The Shaniko Ragtime and Vintage Music Festival celebrates its 11th year this coming Oct. 11 to Oct. 13.
A cold October day back in 2002, Keith Taylor playing on an old piano from Shaniko’s past wanted to establish a festival. Taylor had been coming to the area every other year for some time. He would stay at the Shaniko Hotel in the month of October when the Farrell Family owned it, tuning pianos in the area.
On the Sunday of his departure, Taylor would play a concert in the lobby. It was always a full house with the old music ringing through the hotel.
Once the festival broke ground in 2003, the hotel was booked solid that weekend every year until the building was closed and put up for sale in 2008. Though a lack of local lodging poses a hardship, faithful listeners of the historic music continue to venture to Shaniko for the parts they are interested in.
The festival includes evening jam sessions, Fri and Sat from 7 to 11 p.m. in the Stagecoach Station (Sage Sarsaparilla Saloon) where visitors and performers share tunes, requests and play time. A few years ago a silent movie with live music accompaniment was added by Taylor, who plays all over the Northwest and California. Past ones have been, “Son of the Sheik,” and “Sally of the Sawdust.” The silent movies run Saturday afternoon in the Shaniko Firehouse from noon to 2 p.m. From 2 to 6 p.m. all performers take their spots to entertain.
The Friday and Saturday parts of the event are free, though donations to the performers are welcomed as they do not get paid for their labors of love to Shaniko.
Sunday, the 2 p.m. all-performer concert in the restored Shaniko School house asks for a $10 suggested donation to help cover performer expenses. The city, chamber, and preservation organizations sponsor the event locations and promotion of the event.
For more information, call the event line at 541-489-3434.