Rivertown comes to you

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HOST WITH THE MOST Musician and music-promoter Josh Windmiller, seen here at last year’s Rivertown Revival, hosts an online showcase in place of this year’s festival. Credit: Philip Pavliger

During the past 10 years, Petaluma’s Rivertown Revival has become one of the North Bay’s most beloved annual events of the summer.

The organizers of the festival, a benefit for the conservation and education group Friends of the Petaluma River, were planning this year’s Rivertown Revival when Sonoma County went into shelter-in-place mode to stop the spread of Covid-19.

Given the pandemic’s uncertain timeline, Rivertown Revival canceled the event this year in the name of public health and safety.

“It was going to be awesome,” says Rivertown Revival music-director Josh Windmiller. “Every year, it always is a mind-blowing event.”

Windmiller not only laments the loss of the festivities this summer, he realizes how the cancellation will impact Friends of the Petaluma River fiscally.

“It’s kind of a bleak summer for a lot of people,” he says. “So, we thought, ‘What could we do?’”

To answer that question, Windmiller and the other festival organizers asked themselves, what is Rivertown Revival besides that one-day festival each summer?

“It’s about celebrating the arts, celebrating the community and supporting our natural resources, our environment, through raising awareness and funds,” Windmiller says.

With those goals in mind, Rivertown Revival and Friends of the Petaluma River are teaming up for Living Room Live, which presents all of the best parts of the festival in a streaming weekly showcase on Rivertown Revival’s Facebook and YouTube pages.

Living Room Live kicked off last Saturday, May 23, and will run for three more weeks. Windmiller plays Johnny Carson for the show, and Living Room Live will feature musical performances, a family-oriented segment, “My Town Is Magical,” videos from visual artists, comedy segments and more.

“We’re trying to fit in what people love about Rivertown into something we can get right into their living rooms,” Windmiller says.

He hopes folks will also hit the donate button that will accompany the stream to support the Friends of the Petaluma River, which connects the community to the Petaluma watershed through educational activities and events such as Rivertown Revival.

“I’m really happy, and Rivertown is really happy, to provide another place where people and the artists can meet and build something stronger,” Windmiller says. “That’s what the event has always been, so this is the same thing. A different time, different conditions, but the same thing.”

Living Room Live streams online Saturdays, May 30–June 13, 7pm. Free, donations welcome. rivertownrevival.com.

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