POSTED ON AUGUST 22, 2012:
Rock on the River
End of summer musical celebration at River Parks
School is back in session and worse yet, 69 cent drinks at QT are gone, both of which are sure signs that summer is drawing to a close. Before we lament the loss of our endless summer (and celebrate a slight break in the heat), however, we've got one more festival to help us celebrate the season.
Hosted by Blue Rose Café and organized by Barry Durbin (the man behind previous year's Tulsa Greenfest), in cooperation with Axis Entertainment and Interlantic Music Group, this Saturday, August 25, marks the inaugural year for Blue Rose Riverfest in River Parks. Situated in the four and a half acre parcel between 17th Street and 21st Street along Riverside Drive, Riverfest will be an all day music and arts festival that retains Durbin's original eco-friendly vision for a music festival in Tulsa.
Although previous efforts to organize a carbon neutral festival (for which energy credits from Oklahoma wind farms to offset the shows' carbon footprints) were met with a lukewarm response, Durbin has stayed true to his vision and appears to have finally found the right combination and alliances to make this work while throwing a festival that should appeal to a large cross-section of Tulsa's population.
The festival grounds open at noon on Saturday, with the party continuing until midnight for a family friendly event that will include a variety of vendors, art booths, food and drink and activities for the kids as well as a day full of live music.
Able the Allies
Added to the mix this year is the "Blue Rose Mile," which takes advantage of the Riverside running path. Sponsored by Tulsa Runner and Performance Care Clinic, the one-mile time trial will allow participants to race against the clock between 7-8:15pm, followed by an 8:20pm "Elite Heat" for serious competitors. In order to add to the competition, prize money and awards will be given in various categories and a cash bonus will be awarded for anyone breaking the four minute mile.
Of course, there will be plenty of music included as well and Blue Rose Riverfest promises a full day of music with acoustic acts in the afternoon and a band lineup that shines the spotlight on some of Tulsa and Oklahoma City's most promising rising artists. The music actually starts at 1pm with Brian Hughes Band, followed by Able the Allies at 2pm and The Fiddlebacks at 3pm.
The evening starts to take a more pop-rock tune at 4pm as FM Pilots takes the stage, flowed by David Castro Band and Stephen Speaks at 5pm and 6pm respectively. All three artists have put out solid releases in the past couple of years, making them each worth checking out. Stephen Speaks' Age of the Underdog, however, has been a true standout which has seemed to fly under the radar her in Tulsa, making this the perfect time to finally catch up with one of Tulsa's best songwriters.
Newcomer TJ Hamilton kicks off the next stage of performers at 7pm, leading into one of Tulsa's hottest acts of the year, We the Ghost at 8pm. We the Ghost has continued to develop over the course of the year, but remains anchored by the chemistry of Beau Tyler and Dain Samuelson with Jimmy Adams. Although keyboardist Kris Stone was a later addition to the band, he's still a cornerstone is holding together the band's chemistry and sound, which has since been augmented with guitarist Matt McHan and violinist Jocelyn Hughes. When considering the fact that We the Ghost is sharing the bill with Stephen Speaks, this gives you the opportunity to see a pair of Tulsa's most promising pop acts in the same location.
The evening wraps up with a couple of Oklahoma City's rising stars, Modern Rock Diaries at 8p and the night's headliner, Aranda, at 10pm. Although Aranda hasn't really taken off in Tulsa, the group has already garnered national attention with a trio of singles, "Whyyawannabringmedown," "Undone" and "Satisfied." The brother act has played with a number of nationally touring acts over the past couple of years, but has been extremely busy in 2012, touring over the summer with Saving Abel and Redlight Kings. This pairing looks to close out the festival on a high note with a pair of more rocking sets to make it a memorable evening.
What separates Riverfest from Tulsa's other festivals is its environmentally conscious approach. As part of the festival's eco-friendly mission, it has established a partnership with American Waste Control and the "Feed Mr. Murph" recycling program to provide waste management and recycling at the event. In addition, AEP will be providing alternate energy to power the stage using the organization's "Wind Choice" program to further reduce the festival's carbon footprint.
When explaining his thoughts behind the festival, Durbin stated "Blue Rose Riverfest is a combination of my goal to produce a quality music event that's eco-friendly and to make a positive impact on our community. I produced the first carbon-neutral event in Oklahoma and continue on this mission for Riverfest. Not only are we contributing proceeds to River Parks, but we hope to stimulate the economy during this event."
Everything is in place for a successful inaugural year that not only provides an environmentally conscious music festival, but also shines a light on the development and utilization of River Parks, which has been a point of debate for years now. Best of all, it's a free event that's family friendly and focuses on Oklahoma talent, giving Tulsa a trio of good reasons to head out and enjoy the festival this Saturday.
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