Pickathon – A community of eco-conscious music lovers

By DJ Flor Violenta

After two years of patiently waiting for its return, Pickathon took place over the first week of August on Pendarvis Farms in Happy Valley, Oregon. By all means, Pickathon is not your average music festival! It’s a music and wellness festival for the entire family (minus the dog) with an environmental sustainability twist. It’s a festival that encourages you to bring your own drinking vessel (doesn’t really matter if it’s an old plastic water bottle or a reusable water bottle) to use each day or if you’re an unprepared person like myself, then you could purchase a Pickathon branded steel cup that becomes a nice souvenir afterward. With the extreme heat we all faced in the past weeks, I was really grateful for the countless free water refill stations across the farm! Additionally, all the food vendors used reusable dishware when serving up orders and there are stations throughout the festival grounds to rinse and return your plate for a token to then be used when ordering your next meal. It’s a cycle that takes a moment to get a hang of if you’re new to the festival but one that you learn to appreciate!

Let’s talk about the music side of this festival! First off, there were quite a few past Freeform Portland DJs that had played DJ sets at the festival. The festival included dozens of DJ sets and more than three DJ stages that had music going from 10 AM to 1 AM. As for artists and bands I saw at Pickathon, here are some of my favorite sets included; Sweeping Promises, Soul Glo, Deeper, Inner Wave, L’Rain, and Emma-Jean Thackray. A lot of where Pickathon’s beauty lies is in their selection of artists/bands/DJs. There is music for everyone and an opportunity for folks to fall in love with a newer sound. For example, I usually take a liking to alt-rock, post-punk, hardcore, and electronic and there were plenty of bands on the lineup that fell into these genres. However, I found myself really enjoying a set by folk singer and songwriter, Jake Xerxes Fussell.

Jake is a folksong interpreter of traditional “folk” songs by recontextualizing ancient vernacular songs and sources of the American South. He played the first set of the day for the Grove stage on Saturday before the heat set in for the day. The stage and surrounding area was encircled by large trees and the floor was covered in blankets with folks watching Jake perform with just an acoustic guitar and a microphone. At one point, the hairs on my arms stood up and goosebumps formed while Jake sang “Jubilee”. I quickly realized that the songs and his voice represented a different time in history and I felt fortunate to discover him at Pickathon. This is one of many memorable moments I experienced throughout the weekend. Below is a list of songs by artists that played at 2022 Pickathon: 

As someone who is a DJ at Freeform Portland and is passionate about sustainability, Pickathon did a great job at minimizing waste, supporting local food and artists, and fostering a safe space for music lovers. Thank you Pickathon for inviting our radio station so we could share this experience with our community of DJs and community supporters through Instagram and Facebook!

You can listen to my show, Vinyl Pleasures Radio with DJ Flor Violenta, on Freeform Portland every other Saturday from 6-8 PM. Playing you the newest and best rock, electronic, hip-hop, R&B, and everything in between. Listen to Freeform Portland on the radio at 90.3 FM, 98.3 FM, and 101.5 FM or stream from just about anywhere at freeformportland.org.