Oyster Ridge a success

Festivalgoers cheer at Triangle Park over the weekend. (GAZETTE PHOTO/Michelle Tibbetts)

KEMMERER — It’s official, the 25th anniversary of the Oyster Ridge Music Festival is over — and a great success. You could feel the energy building around town on Thursday. Traffic was heavier, stores were busier than usual, and the convoys of campers began to arrive. The ORMF committee members were busy as bees putting up tents, installing the sound systems and conducting their last volunteer meeting. The team was making sure everything was ready for the big weekend ahead. By early Friday morning, many locals had begun placing their chairs on the grass of Kemmerer’s Triangle Park, claiming their favorite spot as the festival got underway.

“I loved being part of it,” said Angie Miller, a new member to the ORMF committee. After a year of meetings and planning, the efforts were validated. “I think the fact it’s free is the best and all the volunteer work we all put in is worth the effort, whether it’s a little or a lot. All the people on the committee are amazing.” 

This was a very special festival for Kemmerer. It is an amazing event that has brought the community together with free music since 1994. It was extra special to me as well, since that was the year I moved to Kemmerer. Honestly, I don’t remember the first festival or even if I went, but what I do remember is the first time I pulled into Kemmerer.

This festival brought me back to those early years in Kemmerer. Seeing the majestic Kemmerer Hotel that stood tall on the triangle and all the other old buildings giving this small town a solid western vibe, I felt like I was stepping back in time as the town resembled a Hollywood western movie set. The town has kept most of that western charm, and Kemmerer has become my home. 

We’ve seen many things change since 1994. It’s hard not to spend time reflecting upon the festivals of the past. Twenty-five years is a long time when you think about it. A whole quarter of a century has come and gone. It really forced me to look back over this time here in Kemmerer.

All the different company we’ve all had, the family members and friends who have visited and become part of our ORMF traditions. How has ORMF changed your life? It’s become somewhat of a holiday to most of us. The anticipation, preparations and planning happen all year long. Then when the weekend finally gets here, we are so excited we can’t stand it! And then before you know it it’s over.

Why did it have to go by so quickly? I tried to be lucid and slow down over the weekend. Listen to every band, sit and really absorb the music, the people, the happiness of it all. The weekend can seem to last longer by remembering these feelings, by continuing the spirit of the festival throughout our daily lives. By making ORMF a way of life.

So much positive energy is created by this festival. ORMF has the power to get people dancing, smiling, laughing, loving and spreading kindness. What’s better than that? Maybe another 25 years of this free music festival. They need your help. It’s not easy to continue to provide this caliber of music as a free event for everyone.

What can you do? As the committee members tell us, “Donate, donate or donate. No amount is too small.” They always need help, whether it’s a donation for the raffles, lending a helping hand or even just spreading the word. Help get more folks to join us in our fabulous ORMF holiday weekend.

Go to www.oysterridgemusicfestival.com to make a donation or sign up to volunteer. Thank you to all who help make this event possible; the community and its future generations will thank you. Keep the music going and I hope to see you next year!