Posts Tagged ‘Sisters Folk Festival’

First acts announced for 2013 Sisters Folk Festival

Wednesday, March 13th, 2013


The wonderful Sisters Folk Festival‘s 2013 lineup will feature dozens of folk and not-so-folk acts by the time the event rolls around on the weekend of Sept. 6-8. In 2011, I had a folky experience; last year was more about the not-so.

Regardless of what you see and hear, Sisters Folk is a sublime time.

This year’s lineup started to take shape — a very vague, preliminary shape — last week when the festival announced a handful of acts coming to Sisters this summer, including Boston-based folk-jazz band Lake Street Dive, funk/soul fast-risers the Ryan Montbleau Band, horny bluesmen The California Honeydrops, veteran Nashville songwriter Amy Speace and quirk-folk sweetheart Amber Rubarth.

And the biggest name in the announcement: A return engagement from one of 2012’s revelations, John Fullbright, who is famously from Woody Guthrie’s hometown of Okemah, Okla., and who also happens to have the songwriting talent to carry such a burden in his bio. Last year, I saw Fullbright — alone, with only his voice and guitar — silence a crowd at the festival’s typically chattiest stage without shushing them. They simply stopped and watched and listened to him play. It was amazing.

Anyway, Fullbright will be back this year and will perform with guitarist Terry Ware. Here’s the two of them playing a song called “Jericho” for the music blog The Line of Best Fit.

Find all the info you could ever need about the folk fest at its website. Keep in mind that the 2012 festival sold out in advance for the first time ever.

This week in GO! Magazine’s music section

Friday, September 14th, 2012

I’ve got a 2-year-old who doesn’t want to nap, so we’re gonna do this real simple like. Here’s what’s in your newspaper today:

— Local hip-hop ambassador Mosley Wotta has a new album out called “KinKonK” and he’s going to perform it tonight to celebrate. I talked to him about it and wrote this.

— In Feedback, I talk about my experience Saturday night at Sisters Folk Festival and why I think the lineup on the main stage was proof that the event is in good hands attached to forward-thinking minds.

— My colleague David Jasper interviewed one-man blues-grit band Scott H. Biram and found out how “junkies in Portland” spurred him to stop distorting his singing voice all the time.

Elsewhere: Shadows on Stars headlines Liquid Lounge tonight (stream their album here), Polecat plays twice in town next week and singer-songwriter Paul Eddy is back in town and gigging all over the place after a few years living in Texas. And more, of course.

Today in GO! Magazine’s music section

Friday, September 7th, 2012

Let me be very clear: I mean no disrespect to anyone or anything else when I say that I think the Sisters Folk Festival is the all-around best music-related event in Central Oregon.

From the quality of artists booked and the seamless operations to the beautiful setting and the overall vibe, SFF is just awesome. There may be other places or events in the area that bring in music that you or I like more, but in terms of the experience, nothing tops the folk fest.

We’re seeing that reflected in the festival’s popularity, too. Last year, organizers expanded their staffing and venues, and this year, for the first time ever, tickets sold out in advance. And so, the team that puts on Sisters Folk Festival is hard at work not only, uh, putting on a festival, but also working to overcome the challenges that come with growth.

But this weekend, it’s all about the music.

Tonight, Jimmy LaFave and a bunch of his friends (Slaid Cleaves, Eliza Gilkyson, Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irions) will pay tribute to Woody Guthrie with a program called “Walking Woody’s Road.” I spoke with LaFave about the iconic folk singer, who would’ve turned 100 this year.

Guthrie’s music has experienced a rebirth in recent years, thanks in part to his daughter Nora’s efforts to turn his unused lyrics into new songs. LaFave — who is currently setting about 20 lyrics to music — said Guthrie wrote about 3,000 songs, but only 70 were really known in his day.

And beyond music, he painted and wrote poetry, wrote novels (including one about sustainable living in sod houses), and was fascinated by science and nature.

“He was a total sponge,” LaFave said. “The guy was not just talking about riding the rails. He was talking about quantum physics. He was so far beyond his time, they must’ve thought he was nuts.

“There’s no one,” he said, “that lived 20 different lifetimes like Woody Guthrie.”

I hope you’ll read the whole thing. Also, I wrote blurbs about seven artists I consider to be highlights of this year’s SFF lineup. You can click through those here (sorry about the tiny type).

’80s hit machine Huey Lewis and the News will play Bend’s Les Schwab Amphitheater on Tuesday. My colleague David Jasper spoke with Lewis about all kinds of things, including his love of our town.

“I love Bend, Oregon. It’s one of the great places on Earth, I think,” Lewis said by telephone last week. “I live in Montana, in the Bitterroot Valley, which is not dissimilar, but actually Bend is a little more upscale. Your bagels are better than ours.”

