Last Monday, Willamette Week announced that MusicfestNW—the music festival it's produced annually for nearly two decades—will not happen in 2018. Originally conceived as a week-long, South by Southwest-style, multi-venue event, in 2014 MFNW moved to one weekend at Waterfront Park, the same year that Pabst Brewing Company hosted its first Project Pabst at the Zidell Yards. For the past two years, MFNW and Project Pabst have joined forces to bring MFNW Presents: Project Pabst to Waterfront Park for a weekend in August.
But that collaboration recently dissolved: According to Willamette Week, "At the end of 2017, Pabst decided to go in a different direction, and the two festivals ended their partnership." That didn't leave the creators of MFNW enough time to plan and book their own festival, which is why they've decided to go on hiatus. Project Pabst has yet to make any official announcements about this year's event.
MFNW isn't alone; the organizers of Dufur's EDM-focused What the Festival also announced they'd be skipping this year, with plans to return in 2019. Without WTF and the MFNW-Project Pabst hybrid—which brought acts like Iggy Pop, Nas, and Lizzo to Portland last year—local music fans will have even fewer festival options in 2018.
Here's a rundown of the upcoming festivals left standing:
• Soul'd Out Music Fest (April 18-22 at various venues) With a loose focus on soul music—from jazz to hip-hop to reggae to blues to funk—the multi-venue Soul'd Out Music Fest consistently delivers some of the city's best lineups. Erykah Badu headlines this year's festival, with other standouts including BJ the Chicago Kid, rising rapper Noname, and Portland's own Mic Capes. All-access passes are sold out, but tickets to individual shows are still available.
• Waterfront Blues Festival (July 4-7 at Waterfront Park) The only music festival scheduled to overtake Waterfront Park this summer, the Blues Festival's lineup includes George Thorogood and the Destroyers, Robert Randolph and the Family Band, Beth Hart, and the Mavericks. Tickets go on sale this Thursday.
• Northwest String Summit (July 19-22 at Horning's Hideout in North Plains) Fans of finger-picking and jam bands will love the Northwest String Summit, the roots music festival located 40 minutes from downtown Portland. It's open to all ages, and camping is available. This year's bill features the Yonder Mountain String Band, Fruition, Mandolin Orange, and more. Tickets are on sale now.
• PDX Pop Now! (dates and location still TBA) Portland's premiere free, all-ages music festival is PDX Pop Now!, which hosted 35 local bands at AudioCinema last year. No word on the dates, location, and lineup for 2018.
• Pickathon (August 3-5 at Pendarvis Farm in Happy Valley) Pickathon returns to the gorgeous Pendarvis Farm again this summer for its 20th anniversary with another great lineup: highlights include Shakey Graves, Built to Spill, Jamila Woods, and Portland's own Haley Heynderickx. All ages are welcome, and camping is available in the dense woods behind the farm. Tickets are on sale now.
Consult the Mercury's music calendar for information about upcoming concerts year-round!