By Ossie Bladine • Editor • 

Double the music, double the fun

In the days leading up to the event, the inaugural Wildwood MusicFest & Campout was dubbed a “learning year” by its organizer, Katie Vinson, and festival grounds landowner, Kim Hamblin.

But the all-day music concert featuring 10 local, regional and national acts went off, seemingly, without a hitch. Those in attendance enjoyed great food and music. Adults savored local wines and beers. Kids pranced around the grounds, delighting in games, face-painting and a petting zoo.

Given how smoothly the day went, no one needed to consider the red tape Vinson cut through for months, learning as she went through the complicated process of throwing a large event. And none of the beer drinkers realized the festival-logo cups they drank from — along with reusable plates and forks — were delayed by a Montana train crash days before the Saturday festival. On Friday, Vinson drove to Salem, hoping to find the shipment or at least learn where it was. No such luck. But when she returned home to Willamina that night, there was the order waiting on her front desk.

“It’s just amazing how everything came together in the end,” Vinson said.

The success of the festival and the positive reviews that followed left Vinson and her team with plenty of confidence heading into their second year. This time around, the event will grow to a weekend-long affair, with music beginning Friday, July 19, at 3 p.m. and continuing through Saturday.

Roshambo Art Farm is home to the event, located on Highway 18B between Willamina and Sheridan. Camping onsite is free with a weekend pass.

Last week, Vinson announced the 20 acts scheduled to perform this year, and released the new publicity poster.

You may not recognize the musicians’ names, but the caliber of the lineup is top notch, focusing mostly on Americana and roots music — blues, country folk and rock. About two-thirds of the acts hail from this region, with one local band of young rockers on the bill — the Hill Dogs from Newberg. Others will travel from afar. Those include headliner Brown Bird (Rhode Island), Possessed by Paul James (Austin, Texas), The Deadstring Brothers (Detroit, Mich.), Shivering Timbers (Akron, Ohio) and Broken Rodeo (Chico, Calif.).

Vinson is a self-proclaimed music junkie. But she has also become a well-respected promoter. Her festival will continue to be successful for several reasons, one of which is that the musicians themselves have a great time. A festival like Wildwood is a working vacation for them — an escape from barrooms and other everyday gigs and an organic outlet to celebrate the spirit of roots music.

Tickets for the festival are on sale now at

For a small sample of what to expect at the festival, check out the show at the Wildwood Hotel this Friday featuring two acts from last year’s lineup: Sassparilla and Right On John. The concert starts at 9 p.m.

Ossie Bladine can be reached at

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