Equal parts music festival, art installation, and community pop-up, Pickathon truly delivers when it says it’s for the whole family.

Credit: Jaclyn Armstrong

Located just outside of Portland at Pendarvis Farm, it’s absolutely worth a day trip. The family programming is packed with kid-centered concerts (including an entire song about farts that spoke to my newly potty-trained daughter’s soul), rotating crafts, and instruments to test at full volume without a single side-eye glance. There is a nursing lounge with comfortable chairs and a fleet of helpful volunteers, classes and workshops for kids and kids-at-heart, and even drop-off childcare available. 

Wander out of the family area, dubbed the Coyote Neighborhood (each section and stage of the festival is divided into thoughtfully designed neighborhoods) and you’ll find that every area of the festival is just as friendly. This place is designed for play, with sturdy art installations that are meant to be explored, colorful hanging structures, and of course so much incredible music. There are hammock villages in nearly every corner as well as plenty of other picnic tables and places to rest.


Perhaps the most kid-friendly aspect of Pickathon is the community of care. This is exactly the space you want your child making core memories. Resources are meant to be shared, and folks jump at the chance to offer help. When a well-loved chair crumbled as my child sat on it, no less than three people stepped in to fix it. After determining it was beyond repair, a spectator gleefully declared, “Well, now it’s art!” While Pickathon purposefully under-sells tickets to allow for breathing room, you’ll also find complete ease in letting your kids wander through the crowds, assured that everyone there is looking out for children. There’s ample shade, since the festival is tucked in and out of the old growth trees on Pendarvis Farm. Water is plentiful and free.

To know: The parking area is one mile from the event site and a complimentary shuttle runs you to and from. In line with their zero-waste mission, all food vendors require reusable plates and cups and do not supply napkins. We brought our own, but you can also rent a plate and buy a cup. There are well-stocked washing stations to clean up between uses. The farm is on a slope amongst the trees, so bring a child pack in lieu of your stroller or wagon.

Kids 12 and under are free, and teens 13-16 are half price when attending Pickathon for the weekend. Single day tickets are $195 for Friday or Sunday, and $225 for Saturday.

Pickathon feels like a family reunion, only with 5,000 people you haven’t met yet. There’s still time to go this weekend, but if you miss it, sign up for their newsletter to be the first to know when tickets go on sale next year.

Jaclyn Armstrong
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