After going to the North Park Festival of the Arts in 2006 and seeing its poor state of affairs, I called up the North Park Main Street office and spoke to Liz Studebaker, who had only been Executive Director for about two months at the time. I decided that instead of just complaining about all of the festival’s many issues, that I should get involved and use all of my event planning knowledge to help this community event live up to its full potential. So after being poorly utilized as a volunteer at a water tent in 2007, Liz sat down and listened to what I had to say. My voice was being heard and I was also invited to be on the committee for the festival.
During my first few committee meetings, I really wasn’t given a job because they weren’t really sure of where to place me due to my experience in event planning, fundraising, San Diego music, volunteerism and more. By the third meeting, I decided with Liz’s approval that I would love to help out on the music/staging aspect of the festival and as luck would have it, the Main Street Stage producer was an open slot.
For the last two years I have been booking, producing and managing the Main Street Stage. The North Park Festival of the Arts has also blossomed in the last two years with the following improvements: the addition of the City Beat Festival of Beers since 2008, collaboration with North Park Craft Mafia, Mudfest in 2008, retiring of many festival committee members (sad, but necessary for growth), and more connections with local businesses and artists. Better music and beer has brought more people to the festival, which has also brought more artists. I didn’t make all of these things happen, but I was on the supporting end of them.
There was a dog fashion show in between The Tighten Ups and The Shambles that was ridiculously popular (second to the baby fashion show that never occurred). Each of the bands came back to me and told me how much fun they had at this event. Bart Mendoza said that his parents even came out to see him play, which I guess isn’t that often.
This year’s festival was awesome, but next year’s will be even better. Why? I was recently asked to chair the festival committee and I accepted the challenge. Feel free to send me any ideas on how you think the North Park Festival of the Arts can improve. Also, if you have never been, you really need to go. It is always on the third Sunday in May. Mark your calendars now.