MEDICINE PARK — Visitors to Medicine Park this weekend know it’s only rock and roll, but from those talked to, they like it.
Day two of the town’s “Rock in the Park” music festival was a return to old times. Due to the COVID-19 crisis and ensuing shut down, the first free music festival of the year, Park Stomp was rescheduled for October. The Memorial Day weekend plans for the Roots Ball were cancelled.
But when it’s time to rock, you always find a way.
Event coordinator Rodney Whaley said the opening night’s performance by local heroes Cashroh was a whopper. It was followed by Another Pink in the Floyd, a Pink Floyd tribute band, who put on a two-and-a-half-hour straight performance. Complete with a laser light show that took the place of this year’s fireworks display for the Independence Day and town’s birthday weekend, he called it a hit.
“Last night was arguably the most epic night in Medicine Park history,” he said on Saturday afternoon. “People were wall to wall. It was a phenomenal party. Everybody just needed some rock and roll.”
As he got on stage to introduce the day’s opening act, The Midniters from Fort Worth, Texas, Whaley reminded the audience to remember to be conscientious of each other and social distance as best they can. And with the energy from the night before he asked only one thing of the crowd:
“The only thing we’re going to do is try to surpass that.”
Anthony Fontaine, the artist who created this year’s iconic festival imagery said he’d heard that Friday offered “record numbers” of visitors. From his vendor set-up where he was selling t-shirts, he said he’s still soaking in seeing his work being appreciate at the festival.
“It’s still pretty surreal to see it out there,” he said.
From the side of the Redbone Indian Taco truck, Angel Salazar, of Lawton, was enticing visitors with tie-dye t-shirts that fit the occasion. She said she couldn’t believe she’d been missing out on these annual free music festivals before now.
“It’s pretty cool out here,” she said. “All these years living in Lawton, I can’t believe I haven’t been back here in 20 years.”
Salazar said she would be returning, both as a vendor and as a fan.
Local rock stars in their own right, Tyler McCartney and Travis Julian from Gannon Fremin & CCRev sought the comforting delight of a cold beer while out at the festival. With a red dirt sound more akin to rock and roll traditional country, Julian said there are hopes they’re on next year’s bill.
With a shady spot that captured cool breezes from Medicine Creek, Marlow Brooks and his wife Ginger were happy they’d made the trek from Union City.
“We enjoy being outside and this seems to be pretty enjoyable,” Marlow said of their second trip to Medicine Park.
His wife offered a caveat after learning it can get steamy in the small community: “It’s our first time in July.”
Ginger said she was glad they’d made the trip. Despite concerns about the potential spread of COVID-19 by attending, nerves were put at ease by the ability to social distance on their own terms.
“I’ve been a little nervous, but I’m also a little excited,” she said.
As the rock and roll band from Texas continued its set with Wilson Pickett’s “Land of 1,000 Dances,” John Manning, of Lawton, did his best to emulate a number of the steps from the song. In the end, his sentiment summed up that of many.
“I’m having a blast,” he said.
Written by Scott Rains: email@example.com.