The Full MusicfestNW 2013 Preview

Travel Hymns MusicfestNW 2013 Preview

MusicfestNW Ticket Prices

MusicfestNW (MFNW) – you have our attention.

Ever wonder how a city as cool as Portland hardly resonates within the major US music festival circuit? Although it’s technically existed since 1995, Portland’s MusicfestNW has finally piqued our interest – this year’s lineup might just (rightfully) bring Portland into the major music festival spotlight.

MusicfestNW was originally founded by Mark Zusman and Richard Meeker in 1995, billed as a joint venture between Willamette Week, Meeker and Zusman’s Portland Pulitzer Prize-winning alternative weekly, and South by Southwest – the annual music and arts festival hosted in Austin, Texas. As a nod to its predecessors, the festival was named North by Northwest until 2001. Willamette Week would later change the festival’s name to MFNW.

Unique to other major music festivals, MusicfestNW has grown to become the third largest indoor festival in the US – more than 150 bands playing throughout 18 of Portland’s classic venues. The main stages include the Crystal Ballroom, Roseland Theater and Doug Fir.

There’s a different air to MusicfestNW, separating it from other draws around the country. This perhaps explains the festival’s relatively slow growth – just don’t tell the locals that. They’re (rightfully) proud MusicfestNW is billed as one of Time’s 50 Authentic American Experiences.

MusicfestNW has added different Portland venues to its base since its inception, including Pioneer Courthouse Square – often referred to as ‘Portland’s living room’. More than 34000 music fans attended MusicfestNW in 2012, featuring major artists such as Girl Talk, Beirut, Passion Pit, Silversun Pickups, Dinosaur Jr., The Tallest Man on Earth, Yelawolf, The Hives and a whole hell of a lot more.

MFNW carries an unmistakable level of authenticity, making moves to create a memorable music festival that has flown relatively under the radar. MusicfestNW is a music festival with a visible soul. We can’t wait to experience it this September.

MusicfestNW 2013 Mix

MusicfestNW Ticket Prices

MusicfestNW Ticket Prices

General Information

All GA Wristband Holders (Except All Show & VIP Wristbands) must have a ticket to get into the shows at Pioneer Courthouse Square.  A wristband alone does not grant you entry to Pioneer Courthouse Square (unless it is a All Show Wristband or VIP Wristband). For more information see our FAQ page.  If you’d like to buy individual tickets to any of the shows at Pioneer Courthouse Square see below.

Individual Tickets

A limited number of advance tickets are available for each show at Pioneer Courthouse Square.

Additional Venues

A limited number of advanced guaranteed entry tickets are available for each show at the Aladdin Theater, Crystal Ballroom, Wonder Ballroom and Roseland Theater.  Admission is also granted with a MusicfestNW wristband (capacity restrictions apply for wristband holders).

Understand Your MusicfestNW Tickets

According to MusicfestNW Official Site: MusicfestNW Wristbands and Tickets are available of purchase online at  This year tickets and wristbands are also on sale with no service fee at the MusicfestNW box office located at: Willamette Week – 2220 NW Quimby st. Portland, OR 97210.  The Box Office is open 9:00 am to 5:00 pm Monday-Friday.

MusicfestNW General Admission Wristband + (Young The Giant, Animal Collective, The Head And The Heart, or Neko Case Ticket) – $90

This wristband guarantees free entry (capacity permitting) at any MFNW club show and comes with a ticket (ticket guarantees Pioneer Courthouse Square admission) to your choice of ONE of the four shows at Pioneer Courthouse Square. Be sure to purchase your desired headliner to gain admittance.

MusicfestNW All Show Wristband – $150

This wristband guarantees free entry at any MFNW club show (capacity permitting) and grants instant access to ALL FOUR nights at Pioneer Courthouse Square.  Buy THIS ticket if you choose to see Young The Giant on 9/5, Animal Collective on 9/6, The Head and The Heart on 9/7, and Neko Case on 9/8. All Show wristband holders do not need tickets for admission to Pioneer Courthouse Square.

MusicfestNW VIP Wristband – $300

Guaranteed immediate ENTRY to all MFNW shows, including ALL FOUR nights at Pioneer Courthouse Square, Young The Giant on 9/5, Animal Collective on 9/6, The Head and The Heart on 9/7, and Neko Case on 9/8.  Must be 21 or older to purchase.  Does not guarantee access to the Nike shows at Wonder Ballroom.
VIP wristband holders do not need tickets for admission to Pioneer Courthouse Square.

Is MusicfestNW VIP Worth It?

