News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Community celebration will kick off the Big Ponderoo

A free community celebration on Friday, June 28, will officially start the Big Ponderoo festival weekend. The family-friendly event will include live music on the main festival stage, food carts and drinks, a mini parade, puppet theater, and interactive art experiences for all ages.

The evening will begin with a special 4th Friday Art Walk where strollers can enjoy live music at 13 participating businesses around town from 4:30–6 p.m. Scheduled performers are: Alicia Viani at Toriizaka; Beth Wood & Dennis McGregor at Sisters Gallery & Frame; The Smoke Drifters at Stichin' Post; Barringer & Baker at Hood Avenue Art; John Shipe Duo at Space in Common; The Overhollers at The Rickards Gallery; The Bunkhouse Two at Wildflower Gallery; Kelcey Lassen Duo at Makin' It Local; Melanie Rose Dyer Trio at Sisters Makers; Americana Project student performers at Canyon Creek Pottery; and Mike Biggers & Jim Cornelius at SFF Presents' Campbell Gallery. There will also be live music at the other official stroll locations, Nechville West and Thompson Guitars.

Patrons are invited to pick up a "Ponderoo Passport" and map from one of the participating locations above and have it stamped at each of the businesses they visit. Completed passports can then be redeemed for a Little Ponderoo, a miniature wood rainbow trout created by Jason Chinchen and the Sisters High School Woods II students, and painted by local artists and community members. Passports can be redeemed at the check-in tent at Village Green Park on Friday, June 28, beginning at 6 p.m. Organizers recommend visiting the tent early as there is a limited quantity of Little Ponderoo trout available.

At the Village Green Big Ponderoo venue, attendees can participate in art activities including a community weaving project, fish painting, a creativity table, and puppet theater before settling in for food and drinks from local vendors. SFF Presents eliminated single use plastic cups for beverage service several years ago and attendees are reminded to bring a Silipint or stainless steel pint cup from a prior event if they plan to enjoy a beverage. Weekend ticket holders will be able to pick up their festival wristband and 2024 Silipint at the box office tent beginning at 5:00. Vintage Silipints will be available to purchase for $5 for those who need them, and can be used at any future SFF Presents event.

A sneak peek concert from festival bands The East Pointers and The Sam Chase and the Untraditional will take place on the Ponderoo stage from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

JUNO Award-winners, The East Pointers, are redefining the ever-evolving genre – modern folk – with dance floor-shaking, ceiling-rattling, electro-trad breakdowns, and a glorious combination of folk, pop, and dance music. Already internationally acknowledged as musical trailblazers, their latest EPs "House Of Dreams" and "Safe In Sound" capture the furious energy of their live shows and push the boundaries of Canadian East Coast folk while lighting a path for a new generation of music lovers.

The Sam Chase and the Untraditional are a juggernaut of a band blending rock 'n roll with folk music while maintaining the sensibilities and attitudes that come from growing up on a healthy diet of punk rock. The leader of the band is The Sam Chase himself, a natural storyteller with a voice that sounds as if it has weathered many an epic tale. With boot-stomping orchestration and lyrics that have been immortalized on the tattooed skin of their fans, The Sam Chase & The Untraditional doesn't mess around.

The celebration will culminate with two days of live music on June 29 and 30 at the Village Green venue with performances from 16 fantastic artists including Shinyribs, the Oliver Wood Trio, Silverada (formerly Mike and the Moonpies), The Brothers Comatose, Bella White, Hogslop String Band, AJ Lee & Blue Summit, The East Pointers, Shadowgrass, The Sam Chase and the Untraditional, Skillethead, Skybound Blue, The Parnells, Fog Holler, Rock Ridge, and Joanna Lee.

Two-day festival passes are available at the advanced pricing of $195/ticket for adults and $80/ticket for youth ages 17 and under. Saturday-only tickets are $115/adults and $45/youth, and Sunday-only tickets are $95/adults and $45/youth. Children under 6 attend for free. Tickets are available at

There are still a few spots open for those interested in volunteering for a ticket; sign up for shifts at Those putting in a minimum of 8–10 hours will receive a two-day wristband, with access to the venue throughout the weekend.


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