DeLand Original Music Festival an excellent adventure and better than ever

For as long as I have been in a band, I have heard of the Deland Original Music Festival. Every year, around late October, local musicians start gearing up for it and advertisements go out all over Myspace and Facebook; and every year my band mates and I say the same thing, "we will never pay to play a show."

Video by Multimedia Editor Sera Frederick. Here is a a video of Matthew Wall and his band "Radon Moon" playing in a benefit concert last year.

This is because, in order to play the festival, each band or artist is required to pay $35 dollars to become a member of the Daytona Music Society.

Now, I know this may seem a negligible sum, but the very idea of paying to play always engenders the same response from my band: we laugh, scoff and forget about the show entirely. This isn't about pride, but rather a matter of principle: no one should be making money off of musicians who aren't getting paid, so the idea of paying to play seems near blasphemous.

This year, however, things were different. This year we were invited to play. Our friends from the Daytona Pop/Rock band The Transfers were curating a stage, and they had already made a spot for us in the schedule.

After six years of being a band in Volusia County, Radon Moon finally decided to play the DeLand Original Music Fest, and we were just in time for it's 10th anniversary. In typical slacker form, I waited until the night before the festival to read the email containing all important information about the event.

Scrolling down and down through the immense email, I wondered to myself, "Just how big is this festival, anyway?"

That's when I checked the schedule of bands and found to my complete and utter astonishment that there would be 27 stages with bands playing at the same time throughout downtown Deland. This event would occur all day on Saturday, Nov. 6, with bands playing simultaneously on the streets, inside bars, storefronts, restaurants and on temporary stages scattered all throughout the downtown area.

The biggest of these stages, the main stage, was positioned squarely at the foot of the staircase of Deland's grand City Hall. But perhaps the most impressive fact about it all was that there would be approximately 145 artists and bands performing on the same day in the same city, and all of these artists and bands wrote their own music.

The moment we entered downtown Deland, I knew this festival was special. Masses of people were walking to and fro in the brisk weather, all with an apparent sense of urgency. This urgency, I thought excitedly, was because of all the music going on at the same time.

Nobody wanted to miss it.

This was a place, an event, that had a high concentration of people who really loved music. What more could a band ask for? I understood then that the $35 fee required of bands was to help support this enormous endeavor; to help support the arts... a small price to pay. Our stage was tucked away in a little corner of the festival, and though we had great bands on it, we didn't get the highest traffic.

Even still, crowds assembled and supported the artists on our stage.

Truth be told, the remoteness of our stage's location turned out to be a kind of blessing in disguise. This is because, for the first time in my entire decade long career as a musician and performer, I got too drunk to perform.

That's not to say that I didn't get on stage and give it my best, but I'm not so sure we can call what I did up there "performing." Such a word suggests proficiency and skill, both of which I lacked completely at that time, almost falling off the stage in one instance.

In my defense, I will point out that my Grace Slick episode had everything to do with a trip I took to the high class beer joint known as The Abbey directly before our scheduled set. I simply could not resist the temptation of being so close to The Abbey without indulging in one or two of their exquisite Belgium triple blondes.

Unfortunately, I had forgotten that these supreme brews have a much higher alcohol content than most beers. I remembered this on stage ten minutes later... it was probably one of the last things I remembered.

Just like there is no good excuse for getting too drunk to perform, there is also no excuse for missing the Deland Original Music Festival. Deland is a beautiful town, and during the festival it comes to life and shines.

A great number of musical styles are represented, from Rock and Roll to Hip Hop; DJ's are set up on the street side and minstrels slink in every corner with their acoustic guitars and songs about love.

On the way in to the festival, we even saw a marquee that advertised "Synth Goth." Yep, they have everything.

About the Blogger

Matthew Wall's picture

Strike A Chord
By Matthew Wall
Matthew Wall, 27, is the pup culture blogger for He lives in Daytona Beach and works in Ormond Beach. He received a B.S. degree in language arts education from the University of Central Florida in 2007. He plays bass guitar in his rock band "Radon Moon." Besides music, his interests include reading, writing, philosophy and spirituality.

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