When you mention Pickathon Music Festival to people who have not been, chances are they will have one of two reactions. They will either point out that it was the festival from Portlandia, or they will not know what you are talking about. Pickathon has certainly kept a lower profile nationally, as multi-day music festivals have been booming up across the country (its attendance is capped at 3,500 people), but it has been nurtured into one of the Pacific Northwest’s cultural touchstones and boasts one of the most eclectic lineup of folk, rock and indie acts in the nation.The best way to experience Pickathon is to go into with as open a mind as possible. This is not to prepare yourself for weird campground dynamics or odd late-night customs, but rather to counter the polarizing, preconceived notions of what a Portland festival might be. Yes, every third person dresses like they play in one of the bands or are already in a band, but it is the most polite, family-friendly, good-natured festival that I’ve ever attended. The peripheral party scene was smaller than most festivals and most people were hardcore music lovers just there to get their fix.Also the grounds at Pendarvis Farm also offer some of the prettier, intimate settings to see music. The Mt. Hood Stage looks like a carnival day dream with colorful, tent canvases framing the bands beautifully, and at only about three feet above the ground with no barricade you couldn’t get any closer to headlining bands like Beach House and Jeff Tweedy. When you venture into the woods, you are greeted by the Woods Stage, a natural amphitheater with a stage made entirely out of intertwining branches; It is an enchanted hovel that is as picturesque as they come. It is Pickathon’s crown jewel of concert spaces and it’s one of the most memorable places to see live music in the United States.Friday, August 5thCome Friday morning, the hills were alive with the sounds of thousands of people settling into their festival bungalows for the weekend. Little campsites were carved into terraces among the ferny brush with hammocks swinging among the emerald leaves. People bent mossy branches into entrance arches and strung lights from the trees to personalize their areas, creating a connected atmosphere between people and nature. The array of tents in the forest hills felt like an invading army gearing up for a siege, though the tapestries and Christmas lights hinted that the army came in stoned, blissful peace. Thursday was the official first day of Pickathon, but the festival didn’t really settle into cruising speed until Friday afternoon when the majority of Pickers had arrived. Building on momentum from Thursday night, Nashville’s Promised Land Sound delivered a satisfying set heavy on its most recent LP, For “Use And Delight”. Bassist Joe Scala and guitarist Peter Stringer-Hye’s melodies on songs like “She Takes Me There” blew through the crowd like a warm, summer breeze, before guitarist Sean Thompson would surge through it with determined electricity like an afternoon thunderstorm.Later in the day Kevin Morby made his second straight appearance at Pickathon on the Treeline Stage. Morby bounced on stage to his kinetic, Brooklyn-meets-surf guitar rock like any other fan, long locks swishing back and forth across his face. The MVP of the crisp set though was guitarist Meg Duffy, who found the back pocket it every song and made them her own, especially a light solo on “Miles Miles Miles” that felt like she was releasing butterflies into the air.“This place makes me want to howl, give the woods some noise,” Patrick Watson demanded from the crowd during a late afternoon slot at the Woods Stage. Watson swept the crowd off its feet with his textured, elegant pop music and the delicate setting only enhanced the serenity of the set. It was music to be born to, live to and die to, a whole life’s worth of emotions and experiences tied together over the course of an hour.Having come back from a 2011 hiatus earlier this year, indie stalwarts Wolf Parade had a lot of expectations to live up to for their headlining slot at the Mt. Hood Stage Friday night. They exceeded those expectations with a fiery, heart-on-its-sleeve performance that invigorated dedicated fans and wowed new ones. When the the band burst open its climatic anthem “I Believe In Anything,” the genuine displays of joy on people throughout the crowd who had waited for years for Wolf Parade to emerge again showed they still did.Saturday, August 6thWith the hustle and bustle of Friday over, Saturday was about letting the festival come to you rather than you come to the festival. Looking at the schedule that meant settling in amongst the hay bales and mossy trees at the Woods Stage for the first part of the day for a string of acoustic and folk acts whose sound resonated with the floral majesty of the place.Irish string band I Draw Slow were emotional force to reckon with on stage as they bounced between tender ballads and charged breakdowns. Louise Holden’s golden pipes were a revelation and its closing barn burner “Lowdown Girl Like Me” is the exact kind of whiskey-in-the-veins song that runs like a river and will have your hairs standing up on the back of your neck.Emotional charged protest songs are not usually ones to