggest reasons we return every year. This year, my kids pushed their personal boundaries around socializing with new people and new-to-them music. Both parenting wins. Thank you for Kikagaku Moyo- my 18-year-old is forever changed.  My 12-year-old loved Valley Queen. And they both LOVED The War and Treaty. I love spending time with my kids on the farm.
  • The art this past year was phenomenal. The mouth and ear [Curious Ear]! Every piece was magical.
Photo by Bridget Baker

Bill Kennedy – InflataBill! 

I’m from Santa Rosa, California, and I’ve been hanging lights on the Quail Trail since 2011.  

Holidays keep me pretty busy, but here’s something I posted on Instagram back in 2013.  #thingsilikeaboutpickathon

Tim LaBarge – Photography Coordinator

First Pickathon: 2006

From: Raised in St. Louis, been living in Portland area for 20 years

  • Finest Albums: These got me thinking:  Alela Diane Cusp, Kamasi Washington Heaven and Earth, John Coltrane Both Directions at Once: The Lost Album, 1939 Ensemble New Cinema.
  • Album from an earlier time that got some play:  Pat Metheny Bright Size Life (1976)
  • Vinyl that got the most play: Daniel Norgren Alabursy (2015)
  • Biggest joy from heartbreak: Hearing Charles Bradley’s voice again on the just-released posthumous album Black Velvet
  • Best music video: Fruit Bats Getting in the Van Again
  • Best concert: Tough one. I’ll say Kamasi Washington at the Crystal. But really, watching the Oregon Repertory Singers perform their Fall concert (and release their CD Shadows on the Stars) was so powerful and moving that I can’t get some of the songs out of my head.
  • Best Pickathon 2018 set: Again, tough to say what was the absolute best, but Black Pumas on the Woods Stage was awesome to see. I love anything involving Adrian Quesada.
  • Best Pickathon 2018 moment: I asked Hailu Mergia’s drummer Ken if they’d be playing Tizita during their upcoming set, and he responded, “We don’t play Tizita in concerts, but I’ll ask Hailu.” They played it that night on the Starlight Stage, Ken kinda smiled at me, and all those sounds felt so damn good.
  • Best Pickathon 2018 Set Up moment: Hands down: Walking around late at night on Wednesday watching the lighting crew dial things in, making pictures, catching up with pals, and thinking about the magic that is about to happen.
  • Best travel to music experience: Going to Huichica down in Sonoma – great bands, chill vibe, fine wines.
Photo by Briana Cerezo

Robyn Tenenbaum – Concierge Team Lead

The War and Treaty on the Woods Stage on Sunday transformed that sacred space into a Gospel Tent O’ Love.

The sweetness and love they exuded on and off stage was palpable and that set in the woods was totally transcendent.

Hollie Ash – Artist Camp Crew Lead

2018 was my 12th consecutive Pickathon and my 9th year volunteering. I can’t make the music but I can make the music happen, so I lead Pickathon’s Artist Camp Crew.

Originally from Highland County, Virginia, I’ve lived in Oregon for half my life.

Here are a few of my favorite (Pickathon 2018) things:

