Amongst all the people that look forward to the annual NMF, very few have insight into the core group of people and moving parts that make this event come to life. The Norman Music Alliance is the non-profit that puts together the festival and enables it to be a free event each year. Within this entity, there is a board of volunteers who work hard securing every piece of the festival puzzle. And yes, if you didn’t catch that--everyone behind the NMF is working as a volunteer. They put in many long hours, often outside of their regular jobs, to offer this festival to the public...and the planning process isn't always easy.
"It’s hard to find a free, 3-day festival anywhere. The variety we provide is unique, we have about every type of music you can imagine. The whole Norman community coming together, and the fact that we haven’t had anything major happen, is something we are very thankful for." -Bree Montoya, NMF Board Member
“The last year I was on the Jazz In June board, I remember sitting in the park thinking--this is my way of giving back to the people who did it for me. I am so thankful to them. I love Norman, there’s nowhere else I’d rather live. ”
Bree projected a lot of passion when it came to the festival, and the Norman community, and I could only guess that this kind of passion is what makes NMF so successful. The enthusiasm for this event truly starts from the roots of the people so intricately involved. As I visited with Bree over the lunch hour, I was eager to gain more information on her role and the festival itself.
Jenn: NMF has had a variety of headliners over the year, including Leon Russell, Polyphonic Spree, Audra Mae, Other Lives, Keller Williams and many more. You released news that Ra Ra Riot, Lee Bains III and The Glory Fires will be headlining this year. Can you share with us on your headliner selection process and what kind of flavor you hope that these artists can bring to your festival?
Bree: Fun, good energy, variety and diversity—everyone has something different that they want to get out of the festival. We want our headliners to bring a level of excitement and versatility. Ra Ra Riot is the electric type indie rock, and Lee Bains, he has a completely different style of music. I really want to be able to see both this year.
Jenn: As NMF has expanded throughout the years, who have been some of your biggest supporters and how have they contributed to growing this event?
Bree: Our biggest supporters have been Fowler Auto Group, Norman Arts Council, The City (The City Council, the Norman Police Department) our Operations and Production Team, our volunteers…this couldn’t happen without our volunteers. Everyone comes together, and it’s a lot of work, but quite fun.
Jenn: What have been NMF’s biggest challenges?
Bree: We have had budgetary challenges, and we had to make sacrifices last year. But the festival went off very smoothly with no glitches. We have to decide what we will sacrifice this year to make the following year even better. But we have a great team and great board to help address these issues.
Jenn: I know NMF is presented by Norman Music Alliance, which is a non-profit. What are some of the best ways people can support the festival itself?
Bree: Norman Music Alliance is the non-profit that plans and puts on the music festival. Everything is funneled through the non-profit entitity itself. There are a variety of ways that people can help—we always need people to volunteer. We need people who are willing to step us and play a bigger role in planning and organizing. Monetary donations, whether through being a sponsor, or even individuals can contribute to our sustained base memberships. For a small fee you are a member of our base, and you’re invited to different things that we have going on throughout the year. People can go to our website to find out more about sponsorships and ways to get involved.
Jenn: What do you think makes NMF unique amongst local and even regional festivals?
Bree: It’s free—it’s hard to find a free, 3-day festival anywhere. The variety we provide is unique, we have about every type of music you can imagine. The whole Norman community coming together, and the fact that we haven’t had anything major happen, is something we are very thankful for. Even the City of Norman complimented us on our event, which speaks volumes to the festival.
Jenn: Do you have any favorite moments from past festival experiences?
Bree: One of my favorite moments was hearing the Fire Marshall say that the weather was avoiding us, that was most memorable last year. We were under a severe weather watch—there were tornadoes that could break out at any moment. Fortunately, nothing happened, which was one of my monumental memories. I love addressing a challenge right on the spot, when it happens. Also seeing a crowd full of people smiling, having a good time--those are good moments.
Jenn: What growth do you anticipate from the NMF in years to come?
Bree: We would like to perfect what we’re doing now and would also love to achieve long-term financial stability--to create a reserve fund. We want to continue to see the festival grow and get bigger, for people to know about us on the coasts, and come from different states to attend the festival. As we expand, we can add new stages and hope to ultimately pay every single artist--that’s our primary goal.
Fowler Toyota Main Stage, Saturday:
12 PM Cosmostanza
1 PM Bowlsey
2 PM elms
3 PM Son of Stan
4:15 PM Native Lights
5:30 PM GROOMS
6:30 PM Johnny Polygon
8 PM Natalie Prass
9:30 PM Ra Ra Riot
Fowler Honda Depot Stage, Saturday:
12:30 PM Addison Baker
1:30 PM Aaron Newman
2:30 PM Annie Oakley
3:30 PM John Calvin Abney
4:30 PM Steve Pryor
5:30 PM Hosty
6:30 PM Paper Bird
7:30 PM Cornmeal
8:30 PM Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires
Bacardi Gray Street Stage Fri:
6 PM The Trading Co
7 PM Chase Kerby & the Company Men
8 PM Feel Spectres
9 PM And There Stand Empires
10 PM Bungalouski
11 PM MONTU
Bacardi Gray Street Stage, Saturday:
12:00 pm MilitantxMindz
12:20 pm KNOble Savage
12:40 pm Beetyman
1:00 pm Grand National
1:25 pm aDDLib
1:50 pm Ja’Porter
2:15 pm Ronnie Harris
2:40 pm LTZ
3:05 pm Deus Eyeslow
3:30 pm Frank Black
4:00 pm Dewey Binns
4:30 pm Roosh Williams
5:00 pm Josh Sallee
5:30 pm Jabee
6:30 pm Boare
7:00 pm PVLMS
7:30 pm Sardashhh
8:00 pm Sick Nick
9:00 pm Crystal Vision
10:30 pm NADASTROM
For the full line-up, check out normanmusicfestival.com