Reviewing Bonaroo earlier this week, the NY Times' Ben Ratliff wrote about the festival he had just attended, but also festivals at large:

I have an unrealistic fantasy of a music festival purely of excellence, with no responsibility toward any aesthetic or sound or region, only toward the principles of unity and purpose in sound. Bonnaroo is not that. But it allows you, at least, to dream in those terms.

With that in mind I'd like to formally invite Mr. Ratliff to Pendarvis Farm this August, as I think Pickathon's near-perfection might shatter such engrained expectations—or at least offer them a slight tug of re-alignment.

Indeed, entering its 15th year, Pickathon's about as good as it gets.

Part of that's about preference, of course, on things like size, texture, palate, history, etc. But a lot of what has come to define Pickathon are the very qualities Ratliff drearily wishes for: "no responsibility toward any aesthetic or sound or region, only toward the principles of unity and purpose in sound."

Last year's highlights are starting to whiz by: There was Bombino, electric and electrifying on the Woods Stage. Cass McCombs, brooding but profound on the Starlight Stage. White Denim, like a bucking bronco in the Galaxy Barn. A husky buzzing day drunk for the War on Drugs, and, nights before, kicking up dust in the inimitable Square Dance. Back in the barn, TheeSatisfaction cool things out. And McCombs once more, just for good measure. Oh, and who could forget the Barr Brothers, a tremendous, effervescent surprise after a hectic day of travel postponed and nearly derailed their set. The list goes on.

On paper, this year's lineup looks as good if not better. For the full 2013 schedule, check Pickathon.com. While you're there you can also pick up some single day passes, which are on sale now. (But seriously, do the right thing and stay the whole weekend.)

And while the ranks run deep each day, a few scheduled performances jump immediately off the page:

The Relatives burning down and building back the Barn. Sharon Van Etten in the Woods, her voice a heavy wisp of sugary sap. Kurt Vile twinkling on the Starlight. Shabazz Palaces in the Woods and in the Barn (a part of me thinks maybe those spaced-out waves would really unfurl beneath the moon at the late-night Starlight stage, but maybe that I want to see Shabazz Palaces on three stages instead of two just means that I'm really excited to finally see Shabazz Palaces, especially at this marvelous festival instead of some ol' club.)

But, as always: it's who I haven't seen or heard yet at Pickathon I'm most excited for. Over the years such unveilings have become tattooed on my musical mind. Like Bonny Prince Billy, who in person, totally clicked. Or Cotton Jones, stunning, beautiful, and hearty. Or my own personal favorite, the beacon, and shining light of my Pickathons past and (hopefully) present, the saddest sweet voice in all of country music, Mr. Sam Quinn.

Indeed, I'd be remiss to leave out yet another last-minute petition to add the Quinner to this year's festivities. One can only hope.

Nonetheless, I'll be there with bells on.

Hopefully, Mr. Ratliff, you will too.

(The whole damn schedule is also available after the jump.)



Mountain View Stage
1:50PM - Cedric Watson & Bijou Creole
4:10PM - Yellowbirds
6:30PM - Sallie Ford and The Sound Outside
8:50PM - The Devil Makes Three
10:20PM - Pickathon Squaredance with Foghorn Stringband and Caroline Oakley

Fir Meadows Stage
12:50PM - Pure Bathing Culture
3:00PM - Leo Rondeau
5:20PM - White Fence
7:40PM - Lightning Dust

Galaxy Barn
3:00PM - Ginny Hawker & Tracy Schwarz
4:40PM - Pure Bathing Culture
6:20PM - Old Light
8:00PM - Wayne Hancock
9:40PM - The Relatives
11:20PM - King Tuff
1:00AM - JD McPherson

Woods Stage
1:00PM - The Cactus Blossoms
2:40PM - Jessica Pratt
4:20PM - Sturgill Simpson
6:00PM - Lake Street Dive
7:40PM - Vieux Farka Touré
9:20PM - Andrew Bird

