That Oregon Country Fair knows how to throw a party is a well-established fact. It follows, then, that OCF would do it up right on the occasion of its 50th birthday.
Accordingly, the party’s guest list is off the charts.
First, I’ll start with the big names. It feels appropriate that Grateful Dead founding member Phil Lesh and the Terrapin Family Band take top billing, playing at 5:40 pm Friday, July 12, on the Main Stage.
Next, My Morning Jacket singer Jim James says happy birthday OCF with a solo set at 4:20 pm Friday, July 12, also on the Main Stage, while ur-hipsters and old-Portland survivors Dandy Warhols make an OCF appearance at 5:55 pm Saturday, July 13, on the Main Stage.
Dandy Warhols are a refreshing change of pace for OCF, as is Bay Area EDM-lounge maestro The Polish Ambassador playing at 5:55 pm Sunday, July 14, on the Main Stage. And a few other acts I want mention include ALO at 5:50 pm Saturday, July 13, at Hoarse Chorale, as well as Zero at 3:50 pm Saturday, July 13, on the Main Stage.
Also new to the Fair are “spoken word, hip-hop infused world music, multimedia theater and popular education models” Climbing PoeTree. They hit Hoarse Chorale Stage at 4:20 pm Friday the 12th as well as the Main Stage at 11:25 am Saturday, and again 5:50 pm that same day at Blue Moon Stage.
Scott Law returns to Fair at 12:20 Friday, July 12, at Hoarse Chorale, and Portland’s Casey Neil and the Norway Rats play 4:20 pm Friday, July 12, on the Blue Moon Stage. Neil’s from Portland, but at this point can we just call him an honorary Eugenean?
Turning to Saturday, I say make every effort to catch Petunia and the Vipers at 12:35 pm on the Main Stage. Also on Saturday, there’s Everyone Orchestra at 2:25 pm on the Main Stage, and on Sunday, July 14, Wildlight performs electronic dance music at 1 pm in the Dance Pavilion, while Portland-based freaky fun MarchFourth Marching Band plays at 3:15 pm on the Main Stage.
And what about those bands from Eugene? This year’s OCF music lineup has plenty to choose from. On Friday, July 12, the appropriately named folk duo Gossamer Strings play at 11 am on the Shady Grove Stage, and don’t miss the rollicking, hardcore string music of Alder Street 3 pm at Hoarse Chorale.
Caitlin Jemma and the Goodness play at 1:40 pm Friday, July 12, at Hoarse Chorale. Even though she now calls the Bay Area home, she’s never far from hearts here in Eugene. And the promising local indie-rock band Laundry performs at 6 pm that same day at Community Village.
Speaking of local rock, Sacred Trees play at 5:45 Sunday, July 14, at Community Village. Also recommended is Black Magdalene at 4:20 pm that same day on the Blue Moon Stage, and High Step Society plays its unique style of electro-swing at 5:50 pm on Friday, July 12, at Hoarse Chorale.
Happy 50th birthday, OCF, and nice job with the music lineup this year. I hope crowds show up in droves, and that this extra attention paid to booking bigger-name acts becomes a trend.
For now, I’ll toast you with some Kombucha, a local IPA or some fair-trade coffee and say, “Way to show these whippersnapper Coachella festie kids how it’s done.”
For more information and a complete music schedule go to OregonCountryFair.org.