Bob Childers’ Gypsy Café, Oklahoma’s largest homegrown songwriter festival featuring more than 60 artists, returns to Stillwater, Okla. for its twelfth year on Sunday, May 7. In addition to moving the fest from a Wednesday to a Sunday, new stage venues are being added along with a “White Buffalo Brunch” to kick off the day of music with a set dedicated entirely to Bob Childers’ songs. More details, including the lineup, will be released in early March. Tickets are now available at www.amplitix.com/gypsycafe. The festival benefits Red Dirt Relief Fund, Oklahoma’s music industry safety net that has granted more than $687,000 in emergency aid to music creators statewide over the past decade.
In conjunction with the festival, Red Dirt Relief Fund hosts the Jimmy LaFave Songwriting Contest to showcase new and emerging talent in Oklahoma. The winner of the contest takes home a $500 cash prize and a spot in the Gypsy Café lineup. The contest is free to enter and open to unsigned Oklahoma songwriters. Each artist may submit ONE lyric-driven song in any genre online at https://forms.gle/ZMvf9o8b8KuArZYU6 by March 3rd.
Three contest finalists will be selected based on lyrics, melody, originality, form and musicality by a panel of judges including renown songwriters and industry professionals. Finalists will be asked to submit a video recording of their song (acoustic) for public voting online April 2-16. This video can be recorded on a phone as professional production is not required. The judges’ scores of overall performance will be combined with public votes to determine first prize of $500 and a spot in the lineup at Bob Childers’ Gypsy Café and a People’s Choice prize of $100.
Contest information, application and previous winners’ videos can be found at https://www.reddirtrelieffund.org/jlfsongcontest/.
The Jimmy LaFave Songwriting Contest highlights the spirit of mentorship and musical discovery that have become hallmarks of the Gypsy Café festival. It was established the year after Jimmy LaFave accepted the “Restless Spirit Award” on the Gypsy Café stage, a short time before succumbing to cancer.. Previous winners include Ken Pomeroy’s “Sidewalk Song” (2018), Dallas Parker aka Faux Draco’s “Abilities” (2019), Joe Baxter’s “Romeo’s Girl” (2020), Ahna Jennings’ “Hope & Gasoline” (2021) and Branjae’s “Free Facts” (2022).
Red Dirt Relief Fund, a non-profit organization that provides a safety net of critical assistance to Oklahoma musicians, took over management of the festival in the fall of 2013 after Red Bull hosted the event in spring of 2011 and 2012. In 2020 and 2021 the festival went virtual and still managed to raise more than $30,000 total for Oklahoma musicians in need. Last year, the first in-person festival since the pandemic began, over $50,000 was raised for the cause. Ways to support RDRF can be found at www.reddirtrelieffund.org/donate.
Visit reddirtrelieffund.org, friend Red Dirt Relief Fund on Facebook or follow @reddirtrelief for festival updates. For media or sponsorship inquiries, please contact Katie