When attorney Amanda “A.J.” Fudge went looking for a new home, Los Osos seemed like the obvious choice.
“It was like the universe was shining a flashing sign to move here,” recalled Fudge, who moved to the Estero Bay area with her partner nearly three years ago. “I just fell in love with the community. It’s a really nice group of people.”
Now Fudge is looking to give back to the place that has embraced her.
She’s organizing the first-ever Central Coast Art & Music Festival, a fundraiser for Estero Bay Community Radio. The free, family-friendly festival, which takes place Sept. 17 and 18 at Los Osos Community Park, will feature artists’ booths, a skateboarding competition and performances by 20 local bands, including roots singer-songwriter Dulcie Taylor and rock group Lu Lu and the Cowtippers.
“We love our live music out here,” said Fudge, a volunteer disc jockey for Estero Bay Community Radio, also known as FM 97.3 The Rock. The nonprofit organization, which celebrated its two-year anniversary in March, broadcasts in Cayucos, Los Osos and Morro Bay.
“There are no commercials, which is nice, and you really get this cool variety of programming,” said Fudge, whose show, “The Los Osos Life,” offers a mix of music and community events. It airs 1 to 2 p.m. most Fridays, or 1:30 to 2 p.m. every third Friday.
According to Fudge, The Rock costs about $15,000 a year to run.
“We’re trying to get our operating expenses met each year,” she said, while setting aside money for a backup broadcast system and new equipment.
But making ends meet has been challenging, Fudge said. When operations manager Wayne Benham put out a call this spring for more fundraising, “I took it literally as a call to action,” she said.
Fudge chose Los Osos Community Park, which includes the Red Barn and Los Osos Skate Park, as the site for the inaugural Central Coast Art & Music Festival. The setting provides space for two concert stages where event goers can hear a mix of musical genres, from indie rock to folk to reggae.
“The only thing we don’t have is heavy metal or rap and hip hop,” Fudge explained. “We’re trying to keep a certain vibe and family dynamic going, so I didn’t want things to get too crazy.”
Aerial dancers with OmFly Aerial Artistry will also perform.
Also in store are the $500 Skateboard Jam and nine smaller skateboarding events, including the best trick contest and the slammin’ slalom race. Prizes include handpainted skateboards, decks and wheels.
In addition, Fudge said, the festival will feature food and two beer gardens.
Although the Central Coast Art & Music Festival is a fundraiser for Estero Bay Community Radio, Fudge emphasized that admission is free.
“We thought ticket sales would be almost a barrier to entry,” she said, so she’s hoping to cover expenses via sponsorships, vendor booth fees and onsite sales of beer, food and merchandise.
“It’s a gift to Los Osos,” Fudge said of the festival.