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Portland on Stage: Rock and Pop

Musicians from around the world enjoy playing to Portland’s packed houses of enthusiastic music lovers — some artists like it so much, they stay; indie rock transplants include Modest Mouse and members of Spoon and Gang of Four. The city’s diverse venues showcase everything from Top 40 to punk.

Portland is also dedicated to developing the next generation of musicians; since its founding in 2001, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Camp for Girls has schooled hundreds of girls in the ways of rock. Originally built as a vaudeville house in 1928, the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall is a National Historic Register property whose Broadway marquee is crowned by a 65-foot-high (19.8-meter-high) “Portland” sign illuminated with 6,000 lights. In addition to resident companies like the Oregon Symphony, the “Schnitz” regularly hosts touring artists, from Norah Jones to Tom Jones.

McMenamins Crystal Ballroom, a renovated 1914 dance hall, plays host to many national acts and “rocks” with its unique floating dance floor. Another McMenamins property, the White Eagle Saloon and Rock ‘n’ Roll Hotel, features nightly live music and 11 guest rooms above the bar. If the music doesn’t keep you awake, the ghosts that are purported to inhabit this 1905 building just might.

Nearby, Mississippi Studios has made a name for itself as an acoustic mecca, eliciting intimate performances from acts both local and national in its cozy venue. The Doug Fir Lounge anchors the burgeoning East Burnside district. With its fir-walled restaurant and acoustically impeccable subterranean music venue, the Doug Fir attracts hip acts from around the globe. The adjoining Jupiter Hotel offers reasonably priced rooms and matches the club’s mid-century aesthetic.

Portland offers two annual rock festivals. MusicFest NW features national and local acts performing in venues around town for four days each September. PDX Pop Now! is a free, all-ages festival that highlights as many as 50 Portland artists at a single venue over the course of two days every summer.

Entertainment, Performing Arts



Document Information
Source: Portland Oregon Visitors Association
Last modified: 20080804
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