Northern Wyoming Daily News - Serving the Big Horn Basin for over 100 years

By Marcus Huff
Staff Writer 

Nowoodstock seeking donations

State budget cuts led to diminished arts grant


July 15, 2017

TEN SLEEP – The annual Nowoodstock music festival, held each August and celebrating 17 years this summer, has faced a financial setback due to cuts in Wyoming arts grants, and organizers are formally asking for donations to keep the music flowing on the banks of Ten Sleep Creek.

“I guess I got lulled into a false sense of security over the last five or six years,” said Pat O’Brien, director of Nowoodstock and frequent recipient of a Community Support Grant from the Wyoming Arts Council to fund the festival and pay performers.

This year, the council only paid O’Brien 8 percent of his usual grant, an amount that only added up to $7,000.

“I think a primary factor is the defunding of the NEA [National Endowment for the Arts] for the reduction,” said O’Brien. “It’s kind of a crap shoot.”

On Thursday, O’Brien’s daughter, Katie, set up a GoFundMe fundraising account to solicit donations to cover this year’s operating costs. By Friday morning, the venture had raised almost an additional $1,000.

“Our ultimate goal is $12,000,” noted O’Brien. “We had to do something rather than just watch it die.”

The event, originally an end-of-summer jam session for local musicians that started in 2000, was broadcast live for the first time over the internet by RT Communications in 2016. The full videos are available for viewing (over 30 hours) on the Nowoodstock YouTube page.

“I’m looking at a three-pronged attack to keep this thing rolling,” said O’Brien. “The GoFundMe, increased sponsor contributions, and practically begging people to bring their friends so we can add a few hundred people this year. Please, if folks can bring three or four friends … blackmail or beg them if you have to … it will really help.”

O’Brien notes that it would be unfair to put any burden on the bands that participate, noting that many of them work for below scale to be part of the festival. “This is really all about showcasing what Wyoming has to offer,” noted O’Brien.

This year, artists include Ten Sleep native Jalan Crossland, The Two Tracks, The Jackson Six, Blind Dog Smokin’, Sugar Still, Chad Lore & Free Bier, Chanman Roots Band, The Symbols, Knock On and DJ Haley. Once again, RT Communications will live stream the entire event online.

“RT has been really great to us, and is helping immensely get through this year,” said O’Brien. The promoter and local radio personality also noted that the Worland-Ten Sleep Visitors Council has provided extra advertising for the event.

Going forward, O’Brien is ready to keep Nowoodstock alive, despite a lack of state funding. “I’m just going to assume we get nothing from the grant process from here on out, and figure out a solution to keep going.”

For more information on Nowoodstock, visit, or visit their GoFundMe page at


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