Olalla Bluegrass Festival needs new volunteers to stay alive

Attendees enjoy dancing at a recent Olalla Bluegrass Festival. New volunteers are needed to keep the event running. - POI File Photo
Attendees enjoy dancing at a recent Olalla Bluegrass Festival. New volunteers are needed to keep the event running.
— image credit: POI File Photo

The Olalla Bluegrass Festival, a community staple for nearly 20 years, may grind to a halt without some new people taking over the reins.

Marty Kellogg, the event’s longtime manager, said he is spread too thin to run the festival anymore.

“I’ve been the chairman for a long, long time,” Kellogg said. “But I’ve got to take a backseat and let someone else lead now.”

Tonight, Kellogg and other organizers of the festival will meet at the Olalla Community Club to discuss what the festival needs to continue, which includes a manager, a secretary and at least two new facilitators.

“I believe this is a strong enough event that if people new the predicament, they would want to step up,” he said.

The festival began in 1991 after a group of Olalla residents banded together to do what they were told was impossible — fight off a developer who wanted to tear down their forest and put up condos.

When the residents succeeded in stopping the development, fellow festival founder Charlee Glock-Jackson said the group decided to take advantage of the momentum and do something many had wanted to do for years — revive their club.

“We had no idea what we were in for,” she said, explaining that by the time the group cleaned out the “knee-high bat (droppings),” they realized it would take a lot more work, and money, to bring the building back to life.

And so the Olalla Bluegrass Festival was born, and thrived, for nearly two decades. However, Kellogg said that core group of volunteers is running out of steam.

“We’ve been a circle of friends that have been working together for 18 years,” Kellogg said. “But when a group has been together that long, (eventually) certain people drop out, move away, get married. Things change, and it’s hard to replenish that core. We need to bring in some more bodies.”

Kellogg said the festival needs a new manager, treasurer and “facilitators.”

And although the group has “defined what those roles are,” Kellogg said any new volunteers, particularly a potential manager, should not feel confined by what has been done in the past.

“We are totally open to whatever that person would want to do,” he said. “The job is not just implementing what I have set up.”

Tonight’s meeting will begin at 7:30 p.m. at the OCC, located at 12970 Olalla Valley Rd.

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