Tag Archives: Pickathon

Notes on Pickathon 2017

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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.

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Notes on Pickathon 2016

"Cause we're on our way..."

Yo La Tengo // Photo Credit: Hollister Dixon

By Hollister Dixon

Editor’s Note: Due to some unfortunate technical issues, all of the actual photos I took over the weekend were lost. I have a few decent ones I got with my cell phone, however. I apologize for this.

I’ve been hearing about Pickathon for years. Two years ago, Faces on the Radio cohost Arya Imig went for the first time, and came back with stories of immeasurable joy and brilliance. I resolved to get there as soon as I possibly could. It took a year longer than I would have liked, but I finally made it: I spent three unbelievable days at Pickathon 2016.

I’m just going to get this out of the way, before we move on: I really struggled to find things that could be better about the festival. Eventually, I realized that “There’s just too much hay for my liking” and “It’s about five degrees too hot out” weren’t valid criticisms, but minor ways for me to try and rectify the fact that I am, by and large, an incredibly positive critic. Still, Pickathon is a festival made for people like me: people with an obsessive need to geek out about music, with other people who want to do the same, in an environment that breeds that kind of behavior. Pickathon isn’t so much a festival as it is a four-day summer camp where all of your favorite bands are playing, and nobody feels like they’re there out of obligation. I had a few conversations with different performers about how they felt about the festival, and the consensus is that it’s the perfect antidote to just about every other North American festival out there. It’s clean, it’s free of gigantic sponsors, it’s eco-friendly. It does everything right.

I really, really wish I could talk about things that are wrong with it, but I haven’t got much. All I actually have is the fact that I would have liked to do and see more. There were some tough scheduling conflicts, and the smaller Lucky Barn was so consistently packed, I never actually saw a band perform there. I also never saw the Starlight Stage or a night show at Galaxy Barn, but this is a consequence of a) seeing the final act at the Woods Stage every evening, and b) not camping out, but instead going home every night. I also never made it to the fabled Pumphouse, which apparently saw a set by Dan Boeckner and Arlen Thompson’s Frankfurt Boys, the “the one-millionth Wolf Parade offshoot band” (in Dan Boeckner’s words), which was plagued with technical issues. And still, the experience I got was truly satisfying, in a way I haven’t experienced at any other festival – or, at least, haven’t come close to since the old multi-venue days of MusicFest Northwest.

It was impossibly hard for me to figure out how to break this festival down, because doing it day by day feels wrong. So, I’m going to do it in two Top Fives: The Old (bands I already knew), and The New (acts I discovered this year). All said and done, I saw 24 performances by 20 different acts (with four acts seen twice).

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Episode 141: Major Label Debut

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Thanks to Veronica Medici for joining us this week! You can listen above, and download this one right here.

Topic:

  • Major labels
  • How did Veronica begin working with a major label?
  • How do majors compare to indie labels, in regards to artist communication and inner workings?
  • What is the role of a big label in the modern day?
  • How does streaming tie into the business of major label operations?
  • What direction is the music industry going in, and how can it be saved?

Songs:

  • Rowdy Roddy Piper’s theme
  • Disclosure – “Latch (Ft. Sam Smith)”
  • Wilco – “Either Way”
  • Jason Isbell – “If It Takes a Lifetime”

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Episode 140: The Best of 2015 (So Far)

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Thanks to Jordan Portlock for joining us this week! You can listen above, and download this one right here.

Topic:

  • The best of the first half of 2015! We talk about our favorite records, favorite shows, biggest surprises – and disappointments.

Songs:

  • Sleater-Kinney – “Price Tag”
  • Sorority Noise – “Corrigan”
  • Kendrick Lamar – “Mortal Man”
  • Beat Connection – “So Good”

 

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Episode 94: Magazines

Thanks to David Harris and Matthew Sweeney for joining us this week! You can listen to this episode above, or download it right here.

Topic:

  • Music magazines (and the future of music journalism)
  • Who are some of the biggest names in this field?
  • Are music magazines still relevant?
  • Is digital media the way of the future? Or is a physical item still better?
  • What is the role of the music critic today?
  • Do music writers still have the same power they used to?

Songs:

  • A tribute to Robin Williams: clips from Good Morning Vietnam and Dead Poets Society
  • Dr. Hook – “Cover of the Rolling Stone”
  • Bob Dylan – “My Back Pages”
  • Robin Williams in Aladdin – “A Friend Like Me”

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