It's not often that you can find an abundance of original live music in south Tulsa. Yes, there are a few gigs brewing down south and you can occasionally catch Brandon Clark, Travis Kidd and a few other working men knocking out shows, but usually cover bands are the rule once you go past 51st Street and head toward the outskirts of town.
One of the exceptions has been the ongoing weekly concert series at Riverwalk Crossing, with free concerts on Friday and Saturday evenings. If you're looking for a broad selection, however, your options are usually limited once you look south.
Last year, Mitch Garrison stepped up and produced the first South Tulsa Music Festival -- an all day event at the Riverwalk with bands on two stages that ran from 1pm until roughly 1am. By capitalizing on the built-in audience that comes with the Riverwalk crossing's shopping and dining, estimates for attendance ranged from anywhere between 3,000-5,000 over the course of the day: Overall, not a bad showing for an inaugural event.
This year, Garrison is back and -- with his production company, G-Squared -- is bringing the return of the South Tulsa Music Fest to Riverwalk crossing this weekend. As opposed to the previous event, however, 2010 sees the event expanded to two nights with bands spread over three stages and live original music playing form 6pm to 1am.
Not only has the festival format expanded to two nights, but the style is expanding as well. While last year's event had a number of bands that are regulars at The Colony, most of those acts are playing at Stone River Music Festival this weekend in Chandler, Okla. That shouldn't be cause for alarm, however, as there are plenty of talents acts in Tulsa and with an expanded format, South Tulsa Music Fest can tap into all of them.
According to Garrison, "We're trying to go with a different scene each year to mix thing us and this year we're trying the indie rock scene."
In turn, you'll see many of the bands that were split between Free Tulsa and Black Gold in late July, combined into a more compact format. Reggae, DJ's and especially indie rock are all represented this year as the festival spreads its wings to try and showcase the best bands that Tulsa has to offer and give them some exposure in south Tulsa and Jenks.
Once again, the main amphitheater will serve as the main stage with the boat stage just between the movie theater and shopping serving as the second stage. This year, a third stage will be showcasing talent as well with live music at Twisted Tilt. Friday night's main stage headliner is scheduled to be Sam and the Stylees with Moai Broadcast headlining Saturday night's lineup. Additional acts to be showcased over the course of the evening range from The Del Toros and Baron Von Swagger to Motive For Movement, Bruder, Alex and the Anders and even our latest emerging reggae-rock act, The Rebellion.
Best of all, this is a free event, with G-Squared and Riverwalk picking up the tab. According to Garrison, the purpose is two-fold. First of all, it's a way his company and the participating bands to thank Tulsa for supporting local music. More importantly, however, it provides everyone an opportunity to get a free glance at all of the talent Tulsa's music scene has to offer.
"I've traveled a lot lately," Garrison said. "I've been to Dallas. St Louis, Atlanta, Austin -- all kinds of places. Other than Austin, which has a great music scene, I've learned to really appreciate what Tulsa has to offer.
"The sheer number of bands in Tulsa and the quality that come with that is amazing. People need to wake p and pay attention to what we have before it disappears, because when bands can't find any support, they'll start falling away and people won't understand why."
Throughout the two days, the festival will showcase roughly 50 acts of varying styles and create a festival atmosphere on the Riverwalk with an estimated 50 participating vendors and artists, making it what Garrison called the largest completely free music showcase and festival of the year.
The festival is this weekend, Friday and Saturday, Sept. 24-25, with hourly sets on each of three stages, beginning at 6pm. If you haven't made it out to any of the other festivals this summer, now is a perfect opportunity to catch a great selection of bands and get a chance to see what Tulsa's music scene has to offer. Best of all, it's completely free and family friendly, so you can come and hang out with friends or bring the kids, regardless of your family status.
Details, including a full line-up of bands with daily schedule and set times will be posted online at myspace.com/southtulsamusicfest this week. Make sure to log on and map out which bands you want to see, then wander back and forth and make the most of the evening to hear as much as possible and sample all of the styles out local music scene has to offer.
In a sobering sign of the times, the economy is taking its toll on everyone and our local businesses and music venues aren't immune. Unfortunately, over the past two weeks, Tulsa has seen the doors close at both Mercury Lounge and Flytrap Music Hall. To make things even worse, Phat Philly's closed up shop on Tuesday, September 14, and what was planned as a fifth anniversary party ended up being a closing party. Nevertheless, the party went on as Tulsans gathered to grab their last bite of heaven and enjoy the tunes of Brandon Clark Band and Ego Culture.
On the bright side, I've got good word that Mercury Lounge will be reopening under new ownership, albeit a familiar face. Expect doors to reopen soon with a beer menu first, then return to a full liquor bar as soon as the license is approved -- hopefully by late October. As the last week's ad said: Sobriety is ending soon!
If not one, but two music festivals (don't forget about Stone River, as featured on Page 41) aren't enough to satiate your music appetite, never fear. There are still plenty of shows in Tulsa and a couple of big guns to keep it all exciting. As always, we've got all the highlights, so read on to get your best tips for the coming week.
The week kicks off with not one, but two big shows on Thursday evening, so where to start? If you merely want big, you can head to Cain's Ballroom where O.A.R. returns with the Dirty Heads opening the show at 8pm. That show and everything else is dwarfed in comparison, however, when Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers headline the second anniversary show at BOK Center on Sept. 23 with Texas legends ZZ Top opening the show. Really: how can you possibly top that?
Just about the only thing I can think of would that might compare would be something for humanitarian efforts, so if you're looking for something more low key and want to do something to help others, stop in at Ida Red on Thursday night where Vandevander will be playing an acoustic set. Matt Fisher will be going on a mission trip to rebuild homes in Haiti and this show is serving as a fundraising event to cover expenses from the trip. The show starts at 7pm and any and all donations will be readily accepted.
So how do you follow up Tom Petty on Thursday night? You very well may not be able to, but Billy Corgan will give it a valiant effort as his latest version of Smashing Pumpkins plays a sold out show at Cain's Ballroom on Friday night, Sept. 24. Elsewhere around downtown, Lesson Learned holds its CD release show at The Marquee on Friday evening while Kyle Bennett Band appears at Woody's Corner Bar and Able and the Allies play Hunt Club.
Saturday evening, Sept. 25, sees Kevin Savory bring the Red Dirt to Woody's while David Dover plays Hunt Club. Your best bet, however, may just be to settle in and see who's playing at Soundpony or Crystal Pistol, two of the coolest indie rock venues in town.
Don't forget to wrap up your week with the band that refuses to actually self-destruct: Stone Temple Pilots, as the group headlines a killer show at Brady Theater with Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and Tab the Band opening.
And finally: if you plan on checking out Tom Snider at All Souls Acoustic Coffeehouse on Oct. 15, you'd better act fast and get your tickets NOW, because the show is almost sold out already!
Share this article: