I’m excited about Portland’s MusicFestNW this year. I have known about it for a few years, and last year was the first chance I really had to be able to go. It didn’t work out, and that was fine. The only band I would have really paid to see is the Thermals, and as for the headliners, afterward I heard that the setup at Pioneer Square wasn’t super great. (It might have been a good place to see Neko Case or Head and the Heart though, notwithstanding the sound issues and resident complaints about noise.)
This year instead of it being spread out across every venue in the city for 4-5 days, they’re moving it to the Waterfront park, with a two-day format and nine bands for each day. “No overlap” says the executive director of the Fest (http://www.portlandmercury.com/portland/musicfestnw-this-years-model/Content?oid=11778951).
I think it’s a good move – no capacity problems, open air, more of an expansive urban festival vibe instead of the cramped, crowded and sweaty SXSW thing. (Not that going to SXSW one day isn’t on my bucket list, because it totally is).
Based on the last couple of years’ billing trend of booking current, indie, PNW local, and major artists that are releasing or released highly buzzed-about albums this year or last year, here’s a list of the bands I wouldn’t be surprised to see on the list. Any other predictions? I left three spots open on my list. The anticipation is already building!
Bands I think might be at Music Fest NW this year:
Arcade Fire, Chvrches, Beck, Haim, Dr. Dog, the 1975. Against Me!, the Thermals, St Vincent, Broken Bells, Vampire Weekend, Damien Jurado, Radiation City, Wampire, Kacey Musgraves.