  1. There’s a feeling during setup that Everyone Is Important – the usual social and cultural hierarchy of Some Jobs Are More Important Than Other Jobs doesn’t exist during setup. Everyone there – from sign crew to sky crew to the food crew to the stage decorators to the recycling crew to the fire bucket crew to the unassigned volunteers asking anyone and everyone how they can help – they are all an absolutely vital part of making Pickathon happen and everyone is appreciating everyone else as an equally important contributor to the process. It’s lovely to witness and participate in a culture like that.
  2. While browsing the lineup, I discovered Wild Child and was immediately obsessed. They only played once… at 1 am Friday morning and I NEEDED to see them. I woke up at 5 am Thursday morning to finish my work and somehow stayed awake for 22 hours to see their show. It was 100% worth it.
  3. It always takes a bit of time for people to shed their Real World selves for the freedom of self-expression that Pickathon fosters. Frazey Ford played early on and I sat at the top of the hill at the Treeline Stage to watch. Midway through her set, a few people got up to dance, finding their festival selves. I watched it and felt it spread through the crowd – one by one, people relaxed into themselves and let the music move them. It was so beautiful that I cried.
  4. There had been a buzz about The War and Treaty being a must-see, but what I didn’t expect was how their big hearts gave a palpable dose of love to every single person in the crowd. I was watching them at the main stage with my Music Family (the Family I choose, we pilgrimage to Pickathon every year as our Family Reunion) and through The War and Treaty set we loved each other so hard and so out loud that a woman came up to me after the set and said “I don’t know how you all know each other, but the love you have for each other is beautiful and I want you know that I see it”.
  5. Bonus War and Treaty moment was after their set, while at the merch table,  a man approached me and said “You were standing right behind me when they asked us to hug our neighbor and I didn’t get to hug you then. Would it be okay if I hugged you now?” (Whoever you are, thank you for that.)
  6. While waiting in line for Ezra Furman in the Lucky Barn, what started out as shared enthusiasm for Ezra Furman turned into an honest, deep and vulnerable conversation with the stranger next to me. (Thank you, Jason.)
  7. Daniel Norgren stepped onto the Woods Stage, surveyed the crowd for a moment, said “this is a mind-fuck!” and then proceeded to deliver one of the most transcendent musical experiences of my lifetime. I know I’m not alone in that statement – I saw it on everyone else’s faces, too.
  8. Immediately after seeing Glorietta the first time at the Woods Stage, I bought a ticket to their October 8th Portland show. The day after the October 8th Portland show, I booked a trip to Texas to see their last three shows (ever?!) in Dallas, Austin and Houston. I’m writing this list right now while on that trip traveling from Austin to Houston with my Music/Pickathon Family who joined me on this trip from from Baltimore, Nashville, Indianapolis, Jersey City and Austin to see the final (ever?!) Glorietta show. Why? Because, as Glorietta says: friends like this are meant together.
Photo by Rob Kerr

John MacArthur – Associate Producer (aka Master Selector), Video content

First Pickathon: 2010

  • Jazzfest in NOLA – No place is better to lose yourself in music, culture and food. We went for the whole week, hitting both the fest and as many late-night shows as possible. So much amazing music but one of the best was at the 2 AM Blue Nile – Robert “Sput” Searight’s “Sputacular Funkadelic Experience” show.
  • Pickathon – Of course! But the Bee Bee Sea’s late-night set in the Galaxy Barn was mind blowing.
  • Beastie Boys book – One of the best books about music I have ever read.  Also, check out the Spotify playlist of every song they mention in the book.  Sit back, it hit shuffle and smile.
  • Radiohead, Boston July – Epic show by an epic band.  Nothing can explain the feeling of seeing the open song Daydreaming.
  • Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Portland May – Love this band and they put on another amazing show at the Wonder.
  • Cat Power’s Wanderer & Jon Hopkins’s Singularity – Both are on heavy rotation and are extremely powerful pieces of art.
  • Texas grapefruits – Rediscovered the joy of this tasty fruit.

