Expanded Music Festival returns Sept. 14-15

Music and art highlight ‘MFOG’ benefit for local school programs

For the second time in its four years, Music Festival of the Gorge (MFOG) returns to Waterfront Park this weekend.

Founded in 2015, rained out in 2016 and moved indoors because of the Eagle Creek fire in 2017, an expanded MFOG is scheduled for the park amphitheater. MFOG is a free, family-friendly concert benefiting music programs in Hood River area schools.

MFOG is produced in partnership with the Matt Klee Scholarship Fund and Arts in Education of the Gorge. Live performances begin at noon and continue throughout the day. Kids will spend the day creating 15-foot illuminated “good luck banners” to be installed at the park as they are completed, then taken down to be reused at other events.

“We’re solidifying the work we’ve done. This is only our second year to host the event at the park and we are excited to be back. That place is what motivated the event,” said Shelley Toon Lindberg of Arts in Education. “The cool thing this year is we will have a much more elaborate stage with a band shell,” at the amphitheater. “Everything more refined and professionalized.”

MFOG details

For information on the festival, the complete lineup, sponsors, and venues, visit musicfestivalofth....

For information on the Matt Klee Scholarship Fund, visit livelikematt.org

Events start Friday at Kickstand Coffee and Kitchen with a headline performance by Tony Smiley, with more live music offerings at Double Mountain and River City Saloon happening later. Funds raised during MFOG have resulted in donations of more than $19,000 to Hood River County Schools. Matt Klee, who died in 2015, was a musician and advocate for education as well as bicycle trails.

Each year, MFOG features a fresh lineup of Portland-Gorge area bands, covering an array of musical genres. Portland-based soul-rock band Dirty Revival will headline the main stage at the Waterfront Park from 8-10 p.m.

Lindberg described Dirty Revival as “a great dance band, with great energy.”

Food and beverages from Big Man Rotisserie and Empanadas Maria Elba will be available for purchase at the waterfront. There will also be kid-friendly activities hosted by Arts in Education.

After-hours music will continue 10 p.m. to midnight Saturday at three Hood River venues: Trillium Café downtown, and Volcanic Bottle Shoppe and Slopeswell Cidery on the Heights.

“We’ve played with having after-hours even in the past, but this is the most extensive lineup,” Lindberg said. “We looked at the Sisters Folk Festival playbook on how to engage the community more fully in the event.

“This is our first time to have a Friday kickoff, and adding other venues gives us the chance to have more music and in different places,” Lindberg said. “We can only have so many bands in the park, so this gives other musicians the opportunity to perform.

“The event is the week after Labor Day; hopefully, it will be a classic Gorge beginning of autumn day when we can celebrate where we live and people who make this place so great,” Lindberg said.

While the event is free, local kids will work the crowds at the park asking for donations, ”which goes incredibly well, actually,” Lindberg said. T-shirts and hats will be sold at Kickstand and Waterfront Park.

Insitu is lead sponsor and grants also come from Oregon Community Foundation and Lagunitas Brewery. Klee worked for Insitu, “and the company was very committed to being a supporter of the event.”

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