If you go

What: 4 Peaks Music Festival

When: June 21-24

Where: D.M. Stevenson Ranch, 21085 Knott Road, Bend

Cost: $200 plus fees for full festival (includes camping), $70 for young adults, free for kids ages 10 and younger, $110 for Saturday-Sunday ticket, $25 for Sunday only (includes vehicle impact fee), $20 vehicle impact fee, RV pass $150, $700 for unfurnished luxury yurt package (includes two tickets), $900 for furnished luxury yurt package (includes two tickets)

Contact: 4peaksmusic.com

In 2007, the 4 Peaks Music Festival launched with local band Blackstrap Bluegrass — then only about 3 years old — in the lineup.

The festival and band have changed quite a bit since. After years of steady growth and the departure of all but one of the festival’s founders, 4 Peaks found a new home last year at D.M. Stevenson Ranch, where it will return June 21 through 24 for its 11th edition. Blackstrap Bluegrass has gone through at least five lineup changes, with banjoist and founding member Steve Arnold the sole remaining original member.

These Bend institutions will reunite June 24, with Blackstrap slated to perform three unplugged “in-betweener” sets on the Lava Rock Stage. While Blackstrap hasn’t performed at 4 Peaks since the first edition, Arnold has regularly attended the festival and noticed the leg up it has given to local artists over the past decade-plus.

“It’s a cool experience as a musician because I see a lot of festivals and there isn’t — it’s hard to get those local bands,” Arnold said. “I like seeing the regional bands at festivals that have some local flavor. And I think actually a lot of bigger festivals are starting to do more of that. We played at the String Summit — we got in the String Summit band contest one year, it was I think right around 2005 or something. That was the coolest thing I ever did. … But it’s rare; we had 2 minutes or whatever. We had 3 minutes (in) a band contest at String Summit, but other than that, it’s hard to get into that kind of scene.”

At 4 Peaks, local artists get full sets every year. This year’s event also will feature performances from Central Oregon artists Travis Ehrenstrom Band (June 21 on the Lava Rock Stage), the Maxwell Friedman Group and ¡Chiringa! (June 24 on the Lava Rock Stage), as well as yoga each morning June 22 through 24 on the Lava Rock Stage with local instructor Nicole Baumann of The Yoga Lab.

“For me, it’s one of the most important aspects because we started this festival based on the Central Oregon and local communities coming together for a multiday camping (and) music festival that we just didn’t have in this region,” festival organizer and co-founder Stacy Koff said. “So every year we showcase local bands, but in order to make it a viable, multiday festival where people come from all over, we have to obviously have the regional and national acts as well. So it also gives the local acts a chance to be on a stage and intermingling all weekend with bigger acts from all over the country.”

Latin dance/rock band ¡Chiringa! will get that chance for the first time this year. This will be frontwoman Shireen Amini’s first 4 Peaks as a spectator as well as a performer, and she said she is looking forward to sharing a bill with one of her favorite bands, June 22 headliner Nahko and Medicine for the People (see an interview with Nahko on P.3). She said she’s noticed 4 Peaks’ growing reputation on the festival circuit, and is hoping the appearance gives her band a leg up in that world.

“To just even see our names on the same bill as some of these folks, it really — you never know what magic connections can come from it,” Amini said, “especially since we’re so tied to Bend and then these big-name acts are coming here and getting to feel that special quality that Bend offers. … There’s more of an impression because they associate it with also this awesome town. But also it gives us confidence … that we can actually move in the same direction (that) some of these big-name acts have achieved.”

Friedman, 14, known as a local prodigy on organ and keyboard, sat in with Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe at last year’s 4 Peaks, and said he has attended the festival almost every year since 2007. This year will be his first time performing a full set at the festival as a bandleader.

“Since I’ve been going there, that’s been my dream to actually play in front of people at this festival where I grew up,” Friedman said, “and make people happy, because listening to musicians there makes me happy. That’s my whole goal, is to make people feel good.”

For Arnold, 4 Peaks still feels like a well-kept secret on Bend’s music scene, despite its steady growth.

“I think the coolest thing about 4 Peaks is it’s so intimate for you to see the level of bands they have,” he said.

“That’s what people don’t realize. And it’s a much different experience than Les Schwab, and it’s a much different experience than anything with that level of bands that I’ve seen.”

Arnold and the rest of Blackstrap Bluegrass — upright bassist Craig Mavis, guitarist Jak Rands and mandolinist Derek Hofbauer — plan to release their third album and first in 13 years, “Closed Doors,” sometime in August. The album, written over the course of the last three years, was recorded at Dale Largent Recording. Largent’s involvement makes sense: He also produced Blackstrap’s 2005 offering, “Tales from the American Roadside,” and is the percussionist for fellow bluegrass-inspired band Moon Mountain Ramblers, which formed around the same time as Blackstrap.

“I would give (Moon Mountain Ramblers) I think more credit for really being at the head of that music scene,” Arnold said. “They’ve kind of helped just promote local music and writing their own music. And actually, when they released their latest CD (last year’s ‘A Little After Midnight’), that kind of just gave us a kick in the ass to move forward with (our album) and put it out.”

Around the early 2000s, at the time both bands formed, bluegrass-inspired musicians were few and far between in Bend, Arnold said.

“We’d have to kind of throw a show together at the Midtown and just kind of promote it, be our own promoters,” Arnold said.

But it didn’t take long for Blackstrap’s energetic take on newgrass to pick up steam.

“That was kind of right when people were into the jam, like the Yonder Mountain jamgrass thing, and I think there was a lot of people that were just into that genre,” Arnold said. “There still is, which is why I guess I try to keep it going.”

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