Wait. How does Lewis know so much about Bend and its bagels? Because the man who crooned on “Jacob’s Ladder” also knows his salmon ladders: He’s a fly-fisherman. In effect, Lewis knows the power of love and the power of the mighty Deschutes. In fact, he believes Bend is up there with Los Angeles and San Francisco in their primes.

“Imagine L.A. in the ’30s and ’40s. No traffic, no pollution, these winding streets,” he said. “It was the best place on the planet in the ’30s and ’40s. Best weather in the world in L.A.”

San Francisco was great in the ’50s and ’60s, Lewis said, but “the population keeps getting more and more crowded, and they keep moving — and now it’s Bend, Oregon.”

You really should read the whole article.

Elsewhere in this week’s music section: Guitar savant Buckethead returns to town, The White Buffalo is back as well, Casey Neill & the Norway Rats come to McMenamins, Black Beast Revival plays Liquid Lounge, Necktie Killer wraps up Redmond’s Music in the Canyon concert series, and both The Horned Hand and Silver Moon are super busy, each with four shows over the next seven nights.

Of all the cool things on the Sisters Folk Festival’s schedule …

Friday, September 7th, 2012

… the coolest of all may be the fact that anyone — you don’t need a festival pass — can show up to Sisters Coffee Company (273 W. Hood Ave.) on Saturday at 1 p.m. and watch Brian Blade conduct a workshop. For free.

What kind of workshop? I don’t know. Blade is one of the finest jazz drummers in the world, so maybe drumming. Then again, he’s in town with his Mama Rosa Band, presumably, to do something like this:

I mean, this is truly an amazing opportunity to see an incredibly talented and influential musician up close and personal. I can’t stress this enough: Brian Blade workshop, Saturday at 1 p.m. at Sisters Coffee Company. It’s free and open to the public.

Otherwise, as a reminder: All-events passes to the festival are sold out. Day passes for Sunday are now available (until they’re gone) for $55 at the Will Call table, located near the Village Green stage. Find more info on Sisters Folk Festival here.

Sisters Folk Festival is sold out

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

We warned you. Here’s the release:

The Sisters Folk Festival’s 2012 event scheduled for September 7-9 in Sisters, Oregon, is officially sold out.

The festival made the announcement on Sunday, August 19; it is the first time the 17-year-old organization has declared a sellout in advance of the event.

“One of the keys to the success of the Sisters Folk Festival is that it has always been an accessible, intimate experience for patrons and musicians alike,” says Jim Cornelius, chairman of the Sisters Folk Festival Board of Directors. “In order to preserve the unique character of the event, it’s imperative that we not over-crowd our venues.”

The festival features three large, tented venues and several other small venues located in businesses, all concentrated in the downtown area of Sisters.

“All our venues are going to be full throughout the festival,” Cornelius noted. “If you want to see a particular artist at a particular venue, you’ll want to be there early. For example, James McMurtry is only playing once, at the Village Green venue, and that’s going to be full. Of course, there’s great music going on at every venue all the time, so patrons will have plenty of opportunities.”

A very limited number of day passes for the festival’s Sunday program are still available.

The 2012 Sisters Folk Festival lineup includes James McMurtry, Mary Gauthier, the Walking Woody’s Road tribute to Woody Guthrie, gypsy jazz guitar great John Jorgenson, Abigail Washburn, Gregory Alan Isakov and a wide array of artists from blues to bluegrass.

For more information, visit

Sisters Folk Festival close to selling out for the first time ever

Wednesday, August 8th, 2012

After years of growth — often steady, more recently explosive — the Sisters Folk Festival has finally reached a point where it expects to sell out of tickets ahead of the event, planned for Sept. 7-9.

The full press release from the festival is below. Buy tickets and find more info at the SFF website.

Sisters Folk Festival Nears Ticket Capacity

Sisters Folk Festival is excited to announce that the tickets for their Sept. 7th, 8th, and 9th festival are nearing a sellout point for the first time in the organization’s history.

“We’ve experienced a dramatic increase in ticket sales every year for the past four years, and this year we are ahead of projected sales by almost eighty percent,” said Assistant Festival Director Travis Ehrenstrom.

The festival has traditionally released single-day tickets in the middle of August, but the high demand for All-Event passes has been so great that the festival will forego selling day tickets and will instead sell a small remainder of All-Event passes, and then declare the event at capacity.

Ehrenstrom noted that “In an effort to keep the Sisters Folk Festival a premier music event in the Pacific Northwest, we’ve been working hard to prevent overcrowding. As our festival continues to expand in popularity it is the organization’s work to keep our venues at a safe and comfortable capacity.”

