Co-founders of popular local music gathering ruminate on what makes DIO Fest so awesome.
By Julie Horner with Stevee Stubblefield and Jon LaBeaud
Do-It-Ourselves Festival is a 3-day grassroots live music event in benefit of Camp Krem’s Music Enrichment Program for people with special needs. Boulder Creek’s relatively unheralded annual festival seems to stay low on the local radar, though tickets always sell out. Each year in late April the only clues that hundreds of revelers are in town are the inexplicably full parking lots at Mountain Mechanics, Schwarzbach Realty, and HeartMath Institute and the sounds of live music on the wind.
Stevee: Basically, DIO grew from a seed, a group of young musicians in the SC/Bay Area who all wanted to make something rad together and make a difference. We take a lot of inspiration from the older generation of festivals and vibes (Redwood Mountain Faire, Strawberry, High Sierra, even Burning Man) but we do it in our own disaffected-millennial sort of fashion. We’re tired of feeling disconnected and fragmented by social media, we love making things and being creative together, and we love good causes. We also love being down-to-earth, authentic, and not over-baking anything…simply letting the expression flow in the way that feels best. I think that’s why we retain and attract hip up-and-coming talent is because our vibe is open and raw.
We love BC and have a real investment in the community. It’s a beautiful place, and people really go out of their way to listen and to appreciate what is worthwhile in the world. Our relationship with Camp Krem was sort of serendipitous. Jon worked there for a long time, and it was a no brainer when we started drawing the connection between music and kids with special needs.
Jon: I worked at Camp Krem starting in 2008. I was still working for Camp as the Year-round Program Director before moving to Florida in 2013, when a group of us friends had the idea to make this happen. Camp Krem seemed like the ideal place to have DIO, and since it was (and is) central to my life, I was happy to bridge the two things together and broker the deal between DIO and Krem. Now that the relationship is solid, we’ve been able to assist with Summer Camp staffing, bring awareness to the program, and also with fundraising efforts for the Music Enrichment Program as a result.
We try and focus on the meaningfulness of the space that we are sharing during the weekend, and stress how important the space is for many within the special needs community. Personally, Camp is so near and dear to me that I can’t stress enough ways that Camping Unlimited has benefited me. We get to work with their staff (many of whom I consider family). We get to see the facilities improve and grow due to the wonderful tenure of its dedicated staff and volunteers.
Camping Unlimited Board Members also attend DIO Fest, along with campers and parents/guardians. That has been really special, and I feel like when our event-goers see all of these families enjoying camp (for many their second home), it adds to the meaning and value of what the DIO culture represents. That all adds to their understanding and contribution to the DIO vibe and hopefully resonates for a bit longer than the three days that they attend.
DIO is far more than an event, it’s a movement…it’s a group of young people who want to do something that matters, for people who matter, and make rad art and positive impacts at the same time. We are excited to grow our community outreach and connections.