Three days. Eight stages. Nearly 100 (mostly) local musical acts.
Now in its sixth year, the basics of the Bend Roots Revival are pretty much the same as they've always been, if a little bigger all around.
But dig a bit and you'll find an underlying theme for the 2011 version of this celebration of local arts that happens this weekend (see “If you go”).
That theme can be summed up in one word: New.
There's a new stage layout. Organizers have created more space between stages in an effort to address the “sound bleed” that plagued the festival in 2010, its first at Bend's Century Center complex. (They've also scheduled bands more thoughtfully, working to ensure an acoustic troubadour isn't drowned out by a rock band on a nearby stage.)
There's also a new partnership with local humanitarian group Rise Up, and with it a renewed focus on Bend Roots' educational component.
Roots founder Mark Ransom has always touted his goal of furthering arts education in the community; Rise Up's involvement will give Roots supporters a vehicle to sponsor such efforts, he said.
“(Rise Up) is all about education and the arts (and) I wanted a partner that would create a channel for educational outreach,” he said. “This year, the focus is that channel. When you support Bend Roots, your money goes three places: to pay for the festival this year, a little seed money for (next year), and to educational outreach, which we're calling the Rise Up-Roots Educational Project.”
Ransom is committed to keeping the Revival a free event, so the two groups will raise money via donations, sales of Roots and Rise Up merchandise, and by taking control of some beer sales at the festival. (Original vendors Parrilla Grill and The Victorian Cafe are still on board, too, he said.)
The setup — specifically Rise Up's nonprofit status — will put Ransom closer to his original idea of Roots as a year-round supporter of the arts and arts education.
“I think the vision was always there,” he said. “At the core of it, it's a revival. It's a grassroots uprising to support the arts. It's not just a festival that happens once a year.”
It is the festival, however, that has become wildly popular, drawing an estimated 4,500 people last year. And this year, there's new blood on the stages. From the groovy jam-rock of Your Birthday and The Dream Symphony to the youthful exuberance of Three Up Two Down and The Code to the easygoing folk-pop of Aisea Taimani and Consider the Fox, new faces and names dot the schedule.
Add in some talented regional artists (Brooks Robertson, Pete Kartsounes, Kathy Marshall among them) and the popular cornerstones of the local scene (Mosley Wotta, Empty Space, Anastacia, Moon Mountain Ramblers, etc.) and you've got a well-rounded grassroots gathering.
At the Bend Roots Revival, even “new” feels familiar. It's that same feeling you get when you're at home, surrounded by friends and family.