SpoFest event to celebrate five years Sunday

Democrat staff

SpoFest, a local organization that highlights the spoken work, will host a fifth anniversary celebration from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday at Montserrat Vineyards near Knob Noster. The event has grown over the years to include not only works of original poetry, but prose, music and dancing as well.

James Bryant, founder of SpoFest, said the event began with an invitation for him to read original poetry at Wine and More in downtown Sedalia five years ago. The invitation inspired him to reach out to others who enjoyed writing poetry and prose. He gave credit to Travis Demoss, Steven Dotson and Debbie Noland for encouraging him to continue reading and writing original poetry.

“We have come a long way since 2011,” Bryant noted. “It turned from an individual sort of phenomena into a community phenomena. I turned my focus on doing a poetry event for everybody.”

He added that in 2011 there weren’t many spoken word events in the area.

“That was a driving motivation on my part, because I wanted something more consistent,” he said. “I had the idea, but I didn’t know how much water it held.”

Since 2011 SpoFest has grown. It now has board members and hosts five events a year where writers of poetry and prose can present their work.

“For a good solid four years, just about, we’ve had new readers every performance,” Bryant said. “It was catching on fire. To this day, five years later, it’s not a huge onslaught of readers, but it’s a nice slow trickle of new readers and writers.

“SpoFest has the unique extension of having the former Poet Laureate (Walter Bargen) to read a couple times,” he added. “We are open to doing that again.”

Readers for Sunday’s anniversary event will be Scott Umphrey, Melanie Dees Campbell, Doug Kiburz, Linda Bales, Dave Wisker, Steven Dotson and Tony Shaffer.

There will be an intermission at the event along with a wine tasting presentation and an auction.

A special event for the anniversary celebration will be line dancing presented by Debbie Noland. Dancers will perform to an original song, “This Post,” with words and music composed by Linda Bales and original choreography by Noland. The “Fence Post” dancers are, Ruth Dale, Elaine Friedly, B.J. Jones, Pat Embree, Stan Bohon, Terry Bohon, Gary Noland and Debbie Noland.

Bryant noted that Sunday’s venue will be outdoors, but under a covered deck. Due to weather predictions of hot temperatures he said there will be mist fans, cold water and for those who need a break an air-conditioned main office.

Those who wish to present original poetry, prose or music at a SpoFest event may call Bryant at 553-4572.

“If you are a writer and you want a place to get some feedback, healthy positive criticism, by all means come on out to SpoFest,” Bryant said. “If your not a writer but you like some culture in your blood, come out to SpoFest. There’s a lot of great literary people.”

SpoFest will be hosted from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday at Montserrat Vineyards near Knob Noster. The event is free and the public is invited to attend.

Democrat staff

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