The Story of MontgomeryFest

Cass D Photography of MontgomeryFest

Photo by Cass Dottridge

It was back in 2012. We were lounging on our couch in Dallas, Tx, escaping the heat, when it popped into my head, "MontgomeryFest!" I exclaimed as Justin shared my enthusiasm. The name was a fun nod to our love of music festivals. While we were dating, we traveled all over the US to see live music. We often joked that we'd critiqued so many, we could start our own. It would aptly be called MontgomeryFest, after our own last name.

The next chapter ushered in our wedding, Justin's Belgian citizenship, and a move to Brussels all in a matter of four months. All of this added up to quite the status updates. Throw in a few timezones and languages and I decided the easiest way to handle it was a centrally located blog. No timezone converter needed.

Thus, MontgomeryFest began as a letter home. We documented life as we were exploring and I quickly found that with our constant travels around Europe, the blog was what was keeping us accountable to organizing, editing, and writing a bit about the onslaught of photos from our adventures to Paris and Rome, Lisbon and beyond.

I found a lovely network of expats all over the world who were blogging about their own adventures. We bonded over not having our respective versions of comfort food in local stores and how "home" wasn't a place anymore. I still swear this is the most supportive group of people you'll ever meet. It made the world smaller in the best way.

When our time in Brussels came to an end, MontgomeryFest helped us to find a welcoming crew in San Francisco. We had brunch plans before we even touched down in this city that neither of us had ever before visited. We had a similar story with our move to London, but this time the welcoming crew were people we had already met during our time in Brussels. It was a welcome home party in a situation that would otherwise seem very foreign.

MontgomeryFest became our third family member. I journaled about our travels, our moves, my pregnancy. It's been a snapshot of our life for the past seven years.

When my art began to grow, I felt a pull to a more professional name. Every time someone asked what MontgomeryFest meant, it was a reminder of this beautiful chapter that couldn't be put into a seven second pitch. When I started doing maker's markets, that question came up more and more and needed to be answered quickly as customers sashayed by my booth. The disconnect became larger and more glaring.

I'll miss the familiarity of MontgomeryFest. My art background is strung together through the growth of this website, to which I'll forever be grateful.

It's time to introduce the next chapter, Annie Montgomery Design (AMD, for short). It feels exciting. It feels grown up, but it's also still fun, because hello, I paint for a living!