Willamette Valley Music Festival returns to the UO for its 44th year

Willamette Valley Music Festival returns to the UO for its 44th year
Pluto The Planet plays on the Mainstage at The WVMF on Saturday, May 10 at the UO. The WVMF was hosted by the UO Cultural Forum with 12 bands on three different stages from noon to 1 am. Ally Taylor, Oregon News Lab

EUGENE, Ore. -- Eugeneans of all kinds came together on Saturday, May 10 to listen to 12 bands spread across three stages on the UO campus from noon to 1 am.  

This is the 44th year of the Willamette Valley Music Festival (WVMF), originally called the Willamette Valley Folk Festival that originated in 1970. This year Miles Thoming-Gale and Taylor Jones, of the UO Cultural Forum, coordinated the festival. 

“We just wanted to focus on the community this year and give everybody something to do,” said Jones. “It’s important to give different cultures an opportunity to express themselves and get people involved.”

The goal of the festival this year was to promote cultural awareness and sustainability. At one stage audience members were given the opportunity to power the electricity by bicycling. The energy they generated on the stationary bikes powered the stage equipment.  

The festival was equipped with water refill stations, recycle and compost bins to promote a zero waste program.

The university welcomed 12 different bands from both local and national backgrounds. Bands played hour to hour and a half sets on three different stages throughout campus.  

Green Garter Band opened at noon without fail despite the rainy weather. Eugeneans came out to support the bands and the crowd grew throughout the day as the weather improved. 

Maggie Jackson of Burnin’ Moonlight was featured at the WVMF in 1972 and 1973 and returned this year.

“The buzz has stayed the same, but the trees have definitely gotten taller,” Jackson remarked on the campus scene. “I came here as a solo artist my first year and it’s nice to come back with a couple friends to play with.”

Fellow Burnin’ Moonlight members Jim Roy and Scott Jaxx came to the festival for their first time this year and played at the Buzz Café accompanied by beer and cider tastings.

Music was not the only form of entertainment of the day. Zany Zoo hosted a petting zoo across from the EMU with an assortment of snakes, porcupines, ferrets, and a pet ring-tailed lemur named Chester. Excitement spiked when Chester the lemur escaped the zoo and caused an uproar on the lawn as participants tried to catch him.  

“This is our first year at the WVMF and it’s been a really fun time,” remarked Zany Zoo owner Nate McClain. “We look forward to coming back next year.”  

The WVMF festivities wrapped up around 1 am closing with a local DJ competition hosted by Campus DJ.