Alumni host Winooski’s music festival for ninth year

Sarah Robinson, Culture Editor

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For one weekend each year, the neighboring city of Winooski transforms into a celebration of music, art, literature and more. The festival is the brainchild of former UVM students.

Waking Windows is an annual music festival in Winooski created by Paddy Reagan ‘04 and former student Nick Mavodones, who found themselves craving a new kind of music festival. They are two of the core members of the group that organizes Waking Windows.

Courtesy of Brian Jenkins/ 3rd Stone Images
The group Noname performs at Waking Windows 2018. This year, Waking Windows will feature headlining acts Twin Peaks, Tune-Yards and Sunflower Bean. The festival will also feature UVM’s own musicians Princess Nostalgia, The Onlys and Father Figuer.

The festival takes about 10 months to plan, so Reagan and Mavodones will have to start planning for the 10th anniversary of the festival right after this year’s event ends, Reagan said.  

When deciding what musicians to host, their process is more simple than it seems, Reagan said.

“Most of the time it comes down to who’s available and who’s willing to do it for the money we have,” he said.

Reagan works at ArtsRiot and Mavodones worked at Higher Ground for 14 years.

“We all have our connections to the music world beyond the festival which I think is a good way to stay in touch on different levels of the festival,” Reagan said.

This year, Waking Windows features headlining acts Twin Peaks, Tune-Yards and Sunflower Bean. The festival will also feature UVM’s own musicians Princess Nostalgia, The Onlys and Father Figuer.

The sound of UVM bands has shifted since Reagan was in school, when student bands were mostly jam-bands, he said.

Junior Lili Traviato, otherwise known by her stage name Princess Nostalgia, will be performing at the festival for a second year.

Traviato said she is excited to return this year, not just to perform, but also to enjoy the festival.

“It’s just fun to explore and soak in all of the different music and art,” she said.

The creators wanted to make sure the festival didn’t take over Winooski completely, so they integrated events throughout the buildings and shops in the city, Mavodones said.

“We don’t make it what it’s not, we just kind of emphasize and magnify what’s already going on,” Mavodones said.

While the lineups for all three days of the festival are filled with performances, the festival also features other events such as art exhibitions, food trucks, comedy performances and a reading series.

“It feels like a block party,” Reagan said.

Part of what makes Waking Windows accessible to the community is the wide array of options it provides festival goers, Reagan said. The creators’ expertise in festival planning led them to seek out creatives to curate the other events that attract attendees.

“Turnout makes it possible to continue, but it’s the content that we’re proud of,” he said.

Reagan said his favorite moment of the festival is the split second of silence between the end of a song and the applause. “That’s a really cool feeling to have,” he said.

Waking Windows will take place from 3 p.m. from May 3 to  11:30 p.m. May 5 in Winooski. A three day pass to the event costs $75 and day passes are available from $35 to $45. Passes can be purchased at wakingwindows.com.