What started seven years ago as a small music rock'n roll show in the parking lot of Canby's Wild Hare Saloon has grown into a grass-roots, good time music festival that has arguably become the largest, most-attended tribute band showcase around.
This year, the two-day festival, dubbed HareFest 7, runs from Friday, July 14 (9 a.m. – 2 a.m.) through Saturday, July 15 (8 a.m. – 2 a.m.).
It even garnered a little mention this summer in online publication "Ultimate Classic Rock" — the story mentions primarily 1980s rocks tribute acts that sound so much like the original band they are worth traveling many miles and spending the money to watch the performance of the tribute act playing their favorite band's songs live, in-person,
Some of the bands mentioned by Ultimate Classic Rock included Same Ol' Situation (Motley Crue), Motorbreath (Metallica), Pyromania (Def Leppard), Stone in Love (Journey), The Seekers (The Who), Appetite for Deception (Guns'N'Roses) and Unchained (Van Halen), to name but a few of the 18 acts schedule to perform on the main stage.
The festival grounds at Pat's Acres, which holds a maximum of 3,000 people, is located at 6255 S. Arndt Road just outside of Canby on the right-hand side of Arndt Road if traveling west on the way out of town toward Interstate 5 and the Aurora State Airport.
There is ample parking for the event, including spaces for recreational vehicles (RVs).
There is also room for tents for those wishing to remain at Pat Acre's for the duration of HareFest 7 — probably a good idea considering alcohol will be sold at the 21-and-over event, which will take place rain or shine — no refunds will be offered if it rains July 15 or 16, Wild Hare Saloon Owner Joan Monen said.
Single day passes for HareFest 7 start at $40 for Friday, June 14 and $50 for Saturday, June 15 with two-day passes totaling $75.
Two-day passes with overnight camping and two-day passes with overnight RV parking both cost $100, according to a press release issued by HareFest promotor Jason Fellman of J-Fell Presents.
Monen also is a promotor of the event but Fellman is handling the details, including the day-to-day operations and all of the media coordination, Monen said.
RVs may begin arriving on Thursday, July 13 from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. and attendees will be allowed to stay on site that night free of charge. Additionally, this year concert ticket and RV parking passes may be purchased separately, and standard RV parking rates of $70 for RVs will be required rather than last year's vehicle-length tiered pricing.
Monen said HareFest started seven years ago outside the Canby Wild Hare Saloon parking lot and that it grew out of people's love of the over-the-top, glamorous hair-band and heavy-metal concerts prominent by bands in the mid to late 1980's, especially the those able to consistently sell out arenas on seemingly never-ending tours, like Bon Jovi, Motley Crue and Iron Maiden, to name but a small handful of groups— events that those of us who were teenagers at that time fondly remember camping out in front of ticket sellers, like record stores or G.I. Joes in much of the Willamette Valley, attempting to purchase tickets with the hope of getting seats near the front of the stage of your favorite band.
"It's just kind of something that happened," Monen said. "It wasn't anything that we really thought out, let alone thinking that in seven years it was going to grow into a major music festival and arguably the largest tribute band festival in the U.S. It's just an awesome gathering of musicians and festival goers. We put something together and worked hard at it and created what it is today. It all came from my love for that era of music. We're not being mentioned in the same breath as the (Portland) Blues Festival downtown." (OregonLive.com recently named HreFest as one of the go-to event in the Portland metro region this summer.)
In the seventh year of HareFest, organizers are now attracting major event sponsors, including iHeartRadio, Bud Light, Widmer Brothers Brewing, 10 Barrel Brewing, Papé Rents, Sunset Tire Factory, Killer Kustoms, DirectLink and Portland radio stations 15-5.9 The Brew, 106.7 The Eagle, Radio 102.3 and RipCity Radio 620am.
Noticeably absent from the list of sponsors are Canby-are businesses, except for DirectLink, as well as the city of Canby.
"No one seems to see the value in sponsoring a local event," Monen said.
Local food vendors include Ebner's Custom Meats, Canby Asparagus Farms, Casa de Tamales and the Canby Human Bean at the local companies the decided to sponsor HareFest 7.
For more information, or to purchase tickets, go online to www.harefest.com or visit their official Facebook page at www.facebook.com/harefest