Starlight Stage
11:30PM - Breathe Owl Breathe
1:00AM - Marco Benevento

Workshop Barn
7:30AM - Yoga
9:30AM - Music Together (kids)
11:00AM - Yoga
2:00PM - Cat Doorman (Kids)
3:30PM - Kids Showcase with Annalisa Tornfelt
5:00PM - Shakey Graves
6:30PM - Caleb Klauder and Reeb Willms

Pickathon Café
3:40PM - I Draw Slow
5:10PM - Ginny Hawker & Tracy Schwarz


Mountain View Stage
12:20PM - The Relatives
2:40PM - King Tuff
5:00PM - LADY
7:20PM - Andrew Bird
9:50PM - Divine Fits

Fir Meadows Stage
11:10AM - Bradford Lee Folk & The Bluegrass Playboys
1:30PM - Wayne Hancock
3:50PM - The Lone Bellow
6:10PM - JD McPherson
8:40PM - Vieux Farka Touré

Galaxy Barn
10:00AM - Family Squaredance with Caroline Oakley (Kids)
11:40AM - Yellowbirds
1:20PM - Tift Merritt
3:00PM - Dale Watson
4:40PM - White Fence
6:20PM - Foxygen
8:00PM - Shabazz Palaces
9:40PM - Cedric Watson & Bijou Creole
11:20PM - Shinyribs
1:00AM - Parquet Courts

The Woods Stage
11:20AM - Cardboard Songsters (Kids)
1:00PM - Breathe Owl Breathe
2:40PM - Howe Gelb
4:20PM - Sharon Van Etten
6:00PM - Ty Segall
7:40PM - Feist
9:20PM - The Devil Makes Three

Starlight Stage
11:00PM - Kurt Vile & The Violators
12:30AM - The Felice Brothers

Workshop Barn
7:00PM - Yoga
9:00PM - Music Together (Kids)
10:30PM - Yoga
12:30PM - Diane Ferlatte (Kids)
2:00PM - Malcolm Holcombe
3:30PM - Jessica Pratt
5:00PM - Ginny Hawker & Tracy Schwarz
6:30PM - I Draw Slow

Pickathon Café
2:00PM - The Cactus Blossoms
3:40PM - Pharris and Jason Romero
5:10PM - Shakey Graves


Mountain View Stage
11:20AM - Shinyribs
1:40PM - Tift Merritt
4:00PM - Sharon Van Etten
6:20PM - Kurt Vile & The Violators
8:50PM - Feist

Fir Meadows Stage
12:30PM - Old Light
2:50PM - Foxygen
5:10PM - The Felice Brothers
7:40PM - Parquet Courts

Galaxy Barn
10:00AM - Cat Doorman (Kids)
11:40AM - Malcolm Holcombe
1:20PM - Leo Rondeau
3:00PM - Bradford Lee Folk & The Bluegrass Playboys
4:40PM - Sallie Ford and The Sound Outside
6:20PM - Lake Street Dive
8:00PM - Caleb Klauder Country Band
9:40PM - Ty Segall
11:20PM - LADY
1:00AM - Divine Fits

Woods Stage
11:20AM - Diane Ferlatte (Kids)
1:00PM - Pharis & Jason Romero
2:40PM - The Lone Bellow
4:20PM - Dale Watson
6:00PM - Lightning Dust
7:40PM - Shabazz Palaces
9:20PM - Marco Benevento

Starlight Stage
10:00PM - Shakey Graves
11:30PM - Howe Gelb
1:00AM - I Draw Slow

Workshop Barn
7:30AM - Yoga
9:30PM - Music Together (Kids)
11:00AM - Yoga
12:30PM - Howe Gelb
2:00PM - The Cactus Blossoms
3:30PM - Yellowbirds
5:00PM - Tift Merritt
6:30PM - Bradford Lee Folk & The Bluegrass Playboys

Pickathon Café
2:00PM - Lake Street
3:40PM - Foghorn Stringband
5:10PM - Person, Place, or Thing (Breathe Owl Breathe)