Organizers of the Bend Roots Revival, a popular three-day celebration of local music and art, are planning to stage the 2013 version of the festival at Pakit Liquidators, a construction material resale shop at the corner of Southeast Ninth Street and Southeast Armour Boulevard in Bend.
Earlier this week, Roots founder Mark Ransom and his partner, Jesse Roberts of the humanitarian nonprofit Rise Up International, said they had not yet applied for the necessary permits to hold the event at Pakit, but that Matt Korish, who owns the place, is on board with hosting Roots.
Ransom said Pakit — known for its massive and labyrinthian piles of, um … stuff — has an atmosphere that fits nicely with the spirit of the Revival. That became clear during last year’s Church of Neil concert, an annual, underground celebration of the music of Neil Young.
“We did Church of Neil there last year and everybody realized what an amazing space it was,” he said. “Matt had already been thinking about renovating the space, clearing it out and being able … to make use of the buildings.”
Roberts attended Church of Neil, too, and said the same thing.
“It had this very artful vibe, almost like a barn party kind of thing. Half of it was kind of cleared out, there were bonfires going outside,” he said. “And we were like, ‘Man, imagine this. This kinda has the spirit of Roots.’”
The Bend Roots Revival started in 2006 at Parrilla Grill and the Victorian Cafe on Bend’s west side. It quickly outgrew that spot, both in terms of performing acts and attendees, and in 2010 moved to the Century Center. After two years there, the 2012 Revival was abruptly canceled amid concerns about late-night noise and use of an access road near the property.
Now, Ransom and Roberts are turning their attention to Pakit, which is tucked into an industrial section of town where nighttime concerts should be less likely to bother residential properties. The nearest homes are to the southeast, across railroad tracks.
“We don’t want to piss off the neighbors,” Ransom said. “And so I think our main purpose for not reconsidering a relationship at Century Center is because they’re just going to continue to piss off the neighbors.
“To me, this is really smart that way,” he said.
In order to “keep the peace,” Ransom said he plans to be “really respectful” of Bend’s 10 p.m. noise curfew, “probably” ending outdoor music at around 9:30 p.m. He’s also planning to reduce the number of bands playing this year and he’s not pursuing out-of-town bands with bigger draws. (Bands that had their Roots gigs canceled last year will get right of first refusal in 2013, he said.)
Korish, 31, bought Pakit from his dad, who started the business. He said cleaning the place up and holding occasional events there is “moving forward with the next evolution of what I think Pakit can and should be.
“We’re going to stick with the resale, but at the same time clean up the space and provide some green spaces and whatnot,” he said.
Korish said he is not interested in running a music venue or bar (“I like my nighttime,” he said), but that he wants Pakit to be a sort of “community marketplace that just has stuff going on.” That includes special events like the Roots Revival.
“My first and primary reason behind it would be giving the community a place to have fun and to share (the energy of the place) with the people,” he said. “Lots of people like this place.”
As for concerns about the clutter or safety, Korish said he has already cleaned up quite a bit of stuff, and he has more work to do.
“People know that it is what it is. It’s gonna be much less cluttered but at the same time there’s still gonna be stuff here,” he said. “It is what it is, and if you can dig in and enjoy what it’s going to be, then you’re going to have a great time, I think.”
Ransom and Roberts think so, too. They’re planning on adding four more stages to the two that were used for Church of Neil, with additional workshops and/or live music possible at the new Bend Circus Center next door.
“We’re going to embrace the junkyard thing,” Roberts said. “We don’t want to be (corporate). We want Roots to be different.”
For Ransom, it’s not even about the space. It’s about the spirit.
“We’re seaprated from our venue, our mortal coil,” he said. “Our soul lives on and the spirit of that is really about education and community and celebrating the cool arts scene that we do have.”
Here’s a look, through the magic of Google Maps, at the current plan for Bend Roots Revival stage layout at Pakit. Click the orange spots for a little bit more info.
View New Bend Roots Revival venue in a larger map
(Thanks to Andy Zeigert of The Bulletin for the map, and to Matt Korish for the photo.)