There are a couple things us Southern Oregonians think of when it comes to summer: The Oregon Shakespeare Festival and the Britt Fest. OSF and Britt provide opportunities to draw out our classy nature and enjoy shows and concerts beneath dark pines that scrape the stars. Together, they form a gateway of performance glamour in our quaint town of wayward travelers and inquisitive locals. In time though, I began to peel back the gloss that Ashland prides itself on to discover summertime jamming that flirts at the edges of stage life. With the official start of summer this week, it’s time to reveal some of the lesser known gems of the Rogue Valley.
Just up the street from the trio of theatrical siblings in the shell of an abandoned church, is a performance space where fine dining and musicals of bygone eras come to life: the Cabaret Theater. While the directors like to showcase lesser known shows such as the ongoing 9 to 5 which concludes on July third, its successor, Chicago, is sure to be a provocative experience, as the ambience of the building’s stained glass windows draw you in the moment you step across the threshold. While dinner reservations typify the dining experience of the Cabaret, it’s just as fun (and a lot less pricey) to simply order appetizers and desserts.
Beyond the streets, it’s no secret the Rogue valley is ripe with countless wineries beckoning folks in from the heat and humidity. Beyond the tantalizing aromas of fermented fruit, lies summer concert series spanning a range of musical genres. If you want to bask in a secret garden-esque patio while listening to valley favorites such as the Brothers Reed– then South Stage Stage Cellars is the place to be every Wednesday and Friday at 6:00 pm. Got a hankering for some food trucks as well? Swing by Del Rio Winery every Friday from 6-9 until September 23rd for a range of food including BBQ and Peruvian cuisine and a spectrum of music from soft rock to bluegrass.
One more overlooked event that can’t be missed, is the Rogue Poetry Slam. A participatory event that occurs the third Tuesday of every month, aspiring poets read their original work during three rounds of a competition. If you don’t fancy yourself a writer, it’s just as much fun to be a judge: just make sure you stick around until the final round. Admission is $5 and sign ups begin at 7:30, and I guarantee you’ll laugh, cry, or be inspired during this event.
This is only a taste of the summertime events, but it’s a start in what’s sure to be a remarkable season of unbridled joy that only the Rogue Valley can bring. Cheers!
written by Katie Butler