Sounds of a Yamhill County summer


This week’s survey of Yamhill County’s cultural scene is All Things Musical — or as close to “all” as is possible to get without being omniscient. The opera-oriented Aquilon Music Festival is in the thick of it, but they’re not the only musicians in town. McMinnville and Newberg each host a series of free summer concerts, while out in Willamina, folks are getting ready for the Wildwood Music Fest, which has been hosting regional bands since 2010. Let’s start there, as that’s a ticketed event. 

WILDWOOD MUSIC FEST: On Yamhill County’s east side in the Sheridan and Willamina area, we find Katie Vinson of the Wildwood Hotel and Kim Hamblin of Roshambo ArtFarm once again organizing a grassroots musical affair and family camp-out that benefits local nonprofits. The nearly 20-year-old festival will be held July 19-21 on the farm, 22900 S.W. Pittman Road. Tickets and all the details you could possibly need are available here. The lineup includes the Eagle Rock Gospel Singers, Sam Chase and The Untraditional, Drunken Prayer, Willy Tea Taylor, and many, many more.

McMINNVILLE CONCERTS ON THE PLAZA: Organized by the McMinnville Downtown Association, these Thursday evening concerts are held on the U.S. Bank Plaza at the corner of Third and Davis streets. The street is closed, and some seating is available, but it goes fast, so best to bring a lawn chair. Concerts run 6 to 9 p.m.

The series kicks off July 11 with the Portland heavy-psych band Blackwater Holylight, founded by vocalist/bassist Allison Faris in 2016. At the website for Portland label RidingEasy Records, which represents Blackwater, Faris describes the band’s genesis: “I wanted to experiment with my own version of what felt ‘heavy’ both sonically and emotionally. I also wanted a band in which vulnerability of any form could be celebrated.”

The rest of the season is as follows: For more information about each band/musician and a sampling of what they do, click the links:

NEWBERG’S TUNES ON TUESDAY: Newberg’s summer concert series is organized by the nonprofit Young Professionals of Yamhill Valley, and runs from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesdays at 415 E. Sheridan St., the plaza and lawn in front of the Chehalem Cultural Center. Concerts are free, lawn chairs and blankets are encouraged, and you’re also welcome to bring your own food and non-alcoholic beverages. The High Street Band gets things started July 9, and the rest of the season is as follows:

WALNUT CITY MUSIC FESTIVAL: McMinnville’s late summer, home-grown music festival returns to Lower City Park next to the library Aug 30-31. We’ll have more on this closer to the event, but tickets are on sale, and the lineup has been announced, including The Yawpers, Seratones, and 10 other bands

ARTS JOURNAL: A profile of Mitski Miyawaki in the July 8 and 15 issue of The New Yorker steered me toward the 28-year-old indie musician’s albums. Listened to her 2012 debut, Lush. Worth a listen. Also reading about the latest skirmish in the national culture wars: In Ohio, Bowling Green State University’s May 3 decision to remove Lillian Gish’s name from its theater because she appeared in The Birth of a Nation. Lots of Hollywood heavyweights coming to her defense. Bright Lights Film Journal has an informative piece here


About the author

David Bates is an award-winning Oregon journalist with more than 20 years as a newspaper editor and reporter in the Willamette Valley, covering virtually every topic imaginable and with a strong background in arts/culture journalism. He has lived in Yamhill County since 1996 and is currently a freelance writer whose clients have included the McMinnville News-RegisterOregon Wine Press, and Indulge, a food-oriented publication. He has a B.S. degree in journalism from the University of Oregon and a long history of involvement in the theater arts, acting and on occasion directing for Gallery Players of Oregon and other theaters in Oregon.


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