What Is Woody Guthrie Day?

A FREE EVENT at the Grand Coulee Dam on Saturday May 28th celebrating the 75th Anniversary of Woody Guthrie’s Columbia River Songs 1941-2016.

Hosted & curated by KEXP’s Greg Vandy, author of 26 Songs in 30 Days: Woody Guthrie’s Columbia River Songs & The Planned Promised Land in the Pacific Northwest, and featuring local artists singing Guthrie related songs, this event will officially recognize Guthrie at the dam site for the first time. In addition to music, there will be book readings, film screenings, panel discussions, and a Woody Guthrie lyric exhibit on display inside Grand Coulee Visitor Center. The traditional laser light show on the dam’s face will follow at dusk, officially starting the summer season in Grand Coulee.

A free, family event in recognition of Woody Guthrie’s Columbia river song cycle written as a commissioned songwriter for the Bonneville Power Administration in 1941, Woody Guthrie Day at Grand Coulee Dam is a not only a chance for Pacific Northwesterners to celebrate Woody, but also experience the scenic and historically interesting location in the Columbia Plateau. Ideal camping, hiking, and water sports are added bonuses to this Memorial Day event which includes an awesome road trip through the Coulee Corridor.

Not fully recognized at the dam site before, Guthrie’s river songs, including “The Grand Coulee Dam,” “Pastures of Plenty,” and “Roll On, Columbia” are historic contributions from the fight for public power in the 1930s and continue to be valuable cultural assets to our region’s legacy. It’s our hope and ambition to make known Guthrie’s efforts to a new generation of fans and to celebrate the man and his songs at the Grand Coulee Dam for the first time, on the 75th anniversary of his amazing song cycle.

This event is made possible by the support of the Bonneville Power Administration, The Woody Guthrie Center in Tulsa, American Standard Time, and Artist Home

Roll On Columbia!




  1. As a great admirer of Woody and his songs, four years ago I felt compelled to honor Woody’s 100th birthday anniversary year by taking a 960 mile musical road trip from my home in Seattle with my fellow performer Pat McIntyre to sing Woody’s iconic “Roll On Columbia” at the 6 rivers and the two dams Woody’s song mentions. Here is a link to that 12 minute video diary of our 2012 road trip:


    I am thrilled to learn of this great event honoring Woody at the Grand Coulee Dam. Unfortunately both Pat and I won’t be able to attend, as we will be singing at least one of Woody’s songs at Seattle’s annual Folklife festival that day.

    May we continue to spread Woody’s words and song throughout the world.

    Peter McKee, Seattle WA

  2. We, the communities that are here in the “shadow” of the Grand Coulee Dam, are very excited and pleased to have this event here. Come join us and enjoy a piece of history that greatly affected this nation – both the dam and Guthrie’s wonderful talent.

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