Cape Blanco Music Festival Brings Prosperity to Coast



Photo by John Hampton. Artist John Moore performed at the Cape Blanco Country Music Festival.
The country music festival brought 13,000 people to the southern Oregon coast Aug.1-3. The event provided an economic boost for the area and will return.

It has been said that money is what makes the world go ‘round, but for small-town Sixes, Ore., it is music that makes the money.

On Aug. 1-3, the Bi-Mart Willamette Country Music Festival brought its sister festival to a privately owned working ranch near Cape Blanco State Park in Sixes with an estimated attendance of 13,000. The festival featured headliners Brad Paisley, Eric Church and Dierks Bentley, as well as several local musicians.

Senior Jade Chavez attended the festival and said the event was very worthwhile.

“It was really cheap for so many artists,” Chavez said. “You get to see three big headliners, three more pretty famous people, and some others in there too.”

The Cape Blanco Country Music Festival (CBCMF) not only brought the communities in the area together for the weekend, but it also brought new revenue to the region and used several school programs up and down the coast as volunteers to keep the event running. These volunteers were in charge of activities such as gate checks and trash pickup in the concert venue and camping areas.

According to Sally Hawkins, a volunteer from Gold Beach High School (GBHS), the school was informed early of the potential for programs to use the event as a fundraiser. Coaches reached out to parents and student athletes to help out and brought in 31 volunteers to represent the cross country program.

Volunteers went into the festival without knowing the amount they would be awarded for their help. On Oct. 15, the awards ceremony took place in which programs were awarded their pay. Hawkins and the GBHS cross country teams received $1,000 for their work.

“I think there was a general consensus that it may not have been worth it,” Hawkins said.

“It was fun, but it was a lot of work and a lot of hours.”

CBCMF used multiple programs from GBHS, such as football, volleyball, basketball and baseball, as well as volunteers from Bandon, Port Orford and Brookings high schools. As local schools fundraised for their programs, businesses also used the weekend as an opportunity for a boost in sales.

According to Jacob Pestana, who owns Langlois Market, his sales were not where they were expected to be but left room for vast improvements in preparing for next year’s festival.

“We didn’t know what to expect,” Pestana said. “All of our local business didn’t come in because they thought we would be too busy.”

Pestana said he used all 12 of his employees for the weekend and had prepared to sell hot dogs and beverages outside of his store in order to direct part of the traffic outside, but he did not end up needing these special services due to low customer numbers.

According to Pestana, he had previously planned to set up an area right off of Cape Blanco Road, on a friend’s property, but complications kept this from happening this year and the land was used as the helipad for transporting performers in and out of the venue all weekend. He said if all goes well, he plans to pursue that idea again next year and be closer to the campsites but not inside the venue itself.

“The Willamette Festival usually shows about 30 percent of people camping on-site, with 70 percent coming and going. Cape Blanco did the opposite, with 70 percent in campsites and 30 percent coming in and out,” Pestana said. “Most people went to Walmart in Salem or wherever they live and didn’t come out of the venue until it was over.”

Sixes has a quaint population of 83 people. Chavez said she believes an event like this can help boost the economy in other ways than just revenue for the weekend. She said people who traveled there are likely to come back and visit the coast again, creating more publicity for small towns in the long-run.

“People are going to be coming through Coos Bay and Bandon,” Chavez said. “If people haven’t been to the beach, they will definitely come back.”