WTF FESTIVAL—Electronic music is exploding in the U.S. Need proof? It can be found at the newly minted What The Festival. Now in its second year, WTF is sporting new, expanded digs at Wolf Run Ranch, located in the wilderness a couple of hours outside Portland. It's basically a three-day camping electronic-palooza.
The festival features installation art, a giant splash pool dance party, multiple stages, yoga workshops and more hard-driving bass and synth music than ravers can shake their booties to. The expanding festival means bigger names this year, and WTF is delivering with electro-giants Purity Ring and A-Trak. Also appearing are industry favorites Eliot Lipp and YACHT as well as a whole host of up-and-coming producers. That makes WTF most likely one of the Pacific Northwest's biggest summer parties—and probably the largest consumer of glow sticks. July 26-28, Wolf Run Ranch. $175.
PDX Pop Now!—PDX Pop Now! is a special time of year in Portland. This free weekend-long event highlights music being made in studios, basements and bedrooms across the Rose City. Music aficionados (writers, artists, producers, etc.) submit their choices for PDX Pop! in early spring. Then a handpicked committee of varied ages and backgrounds picks the bands that best represent the music scene in Portland. Culminating in an all-ages outdoor festival and compilation CD, PDX Pop Now! always produces a particularly special sampling of vibrant new songs. Portland is teeming with aspiring and established artists, and unless you have time to get out to weekly shows, it is easy to lose track of these new and exciting sounds. PDX Pop Now! helps to make this music accessible. Now in its 10th year, PDX Pop Now! has become a staple of the summertime festivals. Boasting both outdoor and indoor stages, it offers a little something for everybody, and it's always filled with unforgettable performances. This festival is an open invite into the world of Portland music, and one not to be declined. July 19-21, Portland. Free!
Bi-Mart Willamette Country Music Festival—This well-advertised music festival has both types of music—country and western. Ha! Get it? OK, OK, seriously, this is a remarkable three-day showcase of some of the strongest talent in country music—from strong female leads like Pam Tillis, a 15-time Country Music Award nominee with three platinum albums, and "American Idol" wunderkind Carrie Underwood to fiddling trios and vocal quartets. Aug. 16-18, Brownsville. $120- $175.
Music Fest NW—MFNW started in 2000 for the simple reason that Portland needed its own festival. The city had been blossoming as a music and creative hub, and creators Mark Zusman and Richard Meeker (Willamette Week editor and publisher, respectively) wanted to create a venue to showcase this wealth of talent. Now in its 13th year, the festival had some lean years, but has rebounded—and, although it's established, it is included in our Up & Comer list because it is like the 2.0 version. MFNW is six nights long, and takes place in 18 venues across the city, including four nights on the outdoor stage of Pioneer Square. MFNW is the third-largest indoor music fest, attracting nationwide acts as well as taking generous measures to emphasize both up-and-coming and established local artists. Additionally, last year marked the inaugural TechFestNW, a three-day interactive program highlighting the inventive thinkers and doers who are responsible for groundbreaking startups across the United States. MFNW truly has come into its own since its launch, offering music in every shape and size, with both paid and free performances, not to mention unannounced guests to keep things spicy on both sides of the river. The official lineup comes out May 29, but some of the notable announced artists include Deerhunter and Godspeed You! Black Emperor. Sept. 3-8, Portland. Ticket prices TBA.