Is MusicfestNW VIP Worth It?

Is MusicfestNW VIP worth it? We asked a former VIP Wristband purchaser to form our opinion for this year.

“Personally, while I think your travel expenses always factor in, MFNW VIP is totally worth it. Simply put, it’s the only way to experience everything the festival has to offer. Compared to other VIP prices, this is a hell of a bargain.”

There’s plenty of amazing shows to choose from over the course of this festival. If you want to save yourself the trouble of having to decide where your loyalties lie, purchase yourself a VIP wristband before available quantities are entirely sold out.

You get guaranteed access to every night shows held at the beautiful Pioneer Courthouse Square. As an added bonus, you’ll receive access to all official MusicfestNW parties – and these are occasionally a bigger draw than some of the bigger shows.

Keep in mind, you’ll need to be +21 to purchase VIP wristbands. We personally love this option as it separates the adult crowd from some of the younger festival attendants. It’s a nice way to ensure you’re primarily gravitating your festival experience among peers.

Finally, while access is not necessarily guaranteed in this circumstance, VIP members can generally take advantage of the Nike shows held at the Wonder Ballroom.

VIP MusicfestNW wristbands are serious perks on a budget.

What’s the Weather at MusicfestNW Like?

What’s the Weather at MusicfestNW Like?

Wondering what’s the weather at MusicfestNW like? You clearly missed that whole ‘indoor festival’ section. Let’s catch you up to speed.

MusicfestNW primarily takes place indoors with a few exceptions. The bigger shows occurring at Pioneer Courthouse Square are clearly outdoors, primarily on the basis of the area being freaking gorgeous. So, alas, you will have some elements to contend with. Let’s ask a Portland native for a future forecast.

“Portland has a reputation of being gloomy and hazy most of the year but I think it’s less an issue during the summer months. Expect mild temperatures throughout most of September. At its best, Portland can have temperatures in the 70s-80s range with some chilly evenings. Rain is always a possibility so close to the coast.”

Depending on how sensitive you are to chill, Portland’s MusicfestNW is essentially a free for all in terms of how to comfortably dress for the weather conditions.

As MusicfestNW continues to grow, additional outdoor venues may be incorporated within the very near future.

MusicfestNW Fashion and Clothes

MusicfestNW Fashion and Clothes

MusicfestNW fashion is some of our favorite music festival fashion in existence. For our money, there’s no cooler threads than what you’ll typically find around here. Portland itself is chalk full of specialty and vintage stores to outfit you appropriately.

You have a lot of options with MusicfestNW clothes as the festival primarily takes place within the comfort of indoors.

Need some help deciding what to wear? Our personal favorite Portland shop is Living Threads Vintage. They’ll set you up with a certifiably rad outfit. When the locals are raving about a shop, you know there’s probably special something going on inside.

Vintage clothing is a huge market in the Portland area and definitely responsible for making up a lot of the outfits you’ll see at MusicfestNW.

Regardless of how you dress, this festival has some of the easiest to manage conditions around. Dare to be bold with your fashion! Homemade outfits and crafts are highly encouraged when it comes to the Portland music scene. Weirdness is embraced in full out here, don’t find yourself getting hung up on being eccentric.

As we always stress when it comes to music festivals, comfort is always key. Anticipate some chillier evenings when you’re out & about throughout the Portland area.

MusicfestNW Hotels

MusicfestNW Hotels

Looking for MusicfestNW Hotels? Let’s explore the main hotels in the Portland area being promoted by the festival in 2013.

Hotel Fifty MusicfestNW Hotels

Hotel Fifty MusicfestNW Hotels

Starting around $184.00 per night

Hotel Fifty is billed as ‘the official hotel’ of MusicfestNW this year. Amenities include waterfront location, free public WiFi, on-site covered parking, premium beds and a bistro & bar.

“We stayed here last year for MusicfestNW and it was awesome. Staff was super accommodating, ended up upgrading our room when they had trouble processing our original reservation. The room was awesome but we barely spent any time there, the surrounding area was just way too appealing. Better things happen outdoors.”

Hotel Lucia MusicfestNW Hotels

Hotel Lucia MusicfestNW Hotels

Starting around $189.00 per night

Hotel Lucia is pretty standard as far as Portland hotels go, but that by no means reflects anything less than a quality stay. Amenities include a 24-hour fitness center, 24-hour room service, in-room Portland coffee and iPod docking stations.

“I stayed at the Lucia and it’s a good hotel for the money. My friend ended up bringing his dog for one day we were there which was actually allowed, we just had to pay a service fee. You don’t usually see that anywhere else.”

