Tiny music festival, big lineup


Screen Shot 2017-09-07 at 3.54.28 PMHALFWAY — Twelve bands from around the Pacific Northwest are booked for this year’s Pine Fest, set for Sept. 8 and 9 at the Pine Valley Fairgrounds. The festival, hailed as the “tiniest little music festival in the tiniest little town,” was named the 2016 Best Music Festival by the Oregon Festivals and Events Association.

The gate opens at 4 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. Saturday. Advance tickets, available through at www.pinefest.org, are $10 for Friday and $15 for Saturday. At the gate, those prices increase by $5.

Camping at the fairgrounds is available for $10 per night on a first come, first served basis. Attendees are encouraged to bring a lawn chair.

Food vendors include the MC Taco Bus from Baker City and Halfway’s The Main Place. The VFW Post #7847 will offer a selection of Barley Brown’s beers and the Bev’rage Cellar will serve wines. Several arts and crafts vendors are also booked for the festival, and Pine Fest merchandise — including T-shirts with custom artwork by Coco Forte — will be available along with tickets for the 50/50 raffle fundraiser and CDs from featured artists.

New to this year’s event is a live auction for two vacation trips to raise funds for future festivals. This auction is set for 7:45 p.m. Saturday and features two trips donated by local outfitters: a four-day float trip for two in Hells Canyon with Canyon Outfitters and a three- or four-day full service llama pack trip for two in the Wallowas with
Wallowa Llamas.

Pine Fest is put on by the nonprofit Cornucopia Arts Council, whose goal is to bring art, music and culture to an otherwise isolated part of Northeast Oregon. For more information or to order tickets, visit www.pinefest.org or the Pine Fest Facebook page.


Throughout both days, local musicians will play between the headliners for a continuous lineup of tunes.

Will West and the Friendly Strangers play Friday evening with a style described as “psychedelic bluegrass, folk and groove fusion.” West grew up in North Carolina and moved west in 2002.

The Robbie Laws Band, a nine-time winner of the Cascade Blues Association’s Best Electric Guitarist award, takes the stage as the last act Friday evening. A longtime protege of Baker City’s late Jimmy Lloyd Rea, Robbie brings his four-piece band from the Portland area.

Polly O’Keary and the Rhythm Method finishes out the festival on Saturday. She was voted Blues Female Vocalist and Blues Songwriter for 2017 by the Washington Blues Society, and her husband and drummer, Tommy Cook, won the WBS Blues Drummer 2017 award. Joined by guitarist Dave Miller, the band comes to Pine Fest for the second time.

Friday, Sept. 8

  • 4:45 p.m.: The Friday Night All-Stars
  • 5:50 p.m.: G7s
  • 6:15 p.m.: Will West & the Friendly Strangers
  • 7:30 p.m.: Paparazzi
  • 7:45 p.m.: Robbie Laws Band

Saturday, Sept. 9

  • 2:15 p.m.: Greg Ernst
  • 3:35 p.m.: The Retunes
  • 4 p.m.: Guess When
  • 5:25 p.m.: MarimbaCopia
  • 5:45 p.m.: Chaz Browne
  • 7:30 p.m.: Sagebrush Swingers
  • 7:45 p.m.: Auction
  • 8 p.m.: Polly O’Keary & the Rhythm Method
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