I grew up in the Ogden area and moved away after I graduated high school. I lived in another state for 5 years, got married and had two children. As my children got older and I wanted to venture out exploring with them I realized that the city I was living in wasn’t the place I wanted to raise my family. I looked into moving to a couple of different cities and states but my mind kept coming back home. So much about this place is exactly what I envisioned for my family: the proximity to the mountains, the small-town feel, and the friendly culture, just to name a few things. I decided to move back home and have spent the last 7 years falling back in love with Northern Utah, along with my children. It’s been exciting to take them to many of the same places I visited as a child. Just as much fun, though, has been discovering new things together.
This last weekend I took my children up to the 3rd Annual Ogden Valley Roots and Blues Festival in Liberty. Ogden Friends of Acoustic Music (OFOAM) wasn’t around when I was young and oh, how I wish they had been. They are a non-profit volunteer-run organization that offers amazing experiences to local families through great music.
They offer two family-friendly music festivals every year: the Ogden Music Festival and the Ogden Roots & Blues Festival. Each festival is 3 days long, offers overnight camping, and is free for all children under the age of 16. That last bit is what really sold me. I’m always looking for affordable fun adventures to take the kiddos on.
I was able to briefly stop by the Ogden Music Festival at Fort Buenaventura earlier this summer and had a total blast. When Mikaela gave me the opportunity to attend the Ogden Roots & Blues Festival I jumped right on board. I already had a pretty packed weekend but I didn’t even think twice about rearranging a few things and heading up that way. I wasn’t able to make it up Friday night and my plans on Saturday ran a bit long, so I missed the first couple of acts but made it just in time to catch the last few songs from Mad Max & the Wild Ones.
Mad Max & the Wild Ones are made up of the band of Maxwell brothers from Springville, Utah. They have a fun rockabilly sound that can make even a stick in the mud like me feel like getting up and dancing. I was so mad that I didn’t get to catch their full set but I’ll definitely try to catch them the next chance I get!
Eilen Jewell was up next, just about the time that the young ones started getting antsy. I got to listen to a few of her songs before the kiddos dragged me away and wow, her voice is incredible and her sound is so unique. (She also played Sunday, so festival goers got a double treat!)
Did I mention that the OFOAM festivals are family-friendly? Music to a mother’s ears. They had an entire area just for kid’s activities.
As the sun went down and the temperature dropped Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band took the stage. To say the crowd perked up would be the understatement of the year. The energy shifted and a match was lit. I could have listened to them all night. Unfortunately, mom forgot warm clothes and extra blankets, so we only got to stay for a few songs. Absolutely another band I’ll be checking out more, though!
Even with the yucky air quality the view was fabulous and the sunset breathtaking.
Sunday we headed up for the last two acts: Joe McQueen and Pinetop Inferno, both local and both incredible. Joe McQueen is a young 96-year old that is truly a master at what he does. Although the crowd had really thinned out I noticed some folks coming in just to see him and listen to a local legend. This was my first time being honored to see Mr. McQueen and I’m so glad I got the chance.
Pinetop Inferno is a group of Ogdenites that truly love playing for a local crowd and the energy was incredible. They sent the festival goers off with a bang and showed the rest of the lineup that we take our music seriously.
My kiddos and I had an incredible time up at the Ogden Roots & Blues Festival. We ate amazing food, visited with good friends, and listened to some incredibly talented musicians. OFOAM sure knows how to pick a beautiful spot and throw a rockin’ party. We’ll be back next year!