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'Save the Music' Festival Draws Thousands

"It was absolutely wonderful; the best one we've had," says festival chair Alan Sarver.

Instrument-petting. Face-painting. Food-tasting. Game-playing. Pumpkin-painting. Train-riding.

Those were just a few of the activities, in addition to music-listening, offered at Belmont's eighth annual Save the Music Festival on Sunday.

The festival drew a crowd of about 5,000 people and netted roughly $70,000, according to the festival's chair Alan Sarver, similar to previous years. He added that the crowd and revenue grow slightly each year, though the final numbers won't be available for several weeks.

Proceeds from the festival, a product of School-Force, will go toward preserving music enrichment programs in the Belmont-Redwood Shores School District.

Sarver, who has chaired the festival for the past six years, said this year's festival was the best one yet, thanks to a variety of factors.

"It was absolutely wonderful, in terms of the size of the festival, the attendance, the music, the weather and the overall atmosphere," he said. "It really was a lovely day."

Lovely, and blustery. Throughout the festival, which was held from 11am to 5pm, gusts of wind sent several booth tents nearly to the ground. Residents laughed, though -- spirits were too high to let a little wind get in the way.

"There's a great crowd," Belmont resident Carolyn Bruguera said. Bruguera, who has a daughter at Carlmont High School and a daughter at Fox Elementary, was one of the hundreds of volunteers bouncing around the festival.

Her reason for volunteering mirrored the festival's title -- to help save music in schools. "It's very important," she said.

A number of professional and local musical acts performed at the festival's three stages throughout the day. The stages were named after the festival's three main sponsors -- Oracle, Wells Fargo and Provident Credit Union.

Sarver said one of the bands that performed for the first time at the festival, the University of California at Davis Cal Aggie Marching Band, was a huge success.

Dancing around the festival with their instruments, running through the audience while playing, the band drew numerous kids who Sarver said have been inspired to play instruments themselves.

"[The band] got around to all three stages; it left a trail of kids who can't wait to start playing instruments to grow up and be like them, which is really what we're looking for," Sarver said.

Another act Sarver noted was the Sun Kings, who closed the festival at the main stage with a tribute to the Beatles. "They just did a great job," he said.

For a complete list of the musical talents at the festival, visit the Save the Music Festival's site.

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