The three-day music festival OKC Fest kicks off on Friday in downtown Oklahoma City.
Business and civic leader Fred Hall says the idea came from a conversation he had with Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett about the rash of benefit concerts that followed the May 2013 tornadoes.
"It started a thought of civic leaders helping support a music festival and having the net proceeds go back to the community in music scholarships," says Hall. "We're doing this to benefit the community. This is a not for profit event."
The festival is headlined by country music stars like Merle Haggard, Dierks Bentley and Lady Antebellum, but also features smaller stages with music from local musicians. Victor Sansone, a past chairman of the Country Music Association, is serving as an entertainment and production consultant for OKC Fest. He says the lineup stacks up with some of the best concerts he’s been involved with.
"We've had a lot of great successes with far less of a lineup than what we have here. This is as enviable of a lineup as you could ever imagine. This is a promoter's dream to have this group of people here playing," says Sansone. "We got your attention with it. We're very serious about what we're trying to accomplish here."
Organizers expect a turnout of tens of thousands over the weekend. Hall hopes this is just the beginning for the music industry in Oklahoma.
"We hope that the city embraces this, because we think this is the beginning of a lot of great things musically that could come to Oklahoma City," says Hall. "We think it could lead to more production. It could lead to more people staying here and performing here and more performance venues here in Oklahoma City. We think it's the first of many steps - great steps - that Oklahoma City could take by showing up and supporting this great festival."
Schedule, tickets, and more information are available at OKCFest.com.