Bend Concert Season Heats up at Les Schwab Amphitheater

Bend’s Les Schwab Amphitheater

Central Oregon’s iconic music venue, the Les Schwab Amphitheater in Bend, has been rolling out its star-studded 2018 summer concert line-up and it’s already filled with big-name acts set to rock the region.

The 8,000-capacity venue situated on the banks of the Deschutes River in Bend’s Old Mill District opened in 2002 and almost immediately became a must-stop for high-profile touring artists. In recent years LSA has hosted the likes of Phish, Dave Matthews Band, Death Cab for Cutie, Alabama Shakes, Ringo Starr, Paul Simon, Weird Al and many more.

The 2018 line-up includes a diverse mix of returning and first-time acts: (Click the artist to buy tickets.)

May 30th – Ray LaMontagne with Neko Case
June 8th – Jethro Tull
June 9th – Slightly Stoopid
June 19th – Michael Franti & Spearhead
June 23 – Primus and Mastodon
July 6th – Steve Martin and Martin Short
July 24th – Jackson Browne
July 25th – Sheryl Crow
July 26th – The Decemberists
August 5th – Pixies
August 9th – Amos Lee
August 21 – Steve Miller Band with Peter Frampton
August 28th – Dave Matthews Band (SOLD OUT)
August 31 – Portugal. The Man. 

You can buy tickets for all the shows online at BendConcerts.com or in person at the Ticket Mill, located between Anthony’s and PacSun in The Old Mill. Shows at the LSA include multiple local food vendors and local craft beer, wine and spirits. Or, you can grab a bite to eat at one of the fabulous restaurants across the river in The Old Mill.  If you’re looking for the closest lodging options, the Hampton Inn is located right next to the amphitheater while the Hilton Garden Inn is on the hill that overlooks the shopping center.

Jack Johnson performing at the Les Schwab Amphitheater in Bend, Oregon

Central Oregon’s 5 Fantastic Free Summer Concert Series

Live music is often the first thing visitors ask about when they get to Central Oregon. And come summer, there’s certainly no shortage of great opportunities to sit (or dance) outside in the sun and listen to some great tunes.

Here’s our Top 5 Free Summer Concert Series’

Sunriver Resort’s Backyard Concert Series

Backyard Concert Series – Sunriver Resort

May 26-28 | June 29 | July 1 | July 2-Sept 4 | Thurs, Fri, Sat

Bring the family, pull up a blanket and enjoy live music at The Backyard at Sunriver Resort from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. A different live band will be featured each concert day. Delicious food and local brews, wine and cocktails will be offered during each concert.

Music on the Green, Redmond

Music on the Green – Redmond’s Sam Johnson Park

The region’s longest running free music series happens from 6 to 7:30 p.m. in Redmond’s Sam Johnson Park every other Wednesday beginning in late June. The event combines free music with a block party atmosphere to offer a powerful mix of community and family fun.

Music on the Green continues to celebrate the finest Redmond has to offer, spotlighting some of the region’s best and brightest musical talents from genres like country, folk, bluegrass, and cover tunes from the ‘50s through today.

Bend Memorial Clinic’s Free Summer Sundays

BMC Free Summer Sundays – Bend’s Les Schwab Amphitheater

Bend Memorial Clinic’s Free Summer Sunday Concerts start June 4 and continue through mid-July on select Sundays. Come on down to the Les Schwab Amphitheater in Bend’s Old Mill and enjoy a beautiful afternoon of great music and healthy family fun. Delish food vendors, bouncy houses and other activities will be onsite.

Well behaved pets (and their owners) are welcomed.  Concerts run from 2:30-4:30 pm, and feature local and nationally touring artists who typically require a ticket to see. Bring your dancing feet!

Munch & Music – Bend’s Drake Park

For 26 years, Bend’s iconic Drake Park has been the place to be on Thursday nights in the summer.

Munch & Music is a hugely popular, family-friendly event featuring local and nationally-acclaimed live bands. The food court is sure to have something for everyone. With one of the largest gatherings of all you favorite local food vendors – come hungry!

The Deschutes Brewery Libation Station will be available with beer, wine and an occasional cocktail from week to week. This year the concerts will have a walk-around beer policy. You cannot bring your own alcoholic beverages into the events, but you can roam the area freely with your brew.

Picnic in the Park, Prineville

Picnic in the Park – Prineville’s Pioneer Park

Picnic in the Park is an amazing opportunity for people in our wonderful community and those traveling from neighboring areas to spend some time mid-week to unwind in beautiful Pioneer Park listening to a wide variety of music. This is a place for families, friends, neighbors and strangers to gather and enjoy being outside and relaxing while being entertained by high-quality musicians. Thursday nights from 6 to 8 beginning in July.

Bend’s Les Schwab Amphitheater Goes Green

Jack Johnson performing at the Les Schwab Amphitheater in Bend, Oregon

One thing Oregon is known for is its progressive sustainability. After all, when you live in such a beautiful place, preserving it is top of mind! This mindset is no different in Central Oregon, and that’s one reason why Les Schwab Amphitheater has implemented a new sustainable program for all its ticketed concerts – the “Take Note Initiative.”

