WHAT Fest music festival eXpands


Going on its second year in Riverside with growing popularity, the WHAT Fest two-day musical festival is looking at an even bigger and better turnout for 2013.

Margaret Weber, owner of the Bear Trap Cafe and Bar in Riverside, said WHAT Fest began as a festival 10 years ago in Cody, but was moved to the Bear Trap last year for space purposes. She said the festival had grown so much with attendees and artists over the years, to the point where a larger space was required.

“It began from a bunch of musicians and friends who thought this would be a fun thing to put together, and it started with 50 or 60 people and just exploded from there,” Weber said. “It had outgrown the campground up there in Cody as the festival got bigger, so it was moved here because we had plenty of room. In the past, it was mostly just Wyoming artists who played, but now we have bands who come from the Colorado Front Range, Louisiana, Texas and other states, so we’ve opened up quite a bit.”

With a large number of artists from coming from Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas and Louisiana, Weber said the festival will now feature three stages- a outside south stage, outside north stage and indoor acoustic stage- so acts can perform simultaneously throughout the day.

She said more than 110 nationwide artists submitted music to be considered for the two-day event this year, and that 37 of them, coming from a wide range of styles, made the final cut.

“We’ll have 37 artists, including country, americana and singer-songwriter artists, and we’ll even have some punk, ska, a DJ, and even a burlesque troupe,” Weber said. “There’s a lot of word of mouth that goes on about this festival now, and it is becoming this big thing where so many artists are trying to get in to play. We’ll also have arts and crafts vendors who work with leatherworks, tie-dye and other arts and crafts.”

Weber also noticed a large audience last year, including people from all over the west staying at local campgrounds or motels or for the full two days. She also encouraged donations for the WHAT Fest, which are accepted through the “Indiegogo” website used for music festivals.

“We’ve had people from Wyoming, Idaho, Montana and Colorado, and we’re always drawing in more and more people from out of town,” she said. “We accept donations, since the event is free and it costs a lot of money to put this together. There are a lot of expenses that go into this, some of which are little things no one really knows about, so any help we can get is great.”

The WHAT Fest is free of charge and takes place Friday and Saturday, July 26 and 27, at the Bear Trap Cafe and Bar in Riverside along Highway 230.

Music begins at 4 p.m. on Friday and 12 p.m. on Saturday, and lasts until 1 a.m. on both days.

For more information on the event, visit http://www.whatfest.com. To make a donation, visit http://www.indiegogo.com and type “WHAT Fest 2013” in the search box.


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