By the East Oregonian
PENDLETON — The Pendleton Whisky Fest will celebrate its fifth anniversary this summer, and organizers are planning on a multi-genre lineup to celebrate the occasion.
Country music star Eric Church and Seattle rapper Macklemore will headline the 2020 show at the Pendleton Round-Up Grounds.
“It is a unique event that brings some of the world’s top acts to a historical venue in the heart of Oregon,” said Andy McAnally, Pendleton Whisky Music Fest co-organizer.
“Its continued success is proof that we have hit on something special and we look forward to welcoming Eric Church and Macklemore in July.”
The two performers will hit the stage on July 11.
Church is a three-time Country Music Association and six-time Academy of Country Music Award winner who released his critically acclaimed album “Desperate Man” atop the Billboard Country Albums chart in late 2018.
The album, featuring his most recent No. 1 hit “Some Of It” and current single “Monsters,” also debuted at No. 5 on the all-genre Billboard 200.
The North Carolina native is nominated for two Grammy awards for best country album and best country song.
Church has released six studio albums since 2005, including his third album “Chief,” which topped the pop and country charts, and the singles “Drink in My Hand” and “Springsteen,” both hit No. 1.
Grammy award-winning artist Macklemore will also take the stage to perform several Billboard hits and entertain the crowd with his high energy show.
He’s no stranger to the Pacific Northwest. Macklemore was born in Seattle and is part of the ownership group of the Seattle Sounders FC, a Major League Soccer club.
Macklemore and producer Ryan Lewis teamed up on the single “Thrift Shop,” which reached No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 in 2013. The duo’s second single “Can’t Hold Us” also hit No. 1 on the Hot 100 chart, making Macklemore and Lewis the first duo in the chart’s history to have their first two singles both reach No. 1.
The pair won four Grammy Awards at the 2014 ceremony, including best new artist, best rap album, best rap song and best rap performance.
Whisky Fest co-organizer Doug Corey said having Church and Macklemore coming to Pendleton is a special pairing for the fifth anniversary.
“It’s a great event. We couldn’t be more excited,” Corey said. “What a great team that’s going to be and I think they’re excited to work together.”
Whisky Fest has drawn a diverse list of performers to Umatilla County in its four-year history. Zac Brown Band headlined the first show in 2016.
Maroon 5, Blake Shelton, Pitbull, 50 Cent and Post Malone have also made stops at the event.
Corey said the timing of the announcement, earlier than in previous years, just came down to getting the artists signed on the dotted line.
“We’re excited to get it out there. People can make their plans,” he said. “They know it’s going to be a great one and we’ve still got a couple slots yet to fill that we’re almost close to filling. We wanted to release this at this time and let the main names out there.”
Post Malone and 50 Cent drew about 17,000 concertgoers to the Round-Up Arena in July. Corey said the 2019 edition drew the second largest crowd.
In 2018, the combination of Pit Bull and Blake Shelton pulled in about 18,700 people. Corey is optimistic the Church and Macklemore crowd will rival the 2018 show in attendance.
“I would say that we’re going to try and shoot for what we did with PitBull and Blake,” he said. “It’s going to be that kind of show. They’re both very, very popular.”
The event will also continue its popular Friday night kick-off party on Main Street to open Whisky Music Fest.
“That’s turned out to be a great show and great time for everybody,” Corey said.
“I think it’s kind of almost like an old hometown crowd mixed in with all the people who come in from out of town. It’s turned into a real nice event.” Tickets are on sale now. See pendletonwhiskymusicfest.com/.