I'm standing in the middle of what once was a graveyard of discarded toilets at Pak-It Liquidators and, surprisingly, the ground is pleasingly sparse; stout plywood stages ready for live music now rest in opposite corners, ready for the return of Bend Roots Revival.
At the writing of this article, though—seven days before the festival—there is still a laundry list of materials, including doors, windows, random metal implements and other non-descript building items to be shuttered up somewhere away from the crowds, and an 8-foot pink mound of insulation to be carted off to fully transform the emporium of recycled building supplies into functioning music festival grounds.
After last year's festival was abruptly cancelled, organizers are determined to make this year succeed.
Organized by the non-profit Rise Up International, Bend Roots Revival is about celebrating local culture and providing a space to create and share art. And it's the only thing like it in town. That's why it's so important that it returns this year.
Jason "Big Red" Schweitzer of Bend Americana/indie rock outfit The Rum and The Sea agrees.
"Roots is a huge deal, especially for local musicians," Schweitzer says. "Its atmosphere has always been very reflective of the Bend lifestyle: open arms, diversity and the gratification of vibrant music all around you."
The 2013 edition of Bend Roots is a labor of love, a do-it-yourself passion project. Local singer-songwriter Mark Ransom has been overseeing most of the clean-up and construction and doing plenty of hammer swinging.
Jason Graham, of hip-hop group MOsley WOtta, recently caught some of that DIY spirit when he met with Ransom at Pak-It.
"The other week I happened to stop by Pak-It, Mark was working on building the stage himself," Graham recalls. "I had been meaning to get a ukulele from him. I stopped when I saw his truck. He walked over, gave me a tour of the estate, showed me a splinter buried deep in his finger and smiled. I was with Jason Schmidt who offered to go home and get his ultra-tweezers. Mark declined, gave me my new uke and went back to work."
There is no shortage of bright and popular musicians playing at Bend Roots Revival. But the real intrigue lies with the lesser- known bands. This festival is their chance to shine.
Bands to discover:
Problem Stick / Prairie Rockets / Flying Kites / Isles / Downhill Ryder / Wild Rye
Bend Roots Revival
Sept. 27, 28, 29
903 SE Armour Rd.