Bend tends to be a lodestone for free-spirited, independent people, so it’s no surprise the city has plenty to offer for art, music and performance fans. There are even tours fully dedicated to exploring the local sculptures set up everywhere around town. Here are some of our favorite arts and cultural events and yet more reasons why moving to Bend is such a great idea!
All the Music You Could Want
Bend, Oregon is filled with music, and for good reason: Every pub, outdoor beer garden, and bar has at least one music day a week where they showcase local bands or poets of all kinds (a tradition that is common throughout Oregon and always enjoyable). Some locations, like the Volcanic Theatre Pub, take things to the next level by combing a pub with a full concert venue for larger – and louder – productions. And then of course there is the Les Schwab Amphitheater Summer Concert Series in Old Mill, which pulls a series of big-name musicians and bands throughout the summer in a beautiful, intimate outdoor location where you can listen to your favorite artists live while watching the sun set over the mountain – something you have to try at least once in your life.
Or if your tastes run a little more classical, then you won’t want to miss the High Desert Chamber Music group, which is particularly active in the colder months, while OperaBend usually puts on a production in the spring and summer months.
Every Festival in Bend is an Art/Music Festival
Bend has some of the best weather in the Northwest, which makes it an ideal spot to hold large outdoor festivals: Particularly in the summer months, it’s hard to find a week where there isn’t a festival where all kinds of art and performance are showcased. While Bend has a local art show outdoors every Saturday during the warmer months, you really won’t want to miss Bend’s best events – Summerfest, the Arts and Music Festival, Brewfest, the Fall Festival, the Folk Festival, Winterfest (with both ice and iron sculpture shows), Little Woody Whiskey Festival….and just a whole lot more. These all feature art from around the West Coast, as well as continuous band performances from a variety of genres.
Even festivals that have distinct themes like Bite of Bend or Octoberfest showcase bands and artisans from the Northwest and beyond, so there’s always some good music and unique art to enjoy.
If you like the idea of getting more involved in the local art scene, then you can join the Central Oregon Arts and Culture Alliance and check out some of the many community-oriented workshops offered by the Central Oregon Community College.
Turning Food and Drink into an Art Form
Bend is also a great spot for foodies who appreciate art. Taking a few cues from Portland, Bend has created a long-running and immensely popular First Friday Art Walk, where shops and galleries around Bend throw open their doors once a month to encourage browsing, and nearby restaurants put up stands giving out all kinds of delicious treats (and an appreciable amount of free booze).
When summer is at its warmest, you also have Munch and Music to look forward to, where local businesses offer their finest food and drink creations while bands entertainment from the local Drake Park stage.
Maybe your tastes lean more toward independent films or theater, and you’re wondering if Bend has anything to satiate that particular interest. Not to worry! There’s always something new downtown at the Tower theater to try out, including indie films and a constant stream of local productions. And don’t forget about the excellent BendFilm Festival and Cascadia Adventure Film Festival, which allow artists from throughout the region to gather and share their acclaimed work!