August 28th, 2023

Walnut City Music Festival: A home-grown celebration

A trio of musicians smile as they play their instruments on a stage with a sparkly silver backdrop.
Photos courtesy of Walnut City Music Festival. Photos by: Chelsey Nichol.

Let the countdown begin as we are less than a week away from the 9th annual Walnut City Music Festival hosted at the renowned Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum. This is a Labor Day weekend event, beginning September 2nd, 2023 and ending the night of September 3rd, 2023.  This year, campsites are available for festival attendees to be able to gain the full experience and embrace their time in the world of indie music. Single-day tickets start at $25 and kids under the age of 12 are free. 

Now you may be wondering why you should attend the Walnut City Music Festival (WCMF).  At the very core of the WCMF is the celebration of not only live music, but an ever growing connection between local and touring artists. The festival gathers a uniquely crafted lineup that incorporates artists from out of town like headliner Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown, to some of McMinnvilles favorite local bands like Manitoba Road Crew and Ships To Roam. This year’s Homegrown Stage (WCMF’s second stage that features local performers between main stage acts) is programmed all weekend, for even more local artists to grace your ear drums. It celebrates the budding music scene of McMinnville, and gives an opportunity for local performers to share their music with a larger audience.  The Walnut City Music Festival crew hopes that with the inclusion of this stage more folks will attend live shows in and around McMinnville throughout the year as these artists play other venues. 

Last year, Travis Bonilla performed on the Homegrown Stage, and this year, his duo, Pale Imitations, is scheduled to play the Main Stage.

The Walnut City Music Festival is a non-profit festival that is put on completely by volunteers. Every year the planning committee is composed of McMinnville community members who dedicate their time to ensuring that the festival is memorable for local and traveling attendees who return year after year. WCMF could not do it without the help of the gracious people who sign up every year to help out. In fact, if you would like to sign up for a 2 hour shift there is still time, and rumor has it that if you volunteer you get free admission to the festival on the day you volunteer, and you’ll receive a rockin’ one-of-a-kind volunteer shirt. 

This year, the organizers are thrilled to announce that there has been a major rework on the grounds where the festival is being held at the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum.  Folks that have been to the grounds will scarcely recognize the park and walking path, as a local farmer and the museum have teamed up to remediate and mow the fields, clear blackberries and splintery picnic benches.  The WCMF team have strung up festival lights through the oak grove and have refined the site map.  This is the beginning of what WCMF hopes to turn into the field of festival lovers’ dreams. 

If you are not doing anything Labor Day weekend, consider attending Walnut City Music Festival.  It will not disappoint!  Below is the lineup.

Main Stage

September 2
Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown Street
Hail Maries
Falcon Heart
Ships To Roam
Lincoln’s Beard
Tito Padrino 
Manitoba Road Crew

September 3
Left Lane Cruiser
Jeshua Marshall Trio 
Thrown-Out Bones
The Resolectrics
Pale Imitations
Bootleg Jam

Homegrown Stage

September 2
Nest & Honey
Josh Campos
Catch & Release
Ribbon Ridge Girls

September 3
Rogue Moon
New Rendezvous String Band
Freddie Lamb
The Rivertones

About the author: Alora Gates is a recent Linfield University School of Business graduate with a degree in Marketing.