I love playing music festivals because for 1 hour I get to do one of my favorite things (play music), and for two days I get to do my other favorite thing (watch awesome bands).

Happy birthday, KEOL. You were the first college radio station I was exposed to, you’re a breeding ground for cool people, and dammit… you’re doing the Lord’s work: Accosting the airwaves with the most important of noises.

Actually, funny story about KEOL: My favorite movie for the better part of my teens was Empire Records. It must’ve been a combination of how much fun it made a minimum wage job look, the total Betty & Veronica thing Liv Tyler and Renee Zellweger had going on, and of course, the fantastic soundtrack (I have it on vinyl now).

Empire Records Soundtrack

By the time I’d worn out my first VHS copy of Empire Records, I realized that as stellar as the soundtrack album itself was, there were about 16 more priceless songs that were featured in the film but weren’t on the soundtrack. This was about 2 or 3 years before Limewire even poked it’s nose out, so presumably the only way I’d be able to create the unabridged soundtrack album sequel of a lifetime would be to go to a music shop and order each album individually. Way out of my budget.

A good pal of mine during my freshman year at EOU was a DJ at KEOL. I don’t know if what comes next in this story was a violation of the DJ code of conduct, so let’s just call him Manny. Manny had the Saturday¬†3am-6am slot, and he asked me to join him as a guest which meant smoke cigs, drink coffee, spin records, and answer calls from whatever crazies were phoning in to the college radio station at 4am.

91.7 FM KEOL, La Grande, OR

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So I paused my VHS tape on each frame of the credits and made my list of artists and songs that were credited in Empire Records. I picked up a 120 minute Memorex cassette tape on my way to the station, and for two nights we spun these tunes for the zombie crowd while I captured them on the tape deck. KEOL had every one of the albums.

I still have that tape somewhere. It’s so good. Anybody have a Walkman I can borrow?

Anyway, in celebration of KEOL’s birthday, the station manager Rocky Gothard booked a bunch of rad bands from all over North America, and KEOL Fest was born last weekend. I had a great time playing and listening. ¬†I made some new friends and hung out with some old ones. Here are some pictures. These are just a few of the bands that performed over the 2-day festival: