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A Peoria DIY music venue celebrated its one-year anniversary with a daylong charity concert

Jonathan Vota at Mt. Moon Fest
Holden Kellogg
Jonathan Vota standing on the back patio steps of his venue, Mt. Moon

In the neighborhood surrounding the Bradley University campus, the venue named Mt. Moon looks like any other house. However, for the past year, Mt. Moon has become a common venue for the Peoria DIY music scene, hosting local and independent musical artists.

The venue celebrated it's one-year anniversary on Sept. 3 with a daylong charity concert, dubbed "Mt. Moon Fest."

The event raised money for Jolt Harm Reduction Center, an organization that seeks to address the negative consequences of drug addiction. The event raised a total of $2,980 for the organization. Representatives of Jolt Harm Reduction Center also made an appearance at Mt. Moon fest to talk to attendees about their mission and what they can do to get involved and help people in need.

Jonathan Vota, the owner of Mt. Moon, spoke about the first year of running the house venue and how he got into the Peoria DIY scene.

"I found my to parties that had live music, a.k.a. house shows, and I thought it was the coolest thing," Vota said, speaking about his exposure to house shows during his freshman year at Bradley, "My junior year, I moved out of the dorms into a rental house, and that's when I started thinking, 'I have a space, let's have some shows,' and that's where it started."

The first house venue that Vota operated was dubbed "Hyrule Castle," and Vota states that the venue became a big part of his college experience, and led him to buying the house that would become Mt. Moon.

"In looking for houses, I was like, well, I still want to do this house show stuff," Vota said, recounting his search for a house suitable for hosting performances, "It seemed like the thing I should do, because it's just been a big part of my life."

Aftersome performing in main room of Mt. Moon
Holden Kellogg
Aftersome performing in main room of Mt. Moon

Vota then explained the inspiration of the venue being dubbed "Mt. Moon," the name being a reference to a fictional location in the "Pokémon" video game series.

"I was set on a Pokémon reference when I got the house around June of 2021," Vota said, recounting his search for a name for the venue he planned to run in the house, "There was a debate for like two months of what to call the house, and Mt. Moon was not on the list at all... it was Kai Hamon of [the band] Terribly Happy that brought up Mt. Moon, and I had not thought of it at all, but immediately we were all like, 'that's it!'"

The first year of Mt. Moon has already had some notable concerts, one instance being the release party for the album "Handle With Care" by Peoria band High Meadows, which was held on Nov. 13, 2021.

One attendee of that album release show, Patrick Selvey, recalls that night as his first concert he attended at Mt. Moon.

"It was a really brilliant experience, for me, it was the first show I had been to in a long, long time," Selvey said, recalling his first experience at Mt. Moon, "It's just incredible, you meet so many personalities, you don't know what's gonna happen next, but that's kind of the thrill of it all."

Selvey attended Mt. Moon Fest, taking the opportunity to dress up in a red suit, bow tie, and straw hat, and brandishing a walking stick for the anniversary event.

Patrick Selvey at Mt. Moon Fest, dressing up for the anniversary event in a red suit, bowtie, and straw hat
Holden Kellogg
Patrick Selvey at Mt. Moon Fest, dressing up for the anniversary event in a red suit, bowtie, and straw hat

"This is a place to feel welcome, you can go here, be yourself, and no one really bats an eye," Selvey said, referencing how the Peoria DIY scene and Mt. Moon maintains an atmosphere of acceptance for all attendees, and referencing his outfit, "So far I've received so many compliments, and I wouldn't be able to wear this just anywhere, but with this scene, I can do anything."

Jonathan Vota's plans for the future of Mt. Moon and his involvement in the Peoria DIY scene involve expanding the venue's online presence, as well as organizing larger shows at other venues.

"We want to throw so many more shows, " Vota said, "I think there is some big plans for future stuff we want to do."

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Holden Kellogg is an audio producer at WCBU.