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West Fest to celebrate 10 years of KDWG 90.9 college radio

UMW News Bureau

kdwg logoThe University of Montana Western’s radio station, KDWG 90.9, is turning 10-years old. To celebrate, the station is featuring West Fest on April 15, 2011 on the Montana Western Tundra.

The event will feature five bands, an art show, barbecue and a beer garden.

The idea for a campus radio station began in 1998 when Montana Western students chose to vote for a fee, which would fund a non-commercial, alternative student-operated radio station. Following approval by the Federal Communications Commission on Nov. 28, 2000, the radio station began training its staff and developing a program for students and Dillon community members to listen to. Their first broadcast aired on Jan. 17, 2001.

After 10 ten years of being on air, organizers felt a revival of sorts was needed. After applying for a job at Montana Western as a music director, business management student Cory Birkenbuel was instead offered the task of planning KDWG’s 10th anniversary celebration.

Despite his recent promotion to general manager, Birkenbuel’s plans for KDWG’s future remain the same: boost listenership by improving programming and drawing several hundred attendees to the event.

“We are going to take what we have and work from there,” Birkenbuel stated. “We want to try to gain listeners and gain their input and constructive criticism in order to make KDWG better. We’re just trying to make the radio station better for students and for all listeners.”

The 10th anniversary celebration provided an excellent opportunity for KDWG and its staff to gain new listeners.

West Fest will begin at 3 p.m. with a color guard performance by Montana Youth Challenge. Live music will begin at 3:15 p.m. following the color guard presentation. Five bands will be present: Dillon’s Black Rose Band will perform from 3:15 to 4 p.m.; Kayli Smith, a singer and guitarist from Dillon, Mont., will perform from 4 to 5 p.m.; Dillon native and singer and guitarist Greg Botsford and the Journeyman will perform from 5 to 6 p.m.; the reggae, hip hop, island jam band Landlocked will perform in the 6 to 8 p.m. slot. The last performance will be by country western band The Dirty Shame.

Other activities throughout the day will also accompany the festival’s live music. Graffiti artists will partake in live painting on plywood canvases to be displayed after the event. The painters’ theme will be KDWG 90.9 and the University of Montana Western.

There will also be an art show by Montana Western students. Students will display and sell their art as a Montana Western Art Club fundraiser.

The Ski and Snowboard Club will also take part in West Fest. The club will be facilitating a beer garden from 5 to 9 p.m. The beer garden will have alcoholic beverages available for people over the legal drinking age of 21. In order to prevent underage drinking the beer garden will be roped off and IDs will be required at the entrance in order to be admitted and given a wristband. No alcoholic beverages are allowed to leave the beer garden.

Concessions will also be available for attendees with hamburgers, hotdogs, and non-alcoholic beverages being sold at the event.

In addition to the presence of the Art Club and Ski and Snowboard Club, Montana Western’s Campus Corps team will be present. Campus Corps seeks to actively engage college students in meeting community-identified needs through meaningful service. The program is affiliated with Americorps and is sponsored by the Montana Campus Compact, a network of 19 college and university campuses located throughout Montana.

The Montana Western Campus Corps team is hosting the annual Spring Summit during the same weekend as West Fest. The Spring Summit is an opportunity for Campus Corps members statewide to gather and volunteer, receive training, and share experiences and ideas with other Campus Corps university groups. An estimated 300 to 500 Campus Corps students are expected to attend the West Fest celebration.

“I wanted to have Spring Summit on the same weekend as West Fest so Campus Corps members could enjoy themselves in a safe and fun environment,” Montana Western Campus Corps team leader Jon Stephani stated. “It’s a great opportunity for Campus Corps members to relax and enjoy themselves during the Spring Summit’s busy schedule and for Montana Western Campus Corps members to show off their campus.”

The Dillon police department and additional security provided by students and KDWG employees will be present to ensure the event’s family atmosphere and protect against underage drinking.

West Fest will take place, weather permitting, on the Tundra located in front of the PE complex. The Main Gym in the PE complex is reserved as a backup venue in the case of inclement weather.