By Hollister Dixon
“Your favorite band two years from now is playing two sets this weekend at Pickathon.”
-Peter Shaver, Sound Advice
Pickathon is the festival that I want to be, but as a person – sonically omnivorous, ceaselessly welcoming, and full to bursting with life and love.
It’s hard to know just where to begin with a festival like Pickathon. I’m still a newbie to the festival (this is only year two for me, and my first year camping [or, at least, attempting to]), but I could talk for hours about everything the festival does perfectly right. There’s a willingness to grant concertgoers the ability to truly experiment and see bands they never knew they needed to see, and for those who get the chance to see those sets, it gives them the ability to tell all their friends, “Go see them again with me tomorrow.” It’s a festival that breaks down what it means to even be a festival in 2017, shrugging off corporate sponsorship and mass appeal for something much, much more interesting: the spirit of curation, and the thrill of discovery.
It’s also hard to really explain Pickathon in some ways, because it’s so unlike other festivals. There’s a magic in walking up a hill in the woods and hearing the steadily growing sound of “Freak Scene” by Dinosaur Jr. being played by Dinosaur Jr., or wandering down a random path and discovering a band playing a tiny set in the middle of nowhere.
I saw bands that shook me hard enough that I started pre-apologizing to people for how much of an insufferable fanboy I knew I’d become, and on one occasion I did so directly to the band. I got to see bands I’ve loved for years play sets that felt almost too good to be true, in places I never expected to get to watch them.