Northwest String Summit is a music and camping festival that takes place in North Plains, Oregon. Often simply referred to as NWSS, it is the largest String and Americana Music Festival in the Pacific Northwest.
What started as a small gathering of locals and string band musicians has grown into a massive event featuring an eclectic lineup. Many different genres of music are played at the festival, including Indie Rock, Americana, BlueGrass, and Jam. In 2019, Northwest String Summit celebrated its 18th anniversary.
The venue for the event is Horning's Hideout, a scenic site in the northern Willamette Valley. The festival offers several camping options so visitors can take in the beautiful surroundings and sleep under the old fir trees.
Yonder Mountain String Band, TK & The Holy Know-Nothings, The Infamous Stringdusters, Steep Canyon Rangers, Split Lip Rayfield, Cosmic Twang, Larry Keel, Elephant Revival, and Gipsy Moon are some of the musicians who have performed at the event in the past.
In addition to the music, festival-goers can enjoy beautiful artwork, a thriving market place, and plenty of good food. There is even a dedicated children’s zone for the little ones to enjoy.
You can choose between four-day, three-day, two-day, and Sunday only tickets. The two-day and single-day tickets will be sold closer to the festival’s start date. Event passes include primitive camping. RV camping spots are available at an additional cost.
A tiered pricing strategy is followed for Northwest String Summit tickets. As a particular tier sells out, the next higher-priced level will become available. It’s a good idea to purchase passes well ahead of time. Children under the age of 11 can enjoy the festival for free as long as a ticket-holding adult accompanies them.
Horning's Hideout is a 20-mile drive from Portland and is quite easy to find. If you're coming in from the city, you may travel on Highway US-26. Fans will love the outdoor, wooded environment of the Northwest String Summit but will want to be aware of curvy and somewhat narrow roadways along the route to the venue. Organizers usually provide plenty of signs as motorists near the area.
Paid car parking is available at the venue. You can purchase your pass in advance or buy it at the gate. You’ll need to have an RV pass in order to park your RV on the premises. Accessible parking spaces are available at a separate lot for patrons with disabilities.
Driving or renting a vehicle is the most convenient way to get to Horning's Hideout. You can get close to the venue by train, but the nearest station is about 11 miles away. Ride-hailing and taxi services are available to get you from the station to the festival grounds.
You can camp onsite in your RV by purchasing an RV pass. These spots are usually in demand and tend to sell out fast. Act early, so you don’t end up missing out if you wish to camp at Horning's Hideout. Organizer request that patrons do not bring their RVs to the venue without purchasing a pass. Sites do not come with electrical hookups, and there are no dump stations. Showers are available on site.
If you can't get an onsite RV camping spot or would prefer a site with more facilities, there are a couple of options in the area. The nearest campground is about seven miles away. L.L. Stub Stewart State Park is a 30-minute drive from the venue and has sites with full hookups.
Skateboards, bicycles, or motorized vehicles of any kind will not be allowed at the venue. ADA patrons can get around using manual or motorized wheelchairs. It’s important to be aware that the event takes place in a natural, outdoor setting, so some parts of the terrain may be difficult to navigate. There will be accessible camping and viewing areas for patrons with disabilities.
Keep your clothing casual, comfortable, and light. You’re not likely to see many costumes, although many festival-goers do express their individuality through quirky sunglasses and headdresses. The terrain can be pretty rugged in certain areas, so wear appropriate footwear. Carry plenty of warm outerwear for the evenings, especially if you plan on camping.
Pack a small bag with essentials like sunscreen, sunglasses, a hat, hand sanitizer, bug spray, and a lightweight blanket. Carry a few toys to keep the kids entertained. You’ll need a flashlight to get around your campground at night. Don’t forget to pack your charging cables and extra batteries.
Complimentary drinking water is available to all festival patrons, so staying hydrated is easy. If you plan on indulging in any adult beverages, Northwest String Summit welcomes guests to do so responsibly. A wristband is required for all adults and children, even non-pass-holding younger kids. It’s a good idea to write down the child’s name and your contact information on the wristband.
Campfires and other open fires are not allowed in the festival campgrounds. If you feel like your camping experience will not be complete without cooking outdoors, carry a small portable grill or stove. During certain months when there is a danger of wildfires, cooking will only be permitted in designated zones. There will be an onsite store selling basic supplies.
If you’re in the mood for something fast and familiar, several the major chain eateries have branches in North Plains. There are a few small, family-owned restaurants that come highly recommended by locals and visitors alike. If you’re looking for more variety, you can take a 35-minute drive to the nearby city of Portland.
Food will be sold by independent vendors at the venue. In addition to the typical festival fare, vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options will be available. There will be a beer and wine garden close to the amphitheater. Many different types of beers and a selection of wines will be on offer in addition to non-alcoholic beverages.
Radio wearing security officers will be conducting bag checks at the entrances and patrolling the grounds. All vehicles will be searched and processed in the box office area before being allowed into the parking and camping areas. Northwest String Summit requests that patrons remember to be respectful towards their neighbors and report any incidents to security.
July days are typically warm, with the temperature ranging in the low 80s. Temperatures tend to dip at night, falling to the low 50s. Before starting on your trip, check the festival social media accounts or call 511 for weather updates and road alert information for Oregon. Rain is unlikely, but carrying some rain gear is recommended.
Northwest String Summit will have a medical station staffed with trained EMTs. Restrooms, including accessible facilities, will be present in the viewing, camping, and parking areas. Many of the festival staff, vendors, and security personnel carry radios and will be able to help you if you need immediate assistance.