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Keeping music alive in schools

  • Xavier Rudd is the headliner at this year's Petaluma Music Festival.

On Saturday, Aug. 3, Petaluma will be the proud host of the sixth annual Petaluma Music Festival, where people from around the county can enjoy music, food, and entertainment in support of keeping music programs alive in area schools.

The Petaluma Music Festival is a non-profit organization that donates the funds made from the event to Petaluma area public school music programs. Over the last five years, the festival as been able to raise and donate $75,000; however, the festival has not always been such a widely recognized event.

“The first year we held the festival, it was organized by Petaluma High School Music Boosters and the Petaluma Area Chamber of Commerce,” said Cliff Eveland, executive director of the festival since 2008. “Unfortunately, we lost a bit of money, but we decided to stick with it because we thought we could change what we did wrong the previous year.”

In 2009, Eveland and his associates decided to become independent from their supporters and made the festival a non-profit organization. From there, the festival slowly became a success, and, in 2010, the event was able to earn a sizable amount of money to give to various music-related programs. For the past two years, the festival has been well attended with numerous bands playing, wine and beer tastings, and even a recreation area for kids.

“Essentially, the festival we did in 2011 is the same one we did in 2012, although we do try to do something different each year,” said Eveland, who stated that he has found a successful format for arranging the entertainment. “We would like to expand our organization and grow bigger, but for now, we don’t want to grow too fast. We take little steps each year and make gradual changes instead of large adjustments.”

General admission to the Petaluma Music Festival will be $30, with a $75 option to be part of the VIP section where amenities such as reserved, shaded seating and complimentary wine and food tasting are offered. Teenagers ages 13 to 18 can purchase tickets for $15 at the gate, and kids 12 years old or younger are allowed into the festival for free.

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