ONCE A YEAR, Portland transforms into a citywide, multi-day music festival, the likes of which make the Mercury as giddy as all get out.

Well, except for one tiny little detail. You see, it's Portland's other weekly paper that's booking the bands, posting the billboards across town, making scads of money off the pricey-but-generally-worth-it wristbands, and basically running the entire show. As such, their coverage of MFNW might be a tad... ummm... how you say... biased? So, in the spirit of good, solid sportsmanship (or journalism—we sometimes get the two confused), we're going to tell it like it is.

In the Mercury's Officially Unofficial Guide to MusicfestNW, we're going to give you the honest-to-god truth about the best of the best, the cream of the crop, the pick of the litter. We're also going to steer you well clear of the steaming turds and give you the lowdown on all the free shows you can see without a wristband. Since the Mercury's not in the business of selling you a ticket to the damn thing, you can rest assured in our completely impartial opinions. Now get out there and see some good music.


Our Super-Duper List of MusicfestNW Show Previews

On the Mend, Mr. Jonathan Toubin Returns to Portland

Against Me! Are Still Punk as Fuck

Menomena Gets Familial with Moms

How Heavy Rains Shapeshifted the Helio Sequence's New Record

Under the Influence of Redd Kross

Kishi Bashi's Violin Emits Pure Ecstasy

See Stuff for Free!