By Jim Welte


I’m old enough to have felt just about every emotion that one can experience in their lifetime.

But my feelings on May 7th at the inaugural Mill Valley Music Fest were something else entirely. I spent an entire afternoon being stopped by friends, neighbors, acquaintances and, frankly, a ton of people I’d never met before, all sharing how thrilled and grateful they were that this event happened.

What a strange, bewildering feeling to be flooded with so much jubilation and pent up excitement. We created something that struck a nerve in our community after two-plus years of so much tumult and despair.

It was overwhelming and thrilling at the same time. And I didn’t really know what to do with it.

After having pure joy shared with me by dozens of people by mid-afternoon on Saturday, I retired to the walkway between the two buildings of the Community Center to take a deep breath and find some calm. It settled me.

I found out later that Gabe Burczyk, a member of our Mill Valley Chamber board of directors, had the same thing happen to him, and he retreated for a bit to gather himself. Without Gabe, along with the indomitable Paula Reynolds, the entire team at Noise Pop Industries, an amazing group of 60+ sponsors and with the stalwart support of the City of Mill Valley and the Mill Valley School District, the Mill Valley Music Fest does not happen.

I carried on through the rest of my day with friends and family, basked in the beauty of this anthemic moment, and then capped it off by playing some vinyl records in the middle of Friends Field with the legendary Corey Black/DJ Corster – a strategy to make sure that while the vast majority of people headed for the exits, the “you don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here” crowd was entertained for a bit longer.

This is all a very long-winded way of saying: thank you so much for the support, this community is incredibly vibrant – and let’s run it back again in 2023!

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