Music Magic on the Oregon Coast
Pacific City is a small Oregon coastal community located between Lincoln City and Tillamook. As you reach this little seaside town you first see Haystack Rock, a huge picturesque sea stack about a half mile from shore as well as impressive surrounding dunes. Most Oregonians know of Pacific City because of Pelican Brewery, situated directly on the beach in full view of Haystack Rock. A little south of the bustling beach near the brewery, other restaurants and tourist traps is a dead end street called Rueppell. For the last ten years at the end of July, a house about halfway down hangs a banner with the words “World Headquarters” for a weekend. This is the heart of the Pacific City Music Festival.
Started by a group of friends in 2010, this little grassroots music gathering has been one of the highlights of my year since I was first invited to perform with Chris in 2013, as The Tummybuckels. The sense of community and undeniable abundance of positive vibes has made this festival such a joy for all involved, performers and audience.
This year, the festival kicked off Thursday with an all day showcase at The Oar House Bar & Grill patio, just a short walk from the World Headquarters, featuring: Robin Greene, Boom Squawk Three, Bill Valenti, Ben Browne, Shane Brown, The Avett Others and Tin Silver. The weather was perfect, a warm night for the coast, and we could see bits of sunset from the patio as Tin Silver wrapped up the night. One of the best parts of playing at a festival is being able to sit back and watch the other performers, it’s always such a treat and this year was no different.
After a late night of socializing at the World Headquarters, official performances started again Friday at 5pm just down the street at Twist Wine. The proprietors of Twist Wine have been huge supporters and hosts of the PCMF from the beginning. They are delightful people, big music fans and as a bonus, incredible winemakers. Dan Dover played first then I was second in my one solo set for the festival. Dale Jones & Ann Heyen were next followed by John Manns, Michael Henchman and Dan Weber. Later that evening Ed Haynes then Shane Brown (one of my faves!) played sets at The Oar House. By the end of Friday I was so incredibly exhausted but still somehow managed to stay up until 3:30am catching up with friends, new and old, sampling wines and jamming in the watery ocean evening.
Saturday the music started promptly at 1pm at the World Headquarters stage beginning with Andy Goncalves (or “Andy G”), Paul Kwitek, Jerry Towell, Jan Hutchison and Night Folk (Rich Waggoner & Doug “Uncle Spud” Henderson). A huge potluck dinner followed by Chris playing a couple solo songs followed by The AO (The Avett Others playing their original music--with yours truly). Dan Dover played a set, then Dan Weber, Jerry Towell and Michael Henchman put on their best Grateful Dead live show and turned the festival into a legitimate PARTY. Amplification was cut sometime around 11:30 but the music and the partying continued probably until dawn, though couldn’t keep my eyes open after the shamefully early hour of 1am. Since Chris and I got to stay in the tiny space nicknamed the Keebler House, situated just above the yard and campfire were the late night magic happens, I was lulled to sleep by the soothing guitar songs of my friends down below.
Sunday morning, we are all blissfully exhausted and spent from the weekend of music and friends. Goodbyes all around as the sun beats down concluding a weekend of perfect weather. Ten years of the PCMF and this is said to be the last. Will it be reincarnated next year into something vaguely similar or is it a true goodbye to an era?
One last walk on the beach, my feet in the cool water refreshes me for the 6 hour drive to Valley View Motel outside Sequim, Washington, where we’ll stay one night before catching the ferry from Port Angeles to Victoria, BC. Two weeks on Vancouver Island. To be continued...