tap your foot to, but Hurray for the Riff Raff proved that songs with a message could also have groove to them. Alynda Lee Segarra’s tales of the disenfranchised and oppressed floated on a rhythm of New Orleans-inspired folk and blues, her voice laid back but reverent for the stories she was telling. Amongst favorites like “Look Out Mama and “The Body Electric,” the band showcased some new songs on the horizon, like “Nothing’s Gonna Change That Girl” that had an easy, rolling tide to it. The impressive balance of stories and music from Hurray for the Riff Raff made it one of the best acts of the festival.North Carolina’s Mount Moriah rounded out the initial lineup of Woods Stage artists with frontwoman Heather McIntire’s brand of mountainous, country rock that could sweetly cut you down to size. She had the look In her embroidered black and tan cowboy shirt, but what really mattered was her incisive lyrics and palpable energy playing the guitar. She drew from the band’s most recent LP How To Dance and a lot of people surely went looking for it at the merchandise table to take home with them after her impressive showcase.Saturday’s headliners Yo La Tengo and Jeff Tweedy couldn’t have provided a more satisfying one-two punch for Pickathon. Yo La Tengo has been a critical darling for much of its career and has been one of a handful of indie bands that demand attention anytime they put out something new. Friday evening they played a reserved, mellow set at the Woods stage, but Saturday evening’s show was an hour of fuzzy, tonal soundscapes that pulled at the fabric of your face and eardrums.Where Tengo provided the weird, Tweedy provided the familiar. The Wilco frontman is one of the best songwriters of his generation and his time with Uncle Tupelo and Wilco have spawned a whole generation of musicians looking for that alt-country sound that is as influenced by Johnny Cash and Gram Parsons as it is Television and Elvis Costello. From “I Am Trying To Break Your Heart” to “Hummingbird,” Tweedy felt more like he was bringing up old memories than he was singing songs and the stripped-down set allowed the normally reserved guitarist to open up with sarcastic banter and one liners.Sunday, August 7thOvercast clouds greeted Pickers Sunday morning, fitting the narrative that Portland is gray most of the year. Along with its iconic weather, Portland is home to a comprehensive music scene that applauds the unique and idiosyncratic and the last day of the festival supported that ethos with a delightfully varied lineup.There was some musical gumbo happening on the Mt. Hood Stage Sunday that had people dancing all day long. Keyboardist extraordinaire Cory Henry laid down some seriously slick tunes with drummer Tayron Lockett that defined how much talent that man has in his fingers. It was all covers, like Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy,” but the duo crammed them full with syncopated tangents and heady jams whose musical complexity belied the laid back charm of their playing.Later, Thao & The Get Down Stay Down, led by the insatiable powder keg Thao Nguyen, got the festival hopped up on its unique wavelength. The band is not afraid of nothing and its jangly funk is filled with a spirit for life and dancing, a band that flies its freak flag proudly. Ezra Furman is another artist that protests the conventional norms and his message of spiritual and sexual freedom shot through the amplifiers with a punk-inspired, 50’s rock and roll sound resonated throughout a stoked crowd. And nothing is more rock and roll than a man playing rock and roll in a dress and pearls.Scandinavia had a big day in the northwest on Sunday as both Daniel Norgen and My Bubba wooed people with their songs. Norgen’s set was one of the most attended Woods Stage performances of the weekend and his high, piney voice fit well amongst the foliage as lovers’ hands intertwined. His songs were both ecstatic and poignant in nature, especially the closing “Whatever Turns You On” which drew a huge standing ovation from the onlookers. On the Treeline Stage female duo My Bubba were far more reserved but equally fascinating. The duo played prickly, delicate ballads whose intimacy and detail made them feel like they had been passed down from generations. They were quiet but they demanded as much attention as anyone playing that weekend.Headliners Beach House electrified the night with a magical show that blended its spacey, synth-based pop with a dazzling light display. The band was lost in a haze of smoke and color and the absence of any physical representation of the group brought to the forefront the power of its songs that pulsed into the night. When it was done, the festival capped off its weekend with performances on the Starlight Stage including stunning Portland folk trio Joseph, whose celestial harmonies rang true under the stars and yearning, acerbic tones from Yemen Blues.Whatever you might think of Pickathon, don’t let the cultural misconceptions and noise surrounding the festival be a factor in your view. Those who attend will recognize that it is one of the greenest, eclectic, enjoyable festivals in the country whose integrity is built on a bedrock of inspirational musical experiences rather than a mountain of flannels and PBRs.
