It wasn't held on a farm in upstate New York, Jefferson Airplane didn't make an appearance and any possible protest songs most likely didn't mention the Vietnam War. However, Why Not Fest, the annual three-day music and art festival, was held this past weekend indoors with its own group of talented musicians and songs offering messages of change and hope.
Why Not Fest featured 100 bands over three days as a way to showcase the music and arts scene in Minot. It started with a kick-off event on Thursday night at Souris River Brewing and officially started on Friday evening, with performances at Pangea House, Sweet 'N Flour Patisserie, Otis & James and the Taube Museum of Art.Why Not Fest continued all throughout Saturday and Sunday. Festivities had been scheduled to take place at Roosevelt Park on Sunday, but were moved indoors to the Taube Museum of Art and Pangea House due to the rain.
Jazmine Wolff, festival organizer, said last year about 500 people attended Why Not Fest, and this year there have been about 600 to 700 people in attendance over the whole three days.
The band Zoo on Fire performs for a small crowd at the Taube Museum of Art on Sunday afternoon during the fifth annual Why Not Fest. The festival celebrates music and art and took place at a variety of downtown venues. A wide variety of musical acts, as well as art displays, a fashion show and a film festival were all included in the three-day event.
This year, for something new to add to the Why Not Fest, Wolff said they included a film festival, which was held at Pangea House on Sunday. Why Not Fest also partnered with Minot Fashion Week, a group of artists and designers who showcase their creations while raising money for local non-profit organizations. Local artists and designers created fashions made out of food for a static display held at Sweet 'N Flour Patisserie.
Wolff said there was also a reprisal performance of the musical created by attendees of Pangea House that was written for the Minot Public Library's Summer Reading Program. The musical is about a girl scientist who wants to travel into the future and find a robot that will do her book report for her, Wolff explained, and learns lessons from different characters along the way.
People seem to like the Why Not Fest because the Minot community cares, is supportive and has an appreciation for music, Wolff said. "This is the underground music scene so you will probably never hear them on the radio," she added, about the musicians performing at the festival. "But people like how talented the musicians are and that something like this happens here."
This was the fifth year that Why Not Fest was held. It started in celebration of a friend who had passed away, Wolff said, and now is a celebration of the friend plus a celebration of what the musicians and artists do, all in one weekend. "It's an opportunity for the community to come together."
A festival like this would be impossible to do without the support of the downtown businesses who offered their places for the weekend, though, Wolff continued. "We have a really strong base of volunteers," she added. "If you have enough interest, you can do something big. People have a lot of heart here."
Next year's Why Not Fest will likely offer many of the same music performances and art displays, but every year they try to add other mediums, Wolff said. She thought next year there might be an addition of the written word, such as an essay contest.