This new initiative has the potential to make a huge impact on reducing waste and making the amphitheater a more environmentally friendly venue. Whether you are a local or are one of the more than 100,000 visitors who come for the concerts each season, here are some things to “take note” of for your next concert experience on the Deschutes River in Bend! (For a complete list of upcoming shows, visit bendconcerts.com)

Take Note Initiative elements include:

  • Reusable pint program: Patrons may purchase reusable Les Schwab Amphitheater Silipints for $20 filled with beer or cider. Those who wish to refill their Silipint with additional beer or cider will receive $1 off their purchase price. These pints are meant to be brought back and used all season long at the venue’s 2016 ticketed concertsLSA SILIPINTS
  • Compostable cups: Beer and cider, along with wine and mixed drinks, will also be available for purchase in compostable cups. No outside cups or pints can be used for purchased beer or cider, though they may be brought for drinking water. Wine and mixed drinks will be sold in compostable cups, though the intention of the venue is to expand the program with smaller Silipint sizes and other drinkware alternatives down the road, to include these beverages. In addition, all food vendors will use 100% compostable cups, plates and utensils.
  • No plastic bottles: No single-use plastic bottles will be available for purchase during any concert, although patrons can use reusable cups and bottles to fill with water from drinking fountains and hydration stations. Visitors can bring their own empty water bottles, cups or pints or stop by the concierge tent to purchase single or double-walled canteens or pick up a free compostable cup.
  • Waste disposal program: Recycling, waste management and composting will be provided by The Broomsmen, a local group that is committed to promoting zero waste events throughout the Central Oregon community.

Connecting with Culture – High Desert Heritage

The Tower Theatre exterior in Downtown Bend, Oregon

Over the past two decades, Central Oregon’s communities have embraced the arts and made them an integral part of local life as well as an attraction for visitors. A walk through downtown Bend and the Old Mill District during one of the first Fridays of the month says it all. Paintings, sculptures and photography are on display in galleries, retail shops, offices and on sidewalks.

first friday at Hub
First Friday at The Hub Cyclery in downtown Bend

Throngs of people turn out no matter what the weather brings. Musicians on the streets and in the shops enhance the festive atmosphere. Art in the High Desert, a juried outdoor art show in August, is also a great local place to see world-class art.

People at outdoor art festival in Bend, Oregon

Beyond Bend’s First Friday Art Walks, summer and fall street festivals in the region feature fantastic works of art. Notably, the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show has become an internationally famous event, attracting quilt makers from around the globe to show off their works outdoors throughout the town. The quilt show also includes seminars and workshops for quilters.

Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show Poster

On permanent display in the art scene, The Museum at Warm Springs in the town of the same name features one of the finest collections of Native American art and artifacts in the West. Handcrafted tribal treasures here include Patlapa, basket hats worn for ceremonies such as root, salmon and huckleberry feasts, and Sahaptin, painted rawhide cases which the Columbia Plateau people used throughout history for storage, packing and trading. Make this part of any of your Central Oregon cultural itineraries.

Museum at Warm Springs_4x6

Focusing on the flora, fauna and pioneer history of Central Oregon, the High Desert Museum south of Bend combines indoor dioramas, outdoor displays featuring birds of prey and live demonstrations of everyday pioneer life. A must-stop for families, the museum is also noted for presenting the best in contemporary landscape painting and photography.

Hawk in flight during show at High Desert Museum in Bend, Oregon

Moving from art to music, Central Oregon runs the gamut. For big-concert lovers, the Les Schwab Amphitheater along the Deschutes River in Bend presents national and international acts.

The Athletic Club of Bend also showcases top-name acts for its summer series of evening outdoor concerts. Redmond hosts a summer concert series as well, featuring well-established and up-and-coming regional musicians. A quick check of the local media when in Central Oregon reveals a lively music scene at local clubs year-round.

Folk music is alive not only at local clubs but at outdoor events such as the regular Pickin’ and Paddlin’ concerts on the lawn at Tumalo Creek Kayak and Canoe in Bend’s Old Mill District.

Pickin' & Paddlin at Tumalo Creek Kayak and Canoe

The center stage of folk music in Central Oregon is the annual Sisters Folk Festival, which deftly combines big-name acts with neophytes to the scene. Held September 5-7, the event features a number of indoor and outdoor venues throughout Sisters.

Classical music lovers should plan to visit in August during the Sunriver Music Festival. The venue is Sunriver Resort’s dramatic, historic, giant-log-beamed Great Hall, which hosts eight concerts from classical pops to piano.

While in Sunriver, take an educational jaunt to the Oregon Observatory and Sunriver Nature Center for constellations and owls.

Exterior of building at sunset in Sunriver, Oregon

Jazz fans can enjoy the Jazz at The Oxford series that runs fall through spring at the Oxford Hotel in Bend. And there’s the regular Jazz at Joe’s series that takes place at Bend’s Community Theater of the Cascades (CTC).

When not hosting music events, CTC offers a full schedule of dramas, comedies and musicals. So, too, with Bend’s 2nd Street Theater.

Offering its own mix of theater, film, music and lectures, the historic Tower Theatre is the crown jewel of downtown Bend. The theater also serves as the host location during the annual BendFilm Festival weekend that celebrates independent film and filmmakers. A new free, guided walk of downtown Bend is available whenever you want. Just download the new Bend Heritage Walk app at www.deschuteshistory.org, and discover the colorful past of this frontier boomtown through its oldest buildings.

Northwest Crossing Saturday Farmers Market

And as the region’s creative community expands and evolves, so too does its farmers markets. Bend hosts three distinct markets from May until October—one in the heart of downtown, one on the grounds of St. Charles Medical Center and a third in Bend’s NorthWest Crossing neighborhood. Redmond holds a regular Thursday evening farmers market. All of these markets, taken together, promote Central Oregon’s farm-to-table culture and is the perfect place to stock up for a picnic.

While on an agricultural theme, try Maragas Winery’s old-fashioned annual grape crush in September. Purple hands are the signs of a true vintner. Chef Bette Fraser also offers culinary tours and classes through her Well Traveled Fork enterprise.

With its diversity of theaters, museums, art galleries and concert venues, Central Oregon is the place for a diverse cultural scene with a spectacular backdrop.