River floating, camping, hiking, pub cycling-the list of must-do Bend summertime activities is long, but not complete without adding one last thing—a Summerfest concert by flamenco guitarist Todd Haaby.
Of course, there is a lot more than just music at Summerfest, but concerts are a big part of the annual downtown street fair. They're also unavoidable since tunes from each stage float out into other parts of the festival. Here are some of the highlights, including a preview of this year's Haaby extravaganza.
Todd Haaby: 9:30 p.m. Friday, July 12, Mainstage
With his ultra-tight jeans and half-bare chest, Central Oregon guitarist Todd Haaby appears a little cheesy when he plays. He also brandishes a seemingly over-confident smile; that is, until he boldly executes beautiful and powerful flamenco guitar that teems with sex appeal. Haaby means business. Backed by Solavia—his band of merry talented musicians—Haaby kicks off this year's Summerfest in style. The Spanish influence on his music is undeniable. Added to his blazing guitar are Afro-Cuban drums, Mexi-Cali jazz and entrancing Latin blues. His shows at Summerfest are becoming legendary for the sweaty hip-shaking dance parties that fill the closed-off downtown streets underneath the passionate red and orange lights hanging above the crowd.
Giraffe Dodgers: 3 p.m. Saturday, July 13, Mainstage
The term "newgrass" gets tossed around a lot these days to describe bands that are blending bluegrass with other genres, or simply adding drums to the once drum-less music. But like the "indie" description for music, it is used too often. That is unless you're talking about Portland's Giraffe Dodgers. While their music is rooted in a traditional quick-step bluegrass sound, Giraffe Dodgers use Latin funk as additional spice. There is also a blues rock-and-roll quality to songs like "Gil of Gumption" and "Waterbound" that truly means their music crosses over and beyond the Appalachian Mountains.
Christina Griggs: TBD, Saturday, July 13, Locals Only Stage
Summerfest is also a place for local talents to showcase their musicianship. Taking advantage of that this year is Bend singer-songwriter and youngster Christina Griggs. The diminutive Griggs is an acoustic guitar starlet who sings Taylor Swift-like love songs that are ripe in vulnerability making them more accessible. With a long history as a performer, the barely graduated Griggs is becoming a regular around the area. Filled with all the tender exuberance of youth, her music is sure to provide Summerfest with a dose of beautiful purity.
July 11, 12, 13