PREVIEW: Northwest String Summit 2016


Horning's Hideout
North Plains, OR

Words By Mitch Melheim
Photos By Jason Charme Photography


Another year, another stellar line up for what has become the country’s premiere jamgrass event, the Northwest String Summit. Held just outside of Portland, Oregon at beautiful Horning’s Hideout, attendees can expect a jam-packed weekend full of pickin’ as well as an abundance of shade from the heavily forested grounds.

Festival hosts’ Yonder Mountain String Band return for their 15th straight year to play their usual three nights, this time including an all-electric Pink Floyd set covering the album “Animals” in its entirety. The Floyd set will take place Saturday night, presumably continuing the String Summit tradition of an amplified non-bluegrass set to close out the main stage on Saturday night.

Festival regulars Greensky Bluegrass will once again appear for multiple nights. This year playing a headlining two-set Thursday show as well as a Saturday set sandwiched in between Yonder’s late night and Leftover Salmon, who will be opening up for Greensky the following weekend at the legendary Red Rocks Amphitheatre. Salmon also has a late night set on Friday billed as “Leftover Salmon & Friends” which promises to be a highlight of the weekend.

The Infamous Stringdusters will be playing two nights as well. The first of which is Thursday’s late night in the tent, which if anything like last year’s late night is not to be missed. Nicki Bluhm joins the Stringdusters for their second set which kicks off an outstanding Friday night that is followed by Railroad Earth and Yonder Mountain String Band to close out the main stage for the night.

Keller Williams returns again, this time with two different bands than last time. The first, his funk band More Than A Little, plays a 1:45 AM late night set Saturday in the tent. Keller’s second set will provide us with another unique take on the Grateful Dead, Keller Williams’ Grateful Gospel. Last year’s Grateful Grass set proved to be one of the highlights of the weekend so I have high hopes for the Grateful Gospel set, fittingly scheduled for Sunday afternoon and featuring former Melvin Seals & JGB guitarist, Stu Allen.

Other must-see shows include both sets from hometown favorites Fruition, especially their festival closing set Sunday night, Cabinet (two nights), The Lil’ Smokies, Horseshoes & Hand Grenades (two nights), Billy Strings (two nights), Larry Keel’s Even Keel Band and Danny Barnes (two nights).

Aside from the heap of nationally touring acts, Portland’s local music scene is represented strongly at Northwest String Summit as well. Some Portland talent not to miss while you’re in their neck of the woods would be the Shook Twins (two nights), Yak Attack, World’s Finest, MarchFourth! Marching Band, Scott Law, John Craigie, Pete Kartsounes, Cascade Crescendo, Bigfoot Mojo, Ben Larsen, Brad Parsons, and Hornings’ favorite all-female supergroup Sideboob which consists of Allie Kral (Yonder), Mimi Naja (Fruition), the Shook Twins, and Kat Fountain playing fun and unsuspecting R&B/Pop/Hip-Hop covers.

For tickets and more information head over to www.stringsummit.com!

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