News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Festival presents summer concerts

Sisters Folk Festival (SFF) will offer a run of summer concerts with five outstanding concerts held at Sisters Art Works.

The first show is Thursday, July 7 with MarchFourth, a “kaleidoscope of music and visual energy that inspires dancing and celebration.” That show will be followed by An Evening with Rising Appalachia on Thursday, July 21, and An Evening with Watchhouse (formerly Mandolin Orange) on Saturday, July 30. Tim O’Brien & Jan Fabricius will perform Friday, August 5, and the final performance will be with Memphis soul-rockers Southern Avenue joined by Jontavious Willis, presented by Sisters Rhythm & Brews and SFF on Thursday, August 11.

Tickets go on sale on Wednesday, May 18, at 10 a.m. at

July 7 – MarchFourth: This larger-than-life ensemble of 15 musicians and acrobats tours the country year-round, bringing a spirit of celebration wherever they go. The colorful explosion of brassy funk, rock, and jazz from the group delivers a performance full of swagger, fun, and a healthy dose of New Orleans magic. Attendees of the July 7 concert can expect to hear captivating grooves from their fourth studio album, “Magic Number,” released in September 2016.

Bend-based band Company Grand will open the show.

July 21 - Rising Appalachia: Group-members and sisters, Leah and Chloe Smith, grew up absorbing the rich hip-hop culture in Atlanta and simultaneously traveling with their family to fiddle camps all across the Southeast. Years later, the sisters formed a musical partnership and realized that performing could be just one component of a greater overall vision – one that includes advocating for social justice, racial justice, environmental justice, and Indigenous rights.

July 30 — Watchhouse: Formerly known as Mandolin Orange, married duo Andrew Marlin and Emily Frantz have undergone a reinvention as a band with a new name, Watchhouse, and a new sound with subtly experimental folk-rock.

The new moniker is inspired by Marlin’s place of childhood solace and comes with the realization that their former name never quite fit with the music they made.

Since their conception in 2009, the duo became known as the new flag bearers of the contemporary folk world, sweetly singing soft songs about the hardest parts of our lives.

Their first release under their new identity serves as an inspired search for personal and political goodness, with tracks offering welcome lessons about what any of us might become when the night begins to break.

“We’re different people than when we started this band,” Marlin said, reflecting on all these shifts. “We’re setting new intentions, taking control of this thing again.”

August 5 — Tim O’Brien & Jan Fabricius: Hailing from Wheeling, West Virginia, two-time Grammy Award winner Tim O’Brien has toured the world and delighted audiences since 1975 with his warm vocals, string wizardry, and heartfelt original songs.

His 2021 album, “He Walked On,” maps a pathway through today’s world partly inspired by our explosive national reckoning with racial prejudice and violence.

In duet with his wife, Jan Fabricius, on mandolin and vocals, attendees of the August 5 performance can expect rootsy acoustic instrumentation and sweet harmony singing, interspersed with O’Brien’s trademark self-deprecating humor.

Central Oregon artist Pete Kartsounes will open the show.

August 11 — Southern Avenue: Memphis-based blues and soul band, Southern Avenue, operates from a distinctively international vantage point, producing a wide-ranging collection of music predominantly co-written by Israeli-born guitarist Ori Naftaly and powerhouse lead vocalist Tierinii Jackson. With their latest project, the group explores bold new ideas of what it means to be a blues band in the modern world. Packed with soul power and jam band liberation, gospel, blues, and righteous R&B, they have crafted their own timeless brand of American music.

They are joined by the Grammy-nominated, 24-year old multi-instrumentalist, Jontavious Willis. His latest album, “Spectacular Class,” features dynamic vocals and impressive fingerpicking, flat-picking, and slide prowess, earning him the nickname, “Wonderboy” from blues legend Taj Mahal.

Concerts will be exclusively held at the Sisters Art Works venue at 204 W. Adams Ave. in Sisters. Doors open at 6 p.m. with shows starting at 7 p.m. Additional band and ticket information is on the SFF website ( These are general admission, all ages shows. Food and beverages will be available for purchase. Oliver Lemon’s food pop-up will be on site and SFF’s bar will be serving beer, cider, wine, and non-alcoholic offerings.

Bring low-back festival chairs or blankets. Only service animals are permitted in the venue. Follow @SistersFolkFestival on Instagram and Facebook for updates and additional information.


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