The three year preparation process behind the Wayland Music Festival


Credit: Courtesy of Eliana Barenboym

After three years of planning by sophomores Kyra Spooner, Eliana Barenboym and Joss O’Heron, the Wayland Music Festival is set to take place on May 21, 2022. “It’s going to be in the Town Center, with multiple live bands, a stage, art, food trucks, ice cream trucks and a bunch of other activities,” co-creator Kyra Spooner said.

Tina Su

After two years of uncertainty due to COVID-19, the Wayland Music Festival is finally set to occur on May 21, 2022. The event will take place in the Wayland Town Center from 3 p.m. until 8 p.m., during which attendees will have the opportunity to enjoy live music, catered food, art and spending time with other members of the Wayland community.

Sophomores Kyra Spooner, Eliana Barenboym and Joss O’Heron created the idea of the festival. However, putting on the festival would not have been possible without help from sponsors such as the Town of Wayland, W Gallery and Wayland School of Music. These sponsors are providing art to go on display, funding the event and organizing bands and orchestras to perform at the festival.

Spooner, Barenboym and O’Heron began planning this event in seventh grade, when they all joined the Town Meeting Club offered at Wayland Middle School. The idea of the festival came from a group brainstorm about areas in which the town of Wayland could use improvements. The creators decided that improvements were necessary in the entertainment department.

“Our idea was that everybody would come together, older people and younger people, and they would have a place to hang out with music and art,” Barenboym said.

After this idea was created within the club, the next step was creating a rough plan of what the festival would look like in order to present the idea during a town meeting in 2019.

“Bringing anything into [a] town meeting is a very long process,” Spooner said. “We had to [figure out the] logistics of bringing [our idea] in front of the town meeting, present [our idea] and ask for funds.”

The creators composed a formal article for the town meeting called “Article No. 11 for a Wayland Music Festival,” and town meeting attendees voted overwhelmingly in favor of the article. The vote allowed the creators to begin the formal planning process of the festival. Others in Wayland, including producer and band member Chris Reynolds, got involved and helped the creators with planning the event.

“I heard what Ellie, Joss and Kyra were doing and expressed gratitude about it,” Reynolds said. “Selectman Adam Gutbezahl [urged me to help out and] said, ‘Why don’t you get involved and sign up some musicians [to] make this happen?’”

Reynolds is in charge of contacting the bands and recruiting them to play for the festival. His job also includes making sure there is a stage with power and any mic and sound connections needed. He hired two professional sound engineers, Brent Clark and Kenny Seltzer, to facilitate the setup of the stage.

However, when COVID-19 arrived and quarantine started, the planning of the music festival took a big hit.

“[COVID] put a tone of hesitation around the whole event [and] having meetings,” Reynolds said. “[Major events] can be difficult to organize in an environment of hesitation.”

When quarantine began, the meetings for the festival planning stopped and those in charge of planning the festival faced a lot of uncertainty surrounding the future details of the event.

“We met every Monday in seventh and eighth grade, and when we went into quarantine, we assumed [the event] wasn’t going to happen because of COVID-19,” Spooner said. “We didn’t know what the future held in terms of gathering together as a town because this festival was going to have a lot of people.”

The advisor that had been working with the creators previously, Selectman Adam Gutbezah, reached out to them in January of 2022 and the planning picked up where it had left off before COVID-19 hit. However, COVID-19 had caused a few delays in terms of policies that were needed for the event to take place.

“There were some bureaucratic delays,” Reynolds said. “We had to get a $10 million liability insurance policy, an unexpectedly high number for this event, and it took some work and time [to come up with the money]. The Select Board and town managers helped with this. Once we got the insurance in place, the owner of the Wayland Town Center agreed to the event.”

This long, three year process has led to the product of Spooner, Barenboym and O’Heron’s hard work finally being shared with the Wayland community.

“I’m very, very excited [about the event],” Barenboym said. “I want it to happen already [since] we’ve been talking about it since seventh grade. I’m very excited about it and I think everyone should go.”