the past couple years a brand new festival has been taking shape down
in Provo, showing the city to the south can put on a local showing
like anyone else.
The Sego Festival hits this weekend, taking over two different part of Provo on each day. Friday will be a business included street party down University Avenue in downtown Provo, while Saturday will take place up at the Rock Castle Amphitheater. Both days feature some of the best that Utah County has to offer in film, art and of course music. And wouldn't you know it... the price is Free. I got a chance to talk with Festival Director Amilia Smith, about it all while her and her staff were on a madcap rush to get everything ready in time for the crazy two days ahead.
Gavin: Hey Amalia. First off, tell us a little bit about yourself.
Amalia: I'm Amalia, the Sego Festival Director, and I've been here in Provo for 5 years now, coming here originally to go to BYU for Sociology but have since decided to prolong my stay here for a while.
Gavin: For those who don't know, what is the SEGO Festival?
Amalia: The Sego Festival is a free showcase of musicians, artists, filmmakers, etc. all from Utah County.
Gavin: Where did the idea first come from to do this, and how did you go about planning the first one?
Amalia: The Sego Festival began in June of 2006, when a group of artists in the community felt the vibrancy of the contemporary art, music, and film in Utah Valley, and saw a need to create a showcase to promote and inspire that art in the community. As far as I know, Maht Paulos and Matthew Gifford had the idea and just kind of got going, using their friends to help them and scrapping together everything they needed to do so. It has always been very low-budget and grass-roots.
Gavin: Is it difficult to get everything together, or is it usually easy going?
Amalia: Because the Sego Festival is such a cool thing there are always people ready and willing to help. That has been pretty easy-going, but it is a lot of work because there are so many elements going into it, there are a lot of things to think about. And, of course, problems always seem to pop up unexpectedly, but that's going to happen with any big event that you plan.
Gavin: What was the first festival like for you, and what was the general reaction to it from the crowds?
Amalia: For me, the first festival was a total shift in how I saw Provo, from kind of a lame place to go to school to a place with tons of talent and potential. I wasn't helping out with it at that point, I had just heard about it from a friend so decided to come by and see what it was and I was seriously blown away by what was happening.
Gavin: How do all the local businesses enjoy participating in the festivities? And what do some of them have going on during Day 1?
Amalia: The local businesses that we work with generally seem to be really excited about this. The Downtown Business Alliance said that last year's Sego Festival kick-off event was one of the best events they've ever been a part of because it was fun and so well attended. I know Muse Music has something planned for the kick-off, they're having a Guitar Hero competition.
Gavin: Do you view the festival as becoming a major event, or is it still something that's specifically centered on the scene?
Amalia: We'd like for the Sego Festival to become a bigger event, one that will include the best bands from all around Utah. It'll take some work to get there but I think it can be done.
Gavin: Going a little state-wide, what are your thoughts on the local music scene, both good and bad?
Amalia: When I started getting into the local music scene a couple years ago I was quite impressed by the talent here. It's certainly underrated. I'm not sure I've been around long enough to know how it compares to other local music scenes state-wide though.
Gavin: Is there anything you believe could be done to make it bigger or better?
Amalia: One thing that generally helps the local music, art and film scenes is to have talented people stick around. To get into a community that is really friendly toward the arts a lot of artists will move to places like New York, San Francisco, Seattle, etc. So to build and strengthen a community here in Utah would be helpful.
Gavin: Do you wish there were more festivals like this happening around the state, or do you believe it wouldn't make it as special?
Amalia: Personally, I would love to have more festivals of this nature around the state. I love festivals, and I know for the people that can't make this one they'd love to have more available so they could still support the arts.
Gavin: What have you all got planned for the SEGO Festival this year?
Amalia: We have a lot going on, including 6 stages for music as well as hand-painted backdrops for them, video art, food vendors, a craft area, a raffle, etc. There is also going to be a place in which everyone can help to paint.
Gavin: Down the road, are there any plans to expand it to three days or take a bigger area, or are things fine the way they are?
Amalia: We are hoping to expand somewhat, such as possibly to have a couple different stages on Friday night as opposed to just the one that we have right now. 3 days would be tricky here in Utah, as attendance would not be very high on the Sunday.
Gavin: Aside from the obvious, is there anything you'd like to plug or promote?
Amalia: I would like to mention that everyone is helping to make this happen. Even the bands that are playing at the festival are all helping to pay for equipment and they're also volunteering a couple hours to advertise and whatnot. I think that's kind of what sets this apart from other music festivals, it's not as much about looking out for only what we can do for the bands, but it's about everyone working together to build and strengthen a community here.