Walking down the trodden dirt path of the Oregon Country Fair can be intimidating at first. To your left, there’s a beeswax candle merchant; to your right is a group of leather-clad didgeridoo players. Straight ahead, on a wooden stage in a meadow, a jam band that may or not be the Grateful Dead reincarnated plays.
The Fair offers a ton of great live music from which to chose, and here are a few acts you won’t want to miss.
In Indian cooking, taarka refers to the roasted spices used for the base of a delicious dish. Similarly, Taarka, the band, combines different styles of music to create a delectable and addicting musical meal. Blend classical violin with dreamy harmonies, mandolin, tenor guitar and bass — and out comes Taarka, the Eastern European folk-indie-bluegrass band.
Taarka even verges on electronic, not in the types of instruments but in the layering of musical components that creates a mesmerizing soundscape. Since 2002, the band has frequented OCF, travelling from Lyons, Colorado. Husband-and-wife team David and Enion Pelta-Tiller take vocals, backed with violin, mandolin and guitar. The duo has also performed with members of the Grateful Dead and Phish.
Taarka is for fans of everything from Beirut to Yonder Mountain String Band.
Taarka plays noon Friday, July 10, at Hoarse Chorale; 4:45 pm Saturday, July 11, at Shady Grove Stage; and 11:35 am Sunday, July 12, at Main Stage.
No band is better suited to play the Fair than Blue Lotus, who formed at OCF in 2010 when singer Brandelyn Rose and guitarist Felix Blades met. Since then, the Eugene outfit has released five albums of funky rock jams.
The latest album by Blue Lotus, Across The Canyon, was produced by Ninkasi Brewing. In 2014, WOW Hall awarded them “Favorite Local Band” for the year.
Similar in aesthetic and sound to the Grateful Dead — check out, “Mama Freight Train,” an 11-minute jam — Blue Lotus is perfect to serve as the trippy soundtrack to the weekend. Check them out before they embark on their summer tour that takes them as far as Colorado and Montana.
Blue Lotus plays 11:30 am Friday, July 10, at Main Stage; 5:45 pm Saturday, July 11, at Hoarse Chorale; and 6:15 pm Sunday, July 12, at Kesey Stage.
THE FIRE WEEDS
This three-piece bluegrass group from Portland not only puts the “country” in Oregon Country Fair, but the blues, rock and Americana as well. Formed by multi-instrumentalist Alan Glickenhaus, the band incorporates bassist Alik Berg and guitarist and mandolinist Mike Moore — two musicians who’ve been around since the early ’90s — to create a musical experience worthy of hip sways, head bobs and quiet nostalgia.
With lyrics about slowing down and taking time to appreciate nature, The Fire Weeds effectively capture OCF’s ethos: “Waiting for tomorrow/ You risk the here and now.”
The Fire Weeds play 6 pm Friday, July 10, at Community Village and 3:15 pm Saturday, July 11, at Kesey Stage.