Bob Childers’ Gypsy Café, Oklahoma’s largest homegrown songwriter festival, returns to Stillwater, Okla. in person on April 27 for the first time since the pandemic began. The festival will span three stages with song swap sets from 58 Oklahoma songwriters including perennial favorites Kaitlin Butts, Mike McClure, Randy Crouch, Mike Hosty and the Red Dirt Rangers while adding nine new voices to the lineup, as well as the winner of the Jimmy LaFave Songwriting Contest. The festival benefits Red Dirt Relief Fund, the nonprofit that provided aid to more than half the artists in the lineup, and more than 800 music professionals statewide, throughout the pandemic.
“We are thrilled to bring this festival back live for fans, artists and venues,” said Red Dirt Relief Fund Executive Director Katie Dale. “It’s been a rough couple of years for the music industry, and we look forward to kicking off Red Dirt Relief Fund’s tenth anniversary year with some of our favorite people in the place where it all began.”
Fans can expect to hear songs and stories about Oklahoma, Bob Childers (the so-called godfather of red dirt music), the Farm (the legendary place on the west side of Stillwater where the genre was born) and the Gypsy Café (the recently reconstructed outbuilding at the Farm where musicians have gathered to play and write songs for four decades). There will also be a silent auction of autographed guitars, one-of-a-kind music experiences, original artwork and even a live painting from Bobby Moore, a member of Tulsa-based band The Brothers Moore who is also playing the fest.
This year’s lineup includes two recent Oklahoma Hall of Fame inductees, a pair of brothers opening for Dolly Parton at SXSW and three Jimmy LaFave Songwriting contest winners. The pairings by stage will be announced in early April and will feature Adam Aguilar, Ahna Jennings, Ali Harter, Amber Watson, Autumn Ragland, Beau Jennings , Ben Brock, Ben Han, Billy & Bobby Moore, Blake Lankford, Bo Phillips, Brad Piccolo, Brandon Clark, Brandon Jackson, Bryon White, Buffalo Rogers, Cale Lester, Carter Sampson, Celia Monroe, Chloe Beth, Chris Jones, Chuck Dunlap, Corey Kent, Dan Martin, Desi & Cody Clinton, Dylan Stewart, Gabe Marshall, Gene Collier, Giakob Lee, Gib Stones, Great American Wolf, Greg Jacobs, Hayden Harris & Scott Carson, Jack Waters, Jake Flint, John Cooper, John Goolsby, Jordan Cox, Kaitlin Butts, Ken Pomeroy, Kyle Nix, Mallory Eagle, Mike Hosty, Mike McClure, Monica Taylor, Nick Gibson, Randy Crouch, RC Edwards, Rick Reiley, Rigby Summer, Roger Ray, Scott Evans, Steve Liddell, Stoney LaRue, Tequila Kim Reynolds, Travis Kidd, Zac Wenzel and the Jimmy LaFave Songwriting Contest winner.
Venues & Festival Wristbands
Festival wristbands are good for entry into all festival Venues:
- Grand Casino Stage at Eskimo Joe’s (all ages, outdoor weather permitting, 501 W. Elm St.)
- Oklahoma Film + Music Office Stage at Still Chill (formerly Stonewall Tavern, 21+, outdoor weather permitting, 115 S. Knoblock St.)
- George’s Stables (21+, 502 W. Elm St.)
Festival wristbands are $25 in advance at http://www.reddirtrelieffund.org/gypsycafe or day-of for $30 or $20 for students with ID. A limited number of Reserved Seating tickets for the Grand Casino Main Stage and a special “Friends of the Farm” ticket that includes the artists’ lunch at the Farm on festival day range from $75-$150.
Fans interested in making a Red Dirt run in Stillwater can also purchase a “4-Day GA” Calf Fry ticket from the Tumbleweed that includes a Gypsy Café festival wristband.
All tickets should be exchanged for a wristband at Will Call located in front of Eskimo Joe’s starting at 2pm on April 27.
Restless Spirit Award Presentation
The Red Dirt Relief Fund’s annual award will be presented in memory of Chad Sullins. Front man of Chad Sullins and the Lost Call Coalition from 2009-2016, Sullins often said it was a “rock band that played country music.” The band played 200+ shows a year touring across the country. Sullins was a prolific writer and penned songs for 5 albums and an EP, both with the band and as a solo act. He was a longtime friend of the Red Dirt Relief Fund—Sullins played his first Bob Childers’ Gypsy Café in 2012 and played every one in person after that. In a video taken at the Farm in Stillwater in 2014, he said, “playing music gets in your soul, and once you want to do it for a living, the chances of you doing anything else are pretty slim.” Sullins passed away June 27, 2021, from a recurring heart condition.
The Restless Spirit Award is given by Red Dirt Relief Fund in recognition of a musician who has impacted the Oklahoma music community in a spirit akin to Bob Childers, a prolific songwriter and the so-called godfather of red dirt music. Previous honorees include Jimmy LaFave (2017), Brandon Jenkins (2018), Randy Crouch (2019) and Steve Ripley (2020) and Jim Paul Blair (2021).
Red Dirt Relief Fund was founded in 2012 using the ticket proceeds of the very first Gypsy Café festival held in Stillwater in 2011. Since then, the nonprofit has granted more than $580,000 in emergency assistance to more than 800 music professionals in 38 Oklahoma cities and towns, most notably almost $300,000 to those facing venue closings and gig cancellations during the pandemic.
Now in its eleventh year, Bob Childers’ Gypsy Café is the organization’s largest annual fundraiser thanks to support from presenting sponsors Deep Eddy Vodka, Skrewball Peanut Butter Whiskey, Gran Centanario Tequila, Fistful of Bourbon and many community partners.
For more information, visit reddirtrelieffund.org or contact Katie Dale at 918-407-4599 or firstname.lastname@example.org.