Ossie Bladine: Enjoying the summertime tunes

News-Register file photo##Music lovers dance to the sounds of Sol Seed during last year’s Walnut City Music Festival, which unveiled the new stage to be used during the Grain Station  Brew Works’ weekend concerts this summer.
News-Register file photo##Music lovers dance to the sounds of Sol Seed during last year’s Walnut City Music Festival, which unveiled the new stage to be used during the Grain Station Brew Works’ weekend concerts this summer.

Ah, summer. The days when I celebrated the end of my school year are long gone (although I get to help my wife, a teacher, celebrate) and summer weather seems to be sporadic throughout the year these days. However, summer’s arrival still provides a certain level of delight as we look forward to the mass amount of activity in the coming months.

One of my favorite parts of summer is the available of live music. Prior to fatherhood, I cared less about the seasons when it came to seeking out concerts. I’d spend my weekdays scanning the calendar for the weekend’s best acts I should attempt to see.

Each week I assemble the Live Music calendar for our Connections section. Frequently I take note of a favorite musician appearing soon or an unknown act I’d like to check out. But having a tyke in the household makes that much more difficult — until summer.

Public concert series run locally throughout the summer, starting with the Concerts in the Plaza in downtown McMinnville (Thursday evenings, formally the Brown Bag Concert Series). Starting in July, you can take a picnic and your dancing shoes to Linfield College and the Chehalem Cultural District.

The local music scene has a great new addition this summer in the outdoor venue created at the Grain Station Brew Works, built last year and ready for its first full summer of outside tunes. And, when the missus. and I can get a babysitter, I hope to catch a few acts at one of the local venues that have long been dedicated to drawing great talent to our area — like the Wildwood Hotel in Willamina, The Horse Radish in Carlton and McMenamins Hotel Oregon in McMinnville — negating the need to travel to Portland to catch regional acts. Many wineries in the area also offer patrons live music in magestic settings throughout summer months.

Sound Check

Ossie Bladine is editor of the News-Register, organizer of the Walnut City Music Festival and a quizmaster who extends a gigantic ‘thank you’ to his wife who takes care of the kid while Daddy goes off to socialize at the bar.

There are two family-friendly music festivals to make it to this summer: The fifth edition of the Wildwood MusicFest & Campout at the Roshambo Art Farm (July 15-17) and the Walnut City Music Festival (Aug. 19-20), which I’ve been pleased to organize for four years now.

Live music also continues to be an integral part of annual festivals like the Newberg Old Fashioned Festival, Turkey Rama, Willamina’s Old Fashioned Fourth of July, Oregon Brews & BBQs and Drag the Gut. This weekend, the summer season kicks off with Sheridan Days, which has upped its game recently with live music integrated all three nights of the festival.

A lively arts scene is important to cities large and small. Music, in particular, can improve quality of life because of its ability to reach all ages and all demographics. It can spur community building, creativity and innovation. Live music utilizes public spaces to their fullest and in many areas has become major economic drivers.

A recent report by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry states: “The worldwide growth in tourism has spawned intensified competition for tourist dollars. More and more cities are leveraging their music scene to draw visitors and the economic benefits they bring.”

Yamhill County attracts thousands every year seeking world-class wine country. But if the tourism industry becomes stagnant, that tourist energy can easily move to the next up-and-coming region. A lively music scene can be a great complement.

In covering the local music scene over the years, I have frequently been told or heard about how musicians enjoy coming to Yamhill County. When musicians travel to our area for a gig, they are sure to keep an eye out for other venues to perform at in the future. In the 21st century, touring has become the livelihood for musicians.

“It has never been easier to distribute a creative work. At the same time, it’s never been harder to get paid for it,” the IFPI report states. “Live performance income is increasingly important for artists, but touring costs are high.”

If the Yamhill Valley continues to support local music, the incentive will increase for additional live music venues, in which case more touring artists will seek out our area for performances and draw both locals and outsiders to come, enjoy themselves and spend money. Also, the more venues in town, the more encouraged local (especially youthful) musicians will be to help foster the music scene.

So when you’re out this summer and hear some great music, let the performers know how much you enjoyed it, and seek out the business owner or concert promoter to thank them for setting up the event. Those little pieces of encouragement can go a long way in building a music scene our area can celebrate throughout the entire year.


Annette Madrid

Great points! Thanks for a well-written article! Can you run links to some of the venues, tho? Thanks again for your enthusiasm!

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