Thoughts from Jim McAdams (one of the original organizers)!!!

Jim wrote this for the 3rd OEMF (thanks to Aerick Duckhugger) for this!L. Jim McAdams
By the time spring of 1997 rolled around I was getting to be pretty worn out with regard to putting on music shows. In fact by the end of the third day of the second festival, I wasn’t at all sure I would ever want to do it again. While the music was great, I was enjoying it less because of the encroaching administrative duties. Something had to change, to keep me interested, and unfortunately at that time, my interest still dictated whether it would happen or not (which was exactly what needed to change.) I delayed committing to do it at all, and finally through a series of heart to heart talks with Barbara Zelano, the Midnight Sun manager, I agreed to do it one last time with the hope that we could set up something that would continue to exist and grow long after I decided to move on. Arrington jumped in and helped immensely to pick up the slack. This was really the first year that someone besides me was completely equal in the booking, management, press, and everything else really. I commend him on his work.

We put this version of the festival together in so little time I still get dizzy to think about it. Neither Arrington nor I had an e-mail account at the time, so remembering my phone bills also messes with my stomach. Oddly, the year we did it without e-mail, was the year that this web page became an “official”voice of the festival, and we have Dick Metcalf to entirely thank for that. Working on often inaccurate notes and flyers from me, he truly brought the festival online.

We decided to go ahead and do it in April, and since May (the month of the first two fests) was a little too close, we set the dates towards the end of June. The short period of time we had to work with did not diminish our ambition. We added yet another day, moved the dates to a weekend based Thursday through Sunday format, tacked on two matinee shows, and increased out venues from one to three. We also did a program for the first time, and found the Olympia community surprisingly willing to support and sponsor us.

The opening and closing shows were still at the Midnight Sun, as well as Friday night, but the Saturday night show was at the Capitol Theater Backstage, a significantly bigger space, and the matinees were at the Arrowspace an art gallery/music venue also a short walk from the others. The first matinee was an all local showcase, and the second was the first installment of what I hope continues as annual tradition: The Improv Hat Draw, a chance for anyone who wanted to take part in the music by creating rather than just listening.

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