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Making Noise, And Friends, At Free Beat Nation Drum Camp


Drumsticks from Free Beat Nation, a camp in Northeast Portland where kids learn to play the drums.

Drumsticks from Free Beat Nation, a camp in Northeast Portland where kids learn to play the drums.

Joanie Fox

For many people, the idea of sending their kids to a drum camp might sound a bit, well, loud. But for the parents whose kids attend Portland’s Free Beat Nation Drum Camp each summer, the extra noise is worth it.  

“Shamar came home five days a week with a smile on his face,” says LaShawn Lee, parent of a 10-year old Free Beat Nation camper. “It was all about the friends he was able to make. He was up at 5 every morning, dressed and ready to come to drum camp.”

Free Beat Nation is a no-cost drum camp in Northeast Portland for children ages 10–18. The five-day camp includes instruction in many types of drumming, culminating in a performance at the end of the week where campers can show off their new skills. Tadimdia Bridges founded the camp in memory of her boyfriend Derek Rieth, a percussionist and longtime member of the band Pink Martini, who passed away in 2014.  

In her film “Free Beat Nation,” director Joanie Fox tells the story of the drum camp and the children who make noise—and new friends—there.  

FREE BEAT NATION from Alchemy 3 Productions on Vimeo.

OPB is pleased to present “Free Beat Nation” as part of the 2017 Oregon Lens Film Festival, which showcases some of the best independent films in the Pacific Northwest.

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