Oconto Falls music festival gets preliminary OK

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Our Fest would feature up to seven acts

Warren Bluhm, wbluhm@newmedia-wi.com

The Oconto Falls City Council has given a local band approval to plan an all-day music festival in September at Memorial Field that would feature as many as a half-dozen regional groups and “a national touring act.”

Mike Nicola, Brandon Olsen and Craig Hicks of What Shadows Hide, a “melodic metal band,” appeared before the council June 11 to share their idea for Our Fest.

“What we want to do is provide a platform for local and regional artists to play their music,” Nicola said. Their band would be one of those acts, along with He-Nis-Ra, whose lead singer is Oconto Falls native Joe Angus.

They’ve been in touch with the local American Legion and Disabled American Veterans about providing beer and food for the event.

As many as seven bands could perform including the headliner, and they’re exploring having dart and beanbag tournaments to raise some more money. The idea is to have Our Fest run from 2-11 p.m.

“We plan on starting with a little lighter music during the day … then some rock bands and some hard rock bands into the night,” Nicola said. “We’re still working on the headliner.”

They’re in conversations with a number of nationally known bands that could draw crowds from as far away as Green Bay and Appleton, he said.

A number of potential sponsors have been lined up to pay for the musicians and security, pending council approval. All-day tickets would run $15 to $20, with a discount for people who just want to come for the last few hours.

“Our goal is to do this safely and do this so we can impress the city to allow us to come back,” Olsen said. “We have a lot of things in the works but can’t solidify them until we get approval.”

The city ordinance calls for music to end at 10 p.m., but the council approved the concept with the extra hour.

“It’s a one-shot deal; if we get a lot of fallout, we’ll adjust it,” Alderman Kevin Rusch said.

The council approved the concept 5-0 and asked the group to keep the police chief, mayor and administrator updated on their plans.