A week ago I got an e-mail telling me about another call that I had missed because I don't really have a physical presence in the offices of The Sedalia Democrat.
The guys behind Dustbin Film, which is the independent production company behind the documentary “OMF! The Story of the Ozark Music Festival” wanted to speak with me.
Maybe they wanted me to sit in a chair in front of a camera and act like I had valuable insight into an event that took place 15 years before I was born. Maybe they wanted to use my image or my presence at one of their events to get the word out.
As it turns out, they were just looking for some old fashioned publicity. I like supporting Sedalia projects so I was happy to give it to them.
Lujin was born and raised here in Sedalia and despite his technical status as the director of the documentary he is quick to mention that there are two other people who are just as important to the production: his wife, Sharon Autry Lujin and Phillip Woodward.
This is the group behind OMF! And Dustbin Film, a company they started solely for the purpose of producing the documentary. “We called it “Dustbin” because we felt that we were reclaiming these stories from the dustbin of history,” said Lujin.
He defended the modern relevance of his film by mentioning its historical importance: “This is the single most interesting thing to happen to Sedalia,” said Lujin, “Other cities would kill for a story this rich.”
Now I'm not so sure about that but it the Ozark Music Festival was certainly unique and is certainly ripe for documentation.
But that documentation proved to be quite an undertaking for the Dustbin crew.
“We started this in a fury,” he admitted. “We didn't realize what we had our hands on.”
There are few events that have shaped the mythology of this place we call Sedalia like our infamous music festival. Everything happened there and nothing happened there. Some people might have died and some of them might have come back to life.
“There are a lot of myths,” he said, later going on to call the event a “myth-making machine.”
Sometimes a documentary or a column just doesn't pan out because there just isn't enough there but our intrepid documentarians were happy with the stories that they were digging up:
“There are more revelations each day,” said Lujin.
I wrote a column a few weeks ago in which I supposed that Sedalia should have another music festival on a grand scale and I figured that Lujin might be able to use some of the insight he had gained about the original event to opine about a follow up.
His response wasn't as optimistic as I might have hoped:
“I don't think anyone could do it,” he said. “You can't recreate it any more than you could recreate Woodstock.”
People have tried to do that over and over again and some people even have the Woodstock '94 Pepsi cans to prove it but it's true that none of them really managed to recapture the magic of the first one.
But it was never my intent to suppose a recreation – just a similar event with a similar scale.
“Rock culture isn't like it used to be,” he insisted.
But the conversation soon turned to the upcoming documentary fundraiser at the Liberty Center. The doors open at 6:00 PM on Saturday, March 31st and the 15 minute trailer starts at 7:00. Admission is $5 and will go towards completion of the project. There will be wine, live music and hors d'oeuvres.
“Everything we're showing has never been seen,” he said, “It's mostly original Ozark Music Festival footage.”
But the dustbin crew doesn't just want your financial support – they're also looking for more content for the film.
“We're still looking for footage and conducting interviews,” he said. “We'll listen to anybody.”
Anyone who is interested in telling their OMF stories or sharing their footage can contact the Dustbin crew at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“The response we're getting is significant,” he said, “This wasn't just a music festival – it was a lifestyle.”