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Sounds of American excellence fill town

MEDICINE PARK  American excellence, reggae and bluegrass blared from speakers in Medicine Park as hundreds of Memorial Day weekend visitors, wearing flip flops, shorts and visors, swayed to the beat of the music during the Roots Ball on Saturday.

To cool off from the mid-90-degree heat, children and adults flooded Bath Lake with floaties, while others sipped on snow cones as they shopped at vendors.

Shortly before 4 p.m., musician Cody Gibson, a 28-year-old New Yorker, hopped on stage with a bass to warm up with his band, the Harlem River Noise, comprised of lead singer Kyle Lacy, 27, along with Jon Olejnik, 28, and Jesse Chevan, 27, who are also from New York.

When the clock struck 4 p.m., the band shared its favorite hits with an audience of people sitting in lawn chairs in the parking lot of The Old Plantation Restaurant.

"(This song) is about the golden alcohol that makes everything feel better," Gibson announced. "It's called 'Whiskey Blues.'"

Gibson, who has been playing instruments and singing since he was 14 years old, said music is his way of inspiring people. The song he enjoys performing most is "Rose Garden," which gives band members the chance to interact with the audience as they "tell a story in the middle of the song," Gibson said. 

"The song usually makes crowds feel good," he said. "The lyrics are, 'If you're a rose, I'm your garden.' We need to water each other, metaphorically speaking."

Sitting under a tent across from the stage was Marla Williams, of Tulsa, owner of Hippie Chick Creations, which offers tie dye T-shirts, decoupage, beaded jewelry and other "hippie-Bohemian-inspired groovy goods," Williams said. 

In combination with Medicine Park's small-town atmosphere, cold beer and campground, Williams said she likes listening to Opal Agafia & The Sweet Nothings. The band took center stage Saturday evening.

"It has a nice beat and rhythm," Williams said. "It's more of progressive bluegrass, instead of traditional bluegrass."

Other out-of-towners, Chris and Florence Hardeeman, of Oklahoma City, came not only for the music but also for the water. Florence, who wore a one-piece swimsuit and a cowgirl hat, sat on a bench next to Chris under a shade tree. 

Their furry friend, 8-year-old Chihuahua Charlie, sat at their feet as Florence poured him a bowl of water.

The Lawton Constitution

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