Roots artists liven Forgotten Music Festival

The Forgotten Music Festival welcomed crowds of eager listeners in George Core Park all weekend, where local bands and vendors gathered for the third year in a row.  

Joe and Sara Whitmer, the festival’s producers, started the event in 2018 after spending more than a decade vacationing along the Gulf Coast to find the perfect spot, according to the event’s website.  They have been returning ever since to Port St. Joe for the friendly small-town atmosphere and the beautiful beaches. 

 Sara Whitmer, born and raised in Italy, gained an affinity for American roots music from her father, who would book American roots artists from the southern U.S. to play in festivals back in Italy. Joe Whitmer has been working in the entertainment industry for more than 30 years. 

 The festival featured eight American roots artists from around the country, including Pittsburgh-based Billy the Kid & the Regulators, New Yorker Albert Castiglia, Florida’s The Bridget Kelley Band and Chicago-based Jose Ramirez. 

 Visitors set out picnic blankets and lawn chairs to enjoy the music and the sunny early fall weather, and food was supplied by several vendors who traveled to Gulf County for the event. 

Meet the Editor

Wendy Weitzel, The Star’s digital editor, joined the news outlet in August 2021, as a reporter covering primarily Gulf County.

Prior to then, she interned for Oklahoma-based news wire service Gaylord News and for Oklahoma City-based online newspaper during her four years at the University of Oklahoma, from which she graduated in May with degrees in online journalism and political science.

While at OU, Weitzel was selected as Carnegie-Knight News21 Investigative Fellow among 30 top journalism students from around the country. She also was senior editor managing a 12-person newsroom in coordination with Oklahoma Watch, a non-profit news organization in eastern Oklahoma.

Wendy Weitzel The Star Digital Editor

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