By Jim Welte, Mill Valley Chamber
In the aftermath of Mill Valley Chamber’s 2022 Mill Valley Music Festival that left us breathless at times by the overwhelming exuberance and gratitude from the community, we spent quite a bit of time evaluating the volumes of feedback we received.
We knew that the catapult of the original event’s success was the more than two years of tremendous turbulence that preceded it. We wanted the Mill Valley Music Festival to bring us all together for a thrilling, multi-genre, all-ages event surrounded with a bounty of delicious food, drink, art, kids’ activities and more on Friends Field behind the Mill Valley Community Center.
The community’s response was clear: “More, please – of all of it.” So we decided, with eyes wide open, to grow MVMF to two days, allowing us to expand upon the power of song, infusing our spirits with joy and a communal, sonic experience with friends and neighbors.
But what about the why? Is it just a grand party that celebrates our affluent town?
Our Chamber members, primarily businesses, nonprofits and individuals, know who we are and what we stand for. But we haven’t always articulated that as well as we could to the broader community that doesn’t engage with our newsletters, blogs and social channels.
More than anything, MVMF is about continuing to be better neighbors to those within and around our community. Whether it’s our years-long support for the We Are One Marin Campaign highlighting BIPOC-owned businesses and its related We Are One Marin Podcast or our longstanding coverage of inequity in our town, from historic to much more recent and shining a light on discrimination among us, we’re committed to making our town more equitable. That includes both workforce and affordable housing.
But what are we doing to provide direct support to our neighbors? We’re leveraging the incredible generosity of individuals and businesses for good by turning Community Sponsorships into hundreds of scholarship tickets for students and artists – more than 300 were distributed in 2022 – who might not otherwise be able to attend MVMF. The more sponsors we get, the more people will be able to attend on a scholarship ticket via a number of local nonprofit organizations.
The Chamber is also donating a portion of proceeds to a trio of local institutions, including the Hannah Project, whose mission is to boost the academic proficiency and college attendance of Marin City and other low income youth of color to promote a community culture that encourages achievement, celebrates heritage, and equips families and students with the knowledge, skills, and strategies to fulfill their dreams and ambitions.
Kiddo!, the organization largely responsible for funding art, music, dance, drama and poetry programs for the Mill Valley School District, is also a beneficiary, as is the Tam High Foundation, which has served as an inimitable backbone for high school programs across the board.
Speaking of our broad support for our nonprofit beneficiaries and equity within Mill Valley and beyond, we’re also happy to say that some of our sponsors are helping us shine a light on critical issues. We’re in the early stages of establishing a water conservation and sustainability theme for MVMF in conjunction with recently elected Marin Water District Board Member Jed Smith, whose district includes Mill Valley and all surrounding unincorporated neighborhoods west of Highway 101 and much more.
We’ll continue to strive for ways to use the power of this lil’ music festival to bring both sonic joy and more opportunity to our friends and neighbors.
Questions? Give us a shout.
Want to know what’s happening around town? Click here to subscribe to the Enjoy Mill Valley Blog by Email!
Would you consider scholarships for teachers? Or volunteer opportunities for free/reduced tickets? We had such a wonderful time last year, but with the nearly doubling in ticket prices, I just can’t afford to go and bring my son this year. I was so bummed to see the total price when I put it in my cart, and had to cancel. Feels like it’s just an event for the affluent now…