News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Volunteers are backbone of Sisters Folk Festival

With seven venues and nearly 100 separate performances over a two-and-a-half-day span, the Sisters Folk Festival (SFF) is a beehive of activity.

Considering the logistics required to ensure things run smoothly and safely, it should come as no surprise that it takes nearly 400 volunteers to help pull it off.

The Nugget spoke to a few members of this army of volunteers, including a veteran and some newbies.

Roger Cole, a first-time volunteer from Portland, decided to help out after attending the song camp last week and concluding that SFF was something he wanted to support. So he and his wife decided to see what they could do to help.

Cole spent some time in the greenroom helping replenish food and drinks.

“I can tell you the work is rewarding,” he said. “The artists are so grateful for even the little things. They would thank me for just refilling the bowl of hummus — something as simple as that.”

Two other first-time volunteers, Mike Taus and his wife, Dayna, worked at the merchandise tent and at Oliver Lemon’s doing occupancy counting.

“Oliver Lemon’s was super fun because we got to see so many people and got to hear some of our favorite bands,” he said.

The couple is actually traveling and had no ties to Sisters prior to coming to town, but heard about it and decided to weave the Folk Festival into their plans as part of the trip.

“I highly recommend others to volunteer in the future,” he said.

Aspen Clayton of Bend has been a volunteer since 2005. Her first job was to pick up kegs of beer at Deschutes Brewery and obtain the fire extinguishers for the tent venue.

“As things got bigger, my job changed and I got to do a lot of work directly related to the care of the artists,” she said. “I have done all sorts of different jobs.”

Clayton explained that she got her start as a volunteer at a time when she didn’t have much money for a ticket, but as a musician herself, she wanted to be involved while also getting the chance to hear some of the artists.

“I still volunteer now because I believe in the music and I love all the different music,” she said. “The organizers do such an incredible job.”

As a veteran volunteer, Clayton fully understands how vital it is for people to jump in to help.

“I truly want to thank all of the other volunteers because there is literally no way this event could happen the way it does without them. I know what it takes — it takes a lot. I am glad to give back to the community and I think all these other helpers must also.”

Information on how to become a volunteer can be found at https://sistersfolk


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