Ashland World Music Festival – Top USA Festivals

Ashland

Lithia Park, 150 Winburn Way

Late May

www.ashland.or.us/AWMF

Ashland’s verdant Lithia Park is the idyllic scene for the Ashland World Music Festival, which hosts some of Southern Oregon’s hottest musicians, from longstanding veterans in the Northwest music scene to the best up-and-coming artists. Each year, the festival selects musicians to cover a variety of multicultural genres—rock, reggae, soul, folk, blues, and more, including both traditional and contemporary sounds, along with a wide range of instrumental performers.

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The Saturday festival runs from noon to 6 pm, with no admission fee, at the Butler Bandshell, a terrific venue for outdoor music, with groves of trees, often bubbling with singing birds in the mornings, shading a spacious manicured lawn that is ideal for setting up beach chairs or spreading a blanket. Chill out and enjoy the music or join the inevitable small crowd of fans dancing jubilantly in front of the stage. The relaxed vibe at this under-the-radar music fest is decidedly family friendly; locals spend the day enjoying the eclectic music and wonderful spring weather. A handful of food vendors are on hand, along with local art and craft vendors.

Lithia Park—an Ashland centerpiece—spans nearly 100 acres, stretching for a mile north to south, from downtown nearly to the Siskiyou National Forest boundary. In addition to the Bandshell, which hosts musical events throughout the summer, Lithia Park offers Japanese Gardens, two duck ponds, expansive undeveloped woodlands, a trail system, tennis and pickleball courts, a sand volleyball court, playground, ice rink (in winter), and picnic areas. The historic park was honored as one of the top ten Great American Spaces by the American Planning Association in 2014, and is the subject of Lithia

Park: The Heart & Soul of Ashland (2016) by John Enders. The community of Ashland has a great deal more to offer visitors and the World Music Festival is a great event to highlight a long weekend spent exploring this beautiful city of 22,000 people.

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