The lineup for this year’s festival includes legendary songwriter James McMurtry, festival favorite Mary Gauthier, and “Walking Woody’s Road,” a celebration of the life of Woody Guthrie, featuring Jimmy LaFave, Eliza Gilkyson, Slaid Cleaves, and Sara Lee Guthrie with Johnny Irion. The festival will also welcome Abigail Washburn with Kai Welch, Gregory Alan Isakov, Brian Blade, Pokey LaFarge and the South City Three, Catie Curtis, Keith Greeninger, John Fullbright, Phoebe Hunt, David Jacobs-Strain and the Crunk Mountain Boys, Town Mountain, Holden Wofford and the Hi Beams, Taarka, LJ Booth, Seth Glier, Jude Johnstone, Alicia McGovern, Mosley Wotta, Jenna Lindbo, Hobbs, and more.

All-Event passes can still be purchased online from or from Paulina Springs Books (Sisters/Redmond) as well as the FootZone of Bend. For more information regarding the Sisters Folk Festival please e-mail info@sistersfolkfestival or contact the office at 541-549-4979.

This week in GO! Magazine’s music section

Friday, July 27th, 2012

As always, there’s lots of live music to hear in Central Oregon this week. Here are a bunch of stories that aren’t about a Portland music festival that’s still more than a week away:

— The iconic blues-jam band Hot Tuna comes to the Tower Theatre next week. Here’s our interview with legendary guitarist Jorma Kaukonen.

— Longtime local DJ Harlo (aka Jason Harlowe) is both celebrating a new CD and saying farewell to Bend tonight at the Astro Lounge. He’s moving to the Portland area.

Elsewhere in this week’s music section: Big Head Todd & The Monsters visit the Athletic Club of Bend, What The Festival?! brings electronic stars to White River Canyon, Parrilla Grill hosts the Moon Mountain Ramblers, Paul Thorn plays a free show at Les Schwab Amphitheater, Tango Alpha Tango comes to McMenamins, and the Northwest Best series kicks off at Liquid Lounge with The Melodramatics and Necktie Killer. Plus, all-events passes to the Sisters Folk Festival are getting ready to jump in price, so grab ’em now. Oh, and Chris Young, Uncle Kracker, former Bad Company singer Brian Howe and Hot Chelle Rae are playing shows at the Deschutes County Fair.

Sisters Folk Festival poster and partial lineup

Monday, June 4th, 2012

This little bit of big news slipped by me a week or two ago, but it’s worth posting: One of Central Oregon’s finest music events, the Sisters Folk Festival, has unveiled this year’s poster (created, as usual, by Dennis McGregor) and part of its lineup. Check it out below and be sure to keep an eye on the fest’s website for additions and other info.

This week in GO! Magazine’s music section

Friday, December 30th, 2011

New Year’s Eve + a Saturday night = party time

That’s the situation this weekend as one of the year’s most festive holidays coincides with the most party-friendly night of the week, and I suspect the result will be a very crowded and crazy bunch of New Year’s Eve events around Central Oregon.

Fortunately, there are a ton to choose from, so that may help thin crowds a little bit. Click here for our main New Year’s story detailing many of the biggest options in the area, and click here for our comprehensive listing of everything happening on Saturday night.

Now for non-New Year’s stuff!

Local Celtic-rock band Five Pint Mary will celebrate its new album with a show tonight at M&J Tavern. I spoke with co-founder Michael Holmes about the group’s connection with its fans.

“A lot of these old songs were really meant to tell the history of a battle or something, so they’ve been repeated for centuries and they just kind of take on a life of their own,” Holmes said. “People have been singing along with them for hundreds of years, and a lot of people have heard these songs since they were little kids. So we have people who come to our shows and they’re singing the lyrics right back to us. Which is really the intent of a lot of the songs.”

He continued: “In the days before jukeboxes and recorded music, you went to the pub and you sang along with the band. It was just something that you did, and that’s really still happening today. And when you go to a show like that … it’s like you can’t sit still. It’s more like something you’re actually doing rather than something you’re sitting there listening to.”

As just about any musician will tell you, that’s what it’s all about: connection with the audience.

“Whenever people ask us for a request, it really makes us feel good because a lot of the songs … (are) near and dear to their hearts for whatever reason,” Holmes said. “It’s like this person’s favorite song since they were a kid, so it feels good.”

I hope you’ll click here and read the whole thing.

Elsewhere in this week’s music section: Washington-based dark-folk band Terrible Buttons stops at The Horned Hand on Sunday night. Click here to read my colleague David Jasper’s interview with head Button Kent Ueland. Also, Bay Area hip-hop/reggae dude RasCue returns to town, Hopeless Jack & The Handsome Devil brings dirty blues to Bend, and some news from the Sisters Folk Festival, including discounted passes for 2012 and the lineup for the upcoming winter concert series.