COTTAGE GROVE – Almost everyone had heard the rumors. Financial woes had become such a burden for the organization to bear, that it might no longer be able to host the annual Bohemia Mining Festival.
Judging by the reaction of the crowd Saturday night as fans danced up a storm while Mister Wizard closed the festival for the second straight year, nobody wants that to happen.
“Mister Wizard might have just saved Bohemia Mining Days. Why would you want to stop this?” lead singer David Nelson said after the show. “All I know is I sing, I’m not into all the politics, I just like when we have the chance to do this, it feeds my ego. I’ve got LSD – lead singer disease. That’s what keeps me going.”
BMD entertainment coordinator Cameron Reiten echoed Nelson’s sentiments.
“I think one way or another the community is going to rally together, we want our Bohemia Mining Days to remain in our community,” Reiten said. “This is something people have enjoyed since 1959. We have an incredibly dedicated crew of volunteers and staff that plan this event for months; as soon as one festival is over, we literally begin planning for the next.”
While the crowd was happy with all of the classic rock band’s choices, the last half hour or so was particularly pleasing. They played back-to-back Led Zeppelin covers – “The Ocean” and “Immigrant Song” – and ended the evening with “You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’” by Judas Priest.
“That’s a song we used to play all the time, and we like to pull it out every once in a while,” Nelson said. “It’s kind of like not having pizza for a year. Seeing everybody rock out to it helps a lot.”
Nelson is a Cottage Grove resident and drummer Tim Donahue, formerly of the Cherry Poppin Daddies popular swingska band, lives in Springfield. Guitar player Dave Bock is a Junction City resident and Rik Bartel lives in Salem.
So how do they keep things fresh and interesting? That’s easy. Side projects.
“Tim plays in jam bands on the side,” Nelson said. “Dave plays in a few different bands. I have a Christian metal band called Saint, and we’re opening for Quiet Riot in September.”
If Bohemia Mining Days can’t overcome its financial hardships, at least Mister Wizard made sure that the festival went out with a bang