With increased electronic communication leaving many members of older generations behind, a partnership between the Microsoft Corporation and the National 4-H Council has mobilized an energized group of 4-H Technology Changemakers to help provide resources and training to level the playing field.One of the first sites selected to begin implementing the 4-H Tech Changemakers program was Murray County, Georgia, where 4-H youth began working with older individuals living in rural communities on the value and use of technology and digitalization.“An average of 20 to 25 youth became active 4-H Tech Changemakers,” said Stephanie Skojac, a 4-H agent with University of Georgia Cooperative Extension in Murray County. “An average of 15 older adults would attend monthly meetings at the senior center, where the youth would act as the teachers in order to bridge the digital divide in our community.”As modern technology becomes a more integral part of everyday life, many older members of the community find it challenging to acquire new digital skills on their own.4-H Tech Changemakers is designed to bridge the digital divide between generations with a strategy geared toward combining the accessibility and affordability of broadband internet with the willingness of community members to adopt and use new technologyWith an increased number of people confined to their homes due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for electronic equity is greater than ever.“Although this project began long before the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen the impacts of the digital divide now more than ever,” said Kasey Bozeman, UGA Extension 4-H specialist for science and environmental education. “A strong body of research indicates that people are less likely to purchase internet services if they do not have strong digital literacy skills. Not only can 4-H youth teach these skills to their peers and adults, but they can also advocate for this critical need that benefits their entire community.”The Murray County program began serving members at the local senior center, a hub for citizens over the age of 50 to gather and gain access to a variety of services. Seeing a greater need for digital literacy and resources within their community, youth from fourth through 12th grades had the opportunity to instruct the seniors while gaining their own benefits from the collaboration.“I found it surprising that the Murray County 4-H Tech Changemakers program not only helped older adults with their digital literacy skills but helped the youth develop leadership skills through teaching,” said Skojac. “Most importantly, it created lasting relationships between these older adults and the youth. They looked forward to seeing one another every month and that made this program very rewarding.”For youth chosen to lead this project, the change in perspective has helped them grow and appreciate the progress in their community.“Seniors are sometimes made to feel dumb when they don’t understand technology,” said Boaz Whealy, a 4-H Tech Changemaker attending Murray County High. “It’s really exciting when they begin to understand and start to love using technology.”For more information on the 4-H Technology Changemakers program, visit georgia4h.org and 4h.org.
Police identified the fatalities as57-year-old Celsa Marabulas, 24-year-old Jason Mendoza and 37-year-old ArchieCastillio. According to police investigators, a vehicledriven by 28-year-old Feb Dharel Medina crashed against a pedicab driven byCastillio with Marabaulas and Diasanta as passengers around 4 a.m. on Sept.24. BACOLOD City – Three persons were killed andtwo others were wounded in a road crash in Barangay Bubog, Talisay City, NegrosOccidental. Castillio, Marabulas and Mendoza died on thespot, the police added. Wounded were 36-year-old Rollin Diasanta and23-year-old Rutchil Marabaulas, a police report showed. It also hit another pedicab driven byMarabulas with Mendoza as passenger, police said. Medina, meanwhile, was detained in the lockupcell of the Talisay City police station, facing charges./PN