'One-of-a-Kind' Free Country Festival Draws Thousands to Drumright, Okla.
Drumright, Okla. sits nestled in between Oklahoma City and Tulsa. With a population of 2,907, one would not think the town would be the center of the region not even for a day. However, thanks to the generosity of local couple Rick and Myrna Sellers, along with sponsors Keystone Gas and Pacer Energy Marketing, that's exactly what happens each Fourth of July with the Summer OilPatch Festival.
Each year, the couple rolls out the welcome mat to thousands of people who come out to their ranch and enjoy a day of fun, food, and music. There's a headlining act, as well as some of the country format's rising artists. And… you're not going to believe this… it's all free. Headliner Kix Brooks said he appreciated the Sellers' gesture of goodwill toward the area -- as well as some of the local food.
"Can you imagine? They had cookers everywhere you looked, and it was as good of a brisket as I think I've ever eaten in my whole life," the Arista recording artist stated. "People just show up all day and all night, walk around, and it doesn't cost anything. What a concept!" Brooks dazzled the crowd after a thirty-five minute fireworks display with a mixture of old songs from his Brooks & Dunn days, as well as the title track and cuts from his "New To This Town" album, due in stores September 11.
With an estimated crowd of 13,500, it was one of the largest audiences that Brooks (as a solo artist) and many of the other artists on the bill have ever played to. According to Livewire band member Andy Eutsler, it's a one of a kind musical event like no other.
"I've never seen anything like it, for sure. It's a one-of-a-kind festival, in a lot of aspects," he told Billboard. "The free food, and the free drinks are something I've never seen anywhere." The group debuted their new Way Out West Records album at the show, as well.
Also on the bill for her fifth consecutive year was Shawna Russell, who showcased her new single "Sounds Like A Party," which was the theme song for this year's festival. She says that playing the festival feels like a homecoming.
"It just feels like I am a part of the community, and the fact that people come back out to see us again every year is just wonderful to me." Russell dazzled the crowd with a set that included many of the songs from her current self-titled CD.
Another act that marks a return trip to Drumright this year was sibling act the Flat River Band. The trio's Andy Sitze says that they met Sellers at local radio station KUSH in nearby Cushing a few years ago, and a bond was struck instantly.
Brother Dennijo said that they enjoy playing the OilPatch Festival so much, that it becomes a yearly gig. "It's great to be back in Drumright again, playing at the Sellers ranch. We did it last year, and the crowd just keeps growing!"
According to event's musical producer Clif Doyal, that's music to his ears, as he and the Sellers family plan on making the event even bigger in the years to come, and will continue to blend established headliners with the newcomers. "We have a strong commitment to developing artists with ties to our region who are having success in the marketplace," he says. "Our support acts have all made strong inroads at Secondary country radio and on the Texas music charts and have been featured in prominent national publications such as Billboard, and on video platforms including CMT, TCN and GAC. We are proud that our stage not only provides a launch pad for these up-and-comers, but also gives the bigger acts a unique tour-stop that stands out in their minds as a highlight on their summer itineraries."