Pickathon’s environment-friendly ethos, increasingly diverse lineups, community-minded wellness programming, and new neighborhood format make the upcoming four-day weekend feel more like a euphoric outdoor utopia than a music festival. So we aren't surprised that in keeping with its evolution this year, the fest’s wellness programming is taking up more space at the Pendarvis Farm.
After the pandemic forced a two-year hiatus, Pickathon’s Wellness Director Nikki Weaver, says it only made sense to put some extra focus on supporting festival goers’ mental and physical health in 2022.
“Being around thousands of people after everybody was in their small pods for two years… I think it's exciting and scary for people,” Weaver told the Mercury. As we talked, she was already onsite, collaborating on set-up. “Just watching them weave flowers this morning and hang fabric, I think [the Refuge neighborhood] will be a really special place for introverts and people who want some quiet reflective time.”
Weaver has been attending Pickathon since 2008, and became its Wellness Director in 2010. “I kind of think of myself as a retired yoga teacher,” she said. Though she's been teaching yoga—at Northwest Portland’s Yoga Pearl and Root Whole Body, as well as on the East Coast—she's switched to an off and on schedule since having her two daughters.
Building the festival's wellness schedule requires a yearly deep dive into the area's wellness world to see who’s doing exciting, creative things. This year Pickathon will offer do-it-yourself aromatherapy projects (including new shower steamers), sound baths, massage, foot rubs by Knot Springs, and other activities that encourage mindfulness and relaxation.
A redesign of the Refuge is being led by Latina-owned botanical and herb-based body store Make & Mary and wellness activities will be located at three additional spaces: the Lucky Barn, the outside Orchard courtyard area, and the Coyote (kids) area.
“This is the most space [the wellness team has] ever curated,” Weaver said. “To have four spaces feels really exciting."
Pickathon’s new kids neighborhood will host family yoga every morning, as well as sing-alongs and more. Other family-friendly wellness programming includes the continued presence of the Family Feeding Nest: a tucked away, quiet, private place for breastfeeding parents to feed their babies, plug in their breast pump, and safely refrigerate milk during the weekend.
Pickathon’s yoga classes are free to all festival-goers and often set to live music.
“[Its] such a fun place to teach because people show up dirty, filthy, unslept, unkempt, and usually without a mat,” Weaver explained. “Everybody makes do with finding a patch of grass or a piece of concrete that they're happy to roll or stand on. I enjoy watching people just welcome each other into the chaos of what our lives are.”
In addition to teaching a few yoga classes, Weaver will also help lead morning Fun Runs that will go for three-to-eight miles, depending on participants’ desires.
Other things to look for at Pickathon include: a daily tea ceremony, a small onsite library from the Portland-based nonprofit Street Books, and more “ways that people might not just move their bodies and stretch, but also write some poetry, do some grass weaving, or make some fairy crowns,” she said. “I think Pickathon can provide space not just for music, dust, and good food, but also a space to reflect and contemplate in nature.”