Thursday: Free Oregon Symphony Concert @ Portland Waterfront Park | 15,000+ People, Fireworks, Cannons, Dancers

Time to start planning for your First Thursday and Labor day weekend in Portland. The Oregon Symphony kicks off its new season with their 16th annual concert at the Waterfront Park this coming Thursday. 15,000+ people are expected to attend the event which includes music, dancing, fireworks, cannons, and more.

Plus, it’s all FREE.

Related On Pipeline –  Win Tickets ($80) Chris Botti w/ Oregon Symphony @ Arlene Schnitzer (Sept. 10)


From our sponsors @ Oregon Symphony:
Oregon Symphony Waterfront Concert
Thursday, Sept 1, 2011
Tom McCall Waterfront Park | 1020 Naito Pkwy
More info:

5 PM Portland Youth Philharmonic
7 PM Oregon Symphony

The annual tradition of launching the Oregon Symphony season with a FREE park concert continues with the much anticipated Symphony performance at Tom McCall Waterfront Park. No tickets are required. Bring chairs or blankets for lawn seating.

Closing festivities include the traditional grand finale Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture with an elaborate fireworks show, complete with military canons from the Oregon Army National Guard 218th Field Artillery.

What's So Special About This Concert:

  • A popular Portland end-of-summer tradition now in its 16th year, the Waterfront Concert is the Oregon Symphony's free performance of the year and annually draws its biggest audience. A crowd of 15,000 or more is expected.
  • Concert goes green!  Instead of printing thousands of programs, most of which are left behind on the grass, this year's concert program will be available as a smartphone app.  (iPhones and Androids only). Link to program for those who want to print out programs/don’t have smart phone here.
  • Music Director Carlos Kalmar and Resident Conductor Gregory Vajda share the conducting duties.
  • Dancers from Oregon Ballet Theatre will also take part, performing to three Gershwin tunes.
  • The traditional grand finale and everyone's favorite outdoor show-stopper, the Tchaikovsky 1812 Overture will herald an elaborate fireworks show, complete with military cannons from the Oregon Army National Guard 218th Field Artillery.
  • Before the Oregon Symphony takes the stage, the Portland Youth Philharmonic, led by Music Director David Hattner, will perform an hour-long concert of its own from 5 to 6 p.m. PYP musicians also join the Oregon Symphony for the 1812 Overture.
  • Concert ends with fireworks over the river.
  • The concert is funded by the Regional Arts & Culture Council, including support from the City of Portland, Metro, and Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington counties. Additional support is provided by Portland Parks & Recreation. Presenting sponsors of the concert are NW Natural and KOIN-TV.


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10 Responses to Thursday: Free Oregon Symphony Concert @ Portland Waterfront Park | 15,000+ People, Fireworks, Cannons, Dancers

  1. Eric Lorentzen September 1, 2011 at 11:22 am #

    The smart phone program is a bad idea. It excludes people without the devices. I am shocked about this “patrons only” attitude. A free concert concept should never eliminate a class of people from access to programs.

  2. Bobcat September 1, 2011 at 12:40 pm #

    I bet if you cried about it, someone would let you look at their phone.

  3. Lindsey September 1, 2011 at 1:14 pm #

    Mmmeeeoowww, Bobcat! … get those fangs in there! While going green is an awesome idea ( and I am in favor on not wasting ink and paper on something that is just going to trash the park), not everyone has a smart phone.

  4. Lindsey September 1, 2011 at 1:15 pm #

    I am in favor “of” not “on” wasting in and paper…

  5. no September 1, 2011 at 1:44 pm #

    Aww, what about the poor people? What about the hippies?

    Fuck off.

  6. Seriously.. September 1, 2011 at 4:12 pm #

    You’re going to complain about a FREE concert? Seriously? It’s like complaining that the water in the water fountains around town aren’t smart water, get over yourself.

  7. pdxpipeline September 1, 2011 at 4:21 pm #

    Here is the link to the program if you don’t have a smart phone and want to print it out:

  8. pdxpipeline September 1, 2011 at 4:24 pm #

    Also, from the site/link above: Tonight’s concert program
    will be announced from the stage, and also can be
    downloaded to a smartphone.

  9. Mark Seibold September 13, 2011 at 3:39 pm #

    Dear Portland natives and supporters of the Free Symphonies in the Park-

    Sorry I am apparently out of the loop in your discussion about tehcnology vs ink on paper above here….

    My wife and daughter and I used to attend every Waterfront Park and other outdoor summer concert for many years as our daughter also played in the Youth Philharmonic for three years, so we got notices from her violin teachers.
    I was just really dissapointed that with all this technology today, whether online electronic or old US Mail in hardcopy ink and paper, I am saddened to have missed all the summer Waterfront Park concets this season with every mention I see of them after the fact now online that they already occurred?
    Where are all the announcements going? I have more people and artists groups linked to my Facebook, Arts Can linked from the City Government… I see no announcements from the Symphony ahead of these events.

    Please tell me that they are not over today [September 13th] for the rest of the season?

    Thank you,
    [email protected]

    Mark Seibold,
    Retired IT Tech, Artist-Astronomy Educator, Portland-Sandy, Oregon

    • pdxpipeline September 13, 2011 at 3:53 pm #


      The Symphony is definitely still in full swing. You can sign up on their mailing list and get a nice pamphlet listing their entire season on their website, You can also sign up for our mailing list here. We post free events like this all the time and in advance of the performances. Hope this helps!

      PDX Pipeline editor

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