If you are looking to boogie down this summer, you’ll find the perfect opportunity under the Hawthorne Bridge this July. From the 21st to the 23rd , the PDX Pop Now! 2017 music festival will feature local and national music talent, and it’s perfect for all your kid-friendly dancing needs. With more than 35 bands playing on two outdoor stages, there will be something to satisfy everyone’s ears. Read on to get the scoop. 

photo: Jay Roc via flickr

The Music

This unique annual event—now in its 13th consecutive year—is a great way to get outside, enjoy live music & entertainment, and wear your little ones out in the process. Showcasing Portland musicians, bands and graphic artists, you and yours can get some genuine Portland flavor, all for free and without having to hit the usual clubs or the 21-year age mark (or even the 18-year one).

On both Saturday and Sunday, your littles will have the inspiring opportunity to see other young ones on stage. Opening acts start at noon on both days, and featrure youth bands that were selected to participate by the local non-profit Friends of Noise. Friends of Noise will also have a booth at the event, so your clan can get the inside scoop on other all-ages music events and opportunities.

While the lineup hasn’t been announced yet, you can count on seeing some familiar faces along with new names in the Portland scene. Bands that have played the festival in the past include some big acts like Blitzen Trapper and Red Fang, along with more local favorites like Maze Koroma and Lithics. Check back on their Facebook event page or the schedule page on their website to stay updated on lineup announcements.

photo: Ecotrust via flickr

The Cause

PDX Pop Now! is a non-profit that raises money to help celebrate our unique music scene and further music education in the community. All the money from the festival, CD compilations sales, fundraisers and donations go into keeping the organization going. The outreach program specifically works to expose young students to music and art as fans, listeners, and creators. Going into local schools with full-day, free workshops, PDX Pop Now! helps introduce kids to all aspects of music. The workshops cross a wide range of disciplines, including hands-on experience with instruments, lyric writing, even down the to technical side of recording music with sound engineers. Completely staffed by volunteers, both the 3-day festival and the outreach programs aim to broaden horizons. So you can feel good about supporting music & art in your city, and your kiddos can have fun while you’re at it.

photo: Brian Brewer via flickr

Extra Fun

In addition to grooving out, there will be even more entertainment for your crew: a street fair for shopping, food trucks for fueling up (including Ben & Jerry’s to keep you all cool), and a chance to watch bands play a game of sorta-basketball against each other as part of the Rigsketball tournament. There will also be a beer garden if you need a break from the family-fun (and have another adult to watch over your youngsters).

photo: Salvation Army USA West via flickr

On the visual art side, the featured graphic artist this year is Portland-based artist Manu Berelli. His style will captivate grown-ups and kids alike, using public-domain imagery from classic comics to create some truly original collages.

So take your tykes out for some great tunes and enjoy some authentic Portland entertainment!


Where: AudioCinema
226 SE Madison St
When: Jul 21-23; Friday, 6 p.m. – 1 a.m, Saturday 12 p.m. – 1 a.m., Sunday 12 p.m. – 10 p.m.
Cost: Free
Online: pdxpopnow.com

How do you and yours enjoy music in the city? Let us know in the comments!

—Bess Dwyer