What is known to be a grand celebration of culture and live music in Bend, Bend Roots Revival, takes place this weekend, Friday through Sunday. Located in the "Midtown Corridor" the festival has coordinated eight different stages: Three at the hip hostel Bunk+Brew, four at the lively Silver Moon Brewing and one stage at the beloved Deschutes Brewery Public House on Bond Street.
Founded in 2006 by music educator Mark Ransom, Bend Roots Revival has grown over the past 17 years to include over 100 Central Oregon artists.
"The idea of a 'Revival,' instead of just a festival speaks to the educational aspects of roots," Ransom told the Source Weekly. "This event is intended to encourage a sharing of musical experience and wisdom. The ethos of the whole event is geared toward passing this wisdom along to future generations."
The spark for a "revival" came from Ransom and singer-songwriter Brent Alan. "We were sitting by the Colorado Street bridge (where the surf wave is now) looking at what was then a fairly 'new' amphitheater. The year was 2005. There were several big acts starting to come to town but not much emphasis on the local music scene," Ransom shared. "At that time Munch & Music did not showcase many locals, either."
To put it one way, Ransom and Alan were determined to respectively start Bend Roots as an intended counterpoint to the capitalistic Californication of a community. "...Which today is clearly gripping us by the balls and not letting go," Ransom said. They decided to start an event that would honor the local music community, to remember who we are. In 2006, Ransom and bassist Pat Pearsall officially produced the festival as a celebration of the authentic uncorrupted creative soul of Bend.
Bend Roots Revival showcases youth acts, family bands and young artists affiliated with local schools. You could say this festival is the ultimate way to expose and introduce your youngins' or family to a safe music festival culture, right here in the neighborhood. The festival is free and volunteer-based. Last season, the Roots Teaching Collective, another element of the effort, worked closely with students at Westside Village School and Realms Middle and High School.
Scottie "The Box Kid" McClelland — the mind behind the HomeGrown Music Festival back in April, the creative director of the High Desert Music Collective and Box Kid Productions —helped launch this year's festival with Ransom, programming the bands alongside Jeshua Marshall and Tom Hudson. "Local sponsors play a big role in helping Bend Roots operate, being that it's a free event."
McClelland continued, "We are beyond satisfied with our community's involvement and could not do it without our faithful sponsors, many of which we have had a working relationship for years."
This year's lineup includes local solo artists and full bands ranging in just about every genre, along with two out-of-town acts, SiMPLE from Eugene (previously a Phish cover band turned jam band) and The Frankie Hernandez Band from southern Oregon. Local acts include Night Channels, Amargoso, Call Down Thunder, Billy and the Box Kid, Pete Kartsounes and Not Your Ex Lover, Bend's latest all-girl punk craze I wrote about several weeks ago. A featured act includes a performance by Mostest — lead by Ransom himself. So many bands to list and so much music to be heard right in our neighborhood. Did we mention it's free?
The kick-off party takes place Thursday at Boneyard Pub, and and the festivities officially begin at 4 pm Friday, ending Sunday around 9. Then, an after party take places at the Domino Room Sunday night, featuring The Hasbens and Blackstrap Bluegrass at 9pm.