Music Season

Festivals sound off for a summer of fun


by Gregg Morris

Photo Courtesy: James Montes De Oca

Few things are as synonymous with a Pacific Northwest summer as hitting the road for live music. Luckily, summer music festivals dot the calendar and landscape from Southern Oregon to Northern Idaho. Classical music lovers can appreciate orchestras from across the globe, while those looking to dance may find their favorite band performing on a main stage to accompany their steps.

Music lovers find festivals with nonstop music packed into one day or others with performances spread throughout the summer. Some festivals, such as Vanport Jazz Festival in Portland, Oregon, offer music in one location, while the Sisters Folk Festival declares, “all the town’s a stage.” Whether to find a favored genre or discover a diversity of artists, festivals offer a chance to get away and meet up with lifelong friends, and make some new ones along the way. A festival-goer needs only decide if they want to bring the children, and if they want to sleep in a tent, RV or hotel bed. Reviewing the day’s musical exploration at the end of a day or swapping stories in the sun is all that’s needed to make the most of a summer adventure. Plus, many festivals offer extracurricular activities to pair with the event, such as backstage VIP meet and greets, educational workshops or culinary tastings. There’s always plenty to keep everyone occupied on a musical getaway.

Here are some music festivals not to be missed in Oregon and Idaho.

Britt Music & Arts Festival

June to September | Jacksonville, Oregon

Photo Courtesy: Jennifer Vanjaarsveld

A natural amphitheater located in the historic Southern Oregon town of Jacksonville is the site of the Britt Music & Arts Festival each summer, showcasing world-class touring musicians. When Portland conductor John Trudeau and his friend Sam McKinney found the acoustically pleasing natural amphitheater amidst ponderosa pines and madrones on the Jacksonville estate of Peter Britt, they were in luck. The festival was launched on that spot in 1963, and in 1978 the festival expanded to include pop artists such as Nickel Creek and Pink Martini. Today, the community-based nonprofit brings a wide range of musical experiences to Jacksonville. Staying true to its roots, 2024 marks the 62nd season of the official Britt Festival Orchestra, this year led by Peter Bay and Brazilian-born conductor Alexandra Arrieche. Catch the seven orchestral performances and 10 BrittKids Concerts, plus several special Star Wars soundtrack performances. Perhaps equal to the music, Jacksonville is packed with additional lures. It offers historic inns and B&Bs, quality wineries and places to paddle board or mountain bike on summer afternoons. See

Oregon Coast Music Festival

July 13 – 27 | Coos Bay, Oregon

Photo courtesy: Rob Kerr

The seaside Oregon Coast Music Festival runs for a fortnight in July and offers jazz, American Songbook, classical, and pops performances, plus preview seminars. The picturesque Coos Bay venues include the boathouse at the Oregon Institute of Marine Biology, Shore Acres State Park and the acoustically stunning Marshfield High School Auditorium.

Oregon Coast Music Festival has grown significantly since 1978 when the Willamette University professor of violin, Charles Heiden, put on a Haydn performance in an attempt to encourage local children to study orchestral music. Arrive to the festival early for free workshops conducted by orchestral musicians and open rehearsals that peel back the curtain on performance preparation.

The almost all-volunteer board schedules at least 10 performances during the festival, while the community hosts up to 80 orchestra players. Park your RV on the beach at Sun Outdoors RV Park and enjoy the state and county parks, museums or the world famous Oregon Sand Dunes. See

Sunriver Music Festival

August 9 – 23 | Central Oregon

Photo Courtesy: David Young-Wolff

Combining world-class orchestral performances with spectacular natural beauty gives the Sunriver Music Festival (SMF) an almost unfair advantage. Now in its 47th season, the SMF holds nine concerts and more than 14 rehearsals open to the public at venues in both Sunriver and Bend. In addition, they stay busy all year long with another nine concerts and an educational outreach initiative that includes an honored Young Artists Scholarship Program.

The two-week summer showcase includes four classical concerts, a pops concert, solo violin performance, and a “Discover the Symphony” concert. Arrive early to the Summer Concert Series and enjoy Bend’s Tower Theatre performance, complete with a family-friendly matinee and popular “Instrument Petting Zoo.” Stay late to experience the closing show at Sunriver Resort’s historic Great Hall. It’s no secret Central Oregon offers a landscape of natural entertainment with its lakes, rivers and trails, but the festival also overlaps with the nationally recognized Sunriver Art Fair. See

Sun Valley Jazz & Music Festival

October 16 – 20 | Sun Valley, Idaho

For those fostering a love for the traditional American music of jazz, big band swing and blues, the Sun Valley Jazz & Music Festival is the place to be each October. The festival takes visitors back to the days of Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald for four days and 38 shows in beautiful Central Idaho. Join attendees from around the globe for the 35th year of revisiting the big band sounds of yesteryear.

Make sure to catch the extremely popular Terry Myers Big Band Frank Sinatra Tribute for your dose of Ol’ Blue Eyes or the NOLA Rhythm & Blues set.

Park an RV at a designated dry-camping area or check in to the world famous Sun Valley Resort and visit the many restaurants, shops and spas that dot the area. After dancing amidst fall-colored aspens under blue skies, hit the trails or experience fly fishing in the Big Wood River. See 

Seasons for Music

Check out This Summer’s Festivals Around Oregon and Idaho

Photo Courtesy: Jennifer Vanjaarsveld

Britt Music & Arts Festival
June to September | Jacksonville, OR |

June and July

4 Peaks Music Festival
June 20-23 | Bend, OR |

Oregon Bach Festival
June 28-July 14 | Eugene, OR |

Big Ponderoo Music and Art Festival
June 29-30 | Sisters, OR |

Waterfront Blues Festival
July 4-7 | Portland, OR |

Oregon Coast Music Festival
July 13-27 | Coos Bay, OR |

The Summer Music Festival
July 18-20 | Roseberry, ID |

FairWell Festival
July 19-21 | Redmond, OR |

Festival at Sandpoint
July 25-Aug 4 |Sandpoint, ID |


Vanport Jazz Festival
August 2-3 | Portland, OR |

Yellow Pine Harmonica Festival
August 1-3 | Yellow Pine, ID |

August 1-4 | Happy Valley, OR |

Sunriver Music Festival
August 10-24 | Sunriver, OR |

Juniper Jam
August 31 | Enterprise, OR |

September and October

Cascade Equinox Festival
Sept. 20-22 | Redmond, OR |

Sisters Folk Festival
Sept. 27-29 | Sisters, OR |

Rock the Locks
Oct. 4-6 | Umatilla, OR |

Sun Valley Jazz & Music Festival
Oct. 17-20 | Sun Valley, ID |