Stephanie Manzo – Assistant Producer (Film) + Social media 

First Pickathon: 2011

  • DakhaBrakha – at the Woods Stage, their Luna Session, at the Aladdin, at the Mt. Hood Stage. Their sound, their aesthetic, the experience of seeing them live has such momentum. They’re a freight train and I their eager train hopper.
  • Black Pumas at the Galaxy Barn Thursday night. We all need an excuse to get down like that. Actually, you don’t need an excuse. Just go on and get to it.
  • The War and Treaty at the Woods Stage. Pure Lovin’ Goodness.
  • Bee Bee Sea at the Galaxy Barn – I wasn’t even in there. I watched it from the live broadcast, but WOW, that was magnetic and explosive and intoxicating.
  • Sherry & Scott Pendarvis playing the Newlywed Game at the 20-Year Kick-off Party in January. Something about Sun King? I don’t even know… Clearly, they know how to keep the spark alive.
  • Jen Cloher, Courtney Barnett, John Craigie and Hayley Heynderickx playing the 2018 Kick-off Party at Rev Hall.
  • That picture and Kevin Cole’s mobile video of Zale crowdsurfing during Bee Bee Sea at the Treeline Stage.
  • Making it to the Curation dinner Sunday night for Sunflower Bean and dinner by Astral PDX. Got to watch Zale show his appreciation for Ronnie with a shoulder massage, and see Sherry & Scott dance as though no one was looking to Sunflower Bean’s sweetheart version of “Harvest Moon.”
  • A pirate in a Utilikilt with a dozen or so kiddos lined up across from a row of Port-a-potties who yells, “Ready. Aim. Fire!” with a spray of foam arrows scattering in a dozen different directions. The kids go wild and I burst out laughing, looking to everyone who witnessed the hilarious moment.
  • Last, but definitely not least: The mural by Kilchoy and Mazatl that we now have the grand good fortune of gazing at every day at Pickathon HQ.
  • There isn’t room for all of them, and there are so many more to come… xoxo
Photo by Tim LaBarge

Ben Hubbird – I help Greg Vandy keep the DJ train on the rails, I’ve also volunteered as a concierge, and worked ticketing. My first Pickathon was… I think 2011. Born and raised in the Willamette Valley.

  • Driving Chances with Wolves up to the Pumphouse in a gator loaded with records & speakers to rock a truly legendary after-party.
  • Kevin Cole’s all-Prince tribute set at the Galaxy Courtyard with all the DJs slack-jawed at the deep cuts he was dropping.
  • Zale losing his complete shit crowdsurfing to Bee Bee Sea at Treeline Stage.

Greg Vandy – Books Pickathon DJs and Lucky Barn interview hosts. He is the host of KEXP’s Roadhouse radio show. 

Vandy’s Favs off the top of my head while my new baby cries)

  • MATT DORRIEN “shades of grey” LP. Do you like Randy Newman and Harry Nilsson? Mama Bird Recording Company strikes again!
  • BLAZE: The Bio pic about Blaze Foley. The story about a guy who never made it. And self-destruction. Lots of Towns Van Zandt.
  • “THERE GO THE NIGHTMARICANS” a single by Elvis Perkins and Sam Cohen. The Trump nightmare continues.
  • “WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR?” Film doc about Mr. Rogers. A Little Kindness Makes A World Of Difference.
  • NUDE PARTY “Chevrolet Van”
  • VIRGINIA PRESCOTT hosting SAM AMIDON in Lucky Barn. No, they did not know each other!
  • REED TURCHI “The More I Think (The Less I Seem To Know)
  • “DADDY’s SONGS” Greg Vandy’s Father’s Day Show On KEXP https://www.mixcloud.com/greg-vandy/roadhouse-on-kexp-mix-greg-vandys-61318-fathers-day-show-daddys-songs/
  • KAMALA HARRIS. D- California
  • REVEL IN DIMES. Stay tuned
  • The “STUDIO SPECIAL” at Sherman’s Deli. Palm Springs, CA. (With a side of cold borscht)
  • SPF 30. Sub Pop’s 30th Anniversary Party at Alki Beach.
  • TEXAS GENTLEMAN at the Sunset Tavern, Seattle. Best live band I’ve seen in decades. They can play anything.
  • KANYE WEST wearing a MAGA hat and meeting with President Trump. Let that sink in a little….
  • JOHN CRAIGIE “Opening For Steinbeck”. The monologues are priceless.
  • RIP RICHARD SWIFT. We’re gonna miss your sound.
Photo by Rob Kerr

THANK YOU for another phenomenal year! And thank you for all that YOU contribute to this community. We love you, friends.

Cheers to 2018 and many more beautiful memories in 2019!

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