I moved here eight years ago, so I was not an early attendee of Pickathon. But once I figured out how magical it was, I haven’t stopped going. It’s a diamond in the rough of the countless summer music festivals in this once-great nation.

Year after year, I manage to find new bands that I start listening to regularly. I get to see bands that I haven’t thought about in years. I get to see bands that I absolutely adore. And I get to see them in magical places like the Woods Stage, where you can sit on hay bales and chat with the musicans and tell them how great you think they are. The last time I was able to be that intimate with bands was when I was a teenager, going to shows at the Gilman in Berkeley and Bottom of the Hill in San Francisco.

Portland in the summer is already fantastic—and when you combine that with a beautiful music festival in the woods that reminds you of childhood memories and chatting with your idols, what you’ve got is Pickathon euphoria. And while I’m coming down from it, I’m writing this and telling you if you don’t go next year, you’re an idiot. Happy 20th anniversary to Pickathon! I’ll see you on your 21st and buy you a goddamn shot. XO, PP