Jupiter Hotel MusicfestNW Hotels

Jupiter Hotel MusicfestNW Hotels

Starting around $159.00 per night

Our editor’s choice hotel this year, the Jupiter Hotel is one of the more popular hotels in the area based off pricing, but they still offer some pretty awesome rooms that follow a minimalist design. Standard amenities with the option to stay close to the Bar Patio (ideal for late nights) or the Chill Side for more reserved stays.

“I love the Jupiter! Booked a room with some friends and was worried we might get some noise complaints but the way they have the hotel organized I guess allowed us to avoid that. Really don’t have a complaint about anything.”

Red Lion Hotel MusicfestNW Hotels 

Red Lion Hotel MusicfestNW Hotels

Starting around $89.00 per night

The Red Lion has mixed reviews but very flexible rates. We’ve been told it’s a little more of a reserved stay but the location and price remain outstanding. Amenities include large room spaces, free public WiFi, flat screen TVs and 24-hour convenience center.

“The Red Lion has a slightly worn out exterior appearance. However, the interior is pleasant albeit showing its age with its slow moving elevators being the giveaway.”

What’s the Crowd at MusicfestNW Like?

What’s the Crowd at MusicfestNW Like?

Wondering what’s the crowd at MusicfestNW like? Here’s one take from a Portland native and MusicfestNW longtime veteran.

“Portland is an art community, no doubt. Everyone here seems to appreciate the art of MusicfestNW in some capacity, whether it’s the live performances or art installations that makeup the other part of the experience. Some people find the culture here strange, I’ve heard it described as ‘weird’ more times than I can count. But that’s also what makes it special. I think the crowd is one of the more friendly and open minded varieties you’re likely to find, anywhere.”

Portland is considered one of the more predominant craft beer areas in the US. You’re likely to find a young progressive crowd of seriously creative individuals who know all the differences between a lager and an IPA.

MusicfestNW Food and Beverages

MusicfestNW food and beverages are widely varied with the festival occurring throughout different venues of Portland. We’re happy to supply some of our favorite recommendations.

Jazzkats Coffee Bar

musicfestnw food and beverage jazzkats coffee bar

Recently opened in the Portland area, Jazzkats Coffee Bar is our favorite take on the amazing Portland coffee scene. All the gourmet menu items can be prepared in vegan fashion to accommodate your diet. Jazzkats also has its thumb on the Portland art scene, featuring live events and exhibitions that showcase local talents. We’re really only scratching the surface on this one, but we’re sure anyone looking for a great updated version of the famous Portland coffee bar will find something to love on this one.

Captured By Porches Brewery

musicfestnw beer captured by porches

A traveling ‘food truck’ of sorts, Captured By Porches Brewery specializes in some of the tastiest craft brew anywhere in Portland. We’ll always remember that first sip of Pumpkin beer. Using fresh ingredients, the friendly staff takes serious pride in providing their specialty beers. Some of the different buses feature amazing food like grilled cheese with a twist. We’re getting hungry just thinking about it. Captured By Porches Brewery combines great Portland microbrew with street food, you just can’t lose.

There’s a lot to experience in Portland. MusicfestNW invites you to choose your own food adventures. Virtually any local is full of amazing personal recommendations, don’t be afraid to ask!

MusicfestNW Drugs and Drug Usage

MusicfestNW Drugs and Drug Usage

How does MusicfestNW drugs and drug usage compare to other festivals? Let’s ask a MusicfestNW fan first.

“As you might expect, weed is a huge part of the Portland drug scene. It’s really not shocking to see someone light up a joint in very public places out here, you just need to be respectful of young kids and adults. The beer scene is pretty comparable to Chicago fests like Lollapalooza. The psychedelics are also pretty big out here. Last year I dropped acid at the Pioneer Courthouse Square show. Best decision of my life.”

The microbrewery scene in Portland undoubtedly contributed greatly to the abundance of alcohol from one venue to another. Portland also has a far more progressive attitude toward responsible drug usage than most other areas of the country. We have yet to hear of any dangerous incidents associated with MusicfestNW to suggest otherwise.

MusicfestNW Art Installations

MusicfestNW Art Installations

There’s an endless amount of art installations to take in around the MusicfestNW venues, Portland thriving in the contemporary art scene. Some of the best offerings actually occur naturally, Portland providing an overwhelming amount of green vitality from the partly wet climate.

What’s our favorite art installation at MusicfestNW? It happens to be the main venue, Pioneer Courthouse Square.

Ready for a tour of Pioneer Courthouse Square’s many art installations?