Now in its 15th(!) year – well, excluding the plague years – the festival has turned into one of the premier arts and culture events in Oklahoma, and – despite an OU religious group's best efforts to hamper attendance – gives a stage and platform to our state's talented musicians, as well as various up and coming indie performers.
The festival takes place this Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and I’ve scrolled through this year's list of performers and highlighted some of the local ones you should try to catch.
Samantha Crain – Friday @ 8:20pm – Main Stage
Beginning her career as a folk artist, Samantha Crain – a huge TLO fan – has evolved towards a more poppy sound as of late, and I have to say, she is incredible at both. One of the best modern singer-songwriters to come out of Oklahoma, she’s been mentioned in Rolling Stone, The New York Times, and Billboard, and heard on shows like Reservation Dogs. Don’t miss her.
LABRYS – Friday @ 10pm – Opolis Indoor Stage
A solo “contemplative alternative” project from Penny Pitchlynn – the former bassist for BRONCHO – I try to catch LABRYS and their grungy reverb sound wherever I can. They also have various tracks featured on Reservation Dogs, and have become a familiar name outside of Oklahoma.
Audio Book Club – Saturday @ 4:30pm – Main Stage
According to my editor Patrick, this band allegedly formed and practiced in the living room of his house when he rented it out a couple of years ago, which is kind of cool considering I predict they’re the next band that is going to make it big out of this state. Rapidly growing in popularity without even having an official album released, lead singer Zach Pearson’s distinct vocals stand out over bar-soaked jams, providing a vibrato reminiscent of a modern drunken Buddy Holly.
Jabee – Saturday @ 10:15pm – West Main Stage
Local rapper, activist, and restaurateur Jabee always gets the community out to his performances by ensuring a good time with an enjoyable learning experience, so express your allegiance to local music by raising a fat middle finger to Chance the Rapper’s big free sermon occurring simultaneously at OU. At least Jabee’s show won’t make you feel like a sinner for having a good time.
Olivia is a hot new talent emerging from Oklahoma’s music scene. Prepare for a unique experience as she loops vocals, violin solos, guitar riffs, and sound bites from voicemails left by relatives. Each carefully crafted song during Komahcheet’s set mixes genres making it difficult to pin labels on her.
Oklahoma Breakdown: The Mike Hosty Story – Thursday @ 7:30pm – Sooner Theatre
Norman music legend Mike Hosty has been further immortalized with the documentary Oklahoma Breakdown: The Mike Hosty Story. If you don’t have a reserved ticket for the documentary on Thursday at 7:30pm in Sooner Theatre, then your friend that goes to the Deli every Sunday is sure to have one for you. There’s another chance to get your fill of Hosty when he performs at 11:10pm on Saturday at the Gray Street Stage.
Comedy Night Live – Friday @ 6:30pm – Sooner Theatre
The most underrated aspect at NMF is Comedy Night Live on Friday at Sooner Theatre. Lounge in the A/C and guffaw at one of my favorite comedic vets – former TLO contributor Spencer Hicks – who starts the jokes off at 6:00pm and then again at 7pm. Rumor has it that if enough people show up for The Martin Duprass set at 9:30, then James Nghiem will come out of comedy retirement.