The last weekend of September is upon us, which means that it's time to party. No, not party in the summer sense of the word, because it's now officially and sadly the fall season. It's time for a block party. And more specifically, it's time for the Bend Roots Revival, the best kind of block party this town has to offer.
With buzz building about the fest, I've fielded a bunch of (hypothetical) questions from countless (non-existent) people wondering about the ins and outs of Bend's massive, weekend-long local music showcase. I'd like to share the (completely accurate) answers to these questions as to better your own Bend Roots weekend.
I've decided to stop paying for live music, because, ya know, the recession and President Obama's unicorn killing policies. So how could I possibly go to Bend Roots?
Bend Roots is completely free, and unicorns don't exist.
It's completely free? What's the catch? I'm skeptical... and hungry.
Yes, and it's totally free. Bend Roots is also a project of KPOV (106.7FM), so there's really no catch. If you're hungry, jeez, there will be plenty of food at Bend Roots.
I heard that Austin's South By Southwest festival has several hundred bands. What about Bend Roots?
This isn't Austin, this is Bend, Oregon, but Bend Roots is downright impressive on this score with more than 70 performances over the four days of Bend Roots which take place on a slew of different stages spread between Parrilla Grill and the Victorian Café.
I like the Grateful Dead yet can only enjoy the band's music live for reasons I don't fully understand. Thus, I haven't listened to them for 15 years. Can Bend Roots help me?
Yes, Bend Roots can help, but you really won't listen to bootlegs or something? Strange. Anyway, organizers are calling Thursday evening The Night of the Dead which features plenty of Dead covers by Back From the Dead and Rising Tide.
I'm bored, please advise.
That wasn't a question, sir. But I'll advise. Bend Roots has a host of free workshops ranging from didgeridoo to ukulele to a discussion of how to make it in the music business and beyond. Oh, and there's also Tae Kwon Do demonstration on Sunday at 2:30pm. Also, Sunday has plenty of family friendly activities, so bring the kids, if you happen to have those.
As you can see by the portrait I attached, I'm clearly a rock and roller, why would I go to Bend Roots? Also, did you like my photo?
Bend Roots isn't strictly roots music, so fear not, my rocker friend, the festival has plenty of rock music. There's the roots rocking JZ Band (3:30pm, Saturday), indie rock with The Autonomics (1:30pm Sunday) and the Dirty Words (4:30pm Sunday) and blues rock from Leif James and the Struggle (8pm Friday). Oh and umm, yes, I very much enjoyed your photo...I guess.
Bands are overrated, in my opinion. Any singer-songwriters gonna be there?
You think bands are overrated? Ever hear of the Beatles, sucka? But yes, Bend Roots is ripe with singer songwriters including Eric Tollefson (5:30pm Sunday), Joanna Lee (6pm Saturday) and Erin Cole Baker (2pm Saturday).
Bend Roots is happening in my neighborhood, what should I do?
Well, I say you should go to Bend Roots, chances are your neighbors are going to be there. Also, cross-towners, up-towners and downtowners have all promised to behave well in your 'hood. Also, when Parrilla and the Victorian combine their powers, a la Captain Planet, it's a pretty cool thing to see.
I haven't seen Moon Mountain Ramblers in two weeks and I think I might jumpkick someone.
Again, people, we're looking for questions here. But Moon Mountain will play Bend Roots (7:30pm Sunday) as will a host number of other bluegrassy acts like Blackstrap (11am Saturday) and Old Wave (7:30pm Sunday).
What's the most awesome thing you've ever seen? Will that most awesome thing be at Bend Roots?
No, Bend Roots will not feature a squirrel waterskiing behind a boat driven by a cat, which so happens to be the most awesome thing I've ever seen. But, fear not, the second most awesome thing in the world will, in fact, be at Bend Roots and that's Empty Space Orchestra and Mosley Wotta joining forces. ESO will play with MoWo before launching into a set of their own - the headlining effort of the weekend. It's hip-hop and instrumental space rock combined for a head-exploding concoction that will probably make your weekend - unless you come across a water-sports-loving squirrel. So, so awesome.
Bend Roots Revival
Thursday evening to Sunday evening, September 24-27. Parrilla Grill and the Victorian Café. Visit bendroots.net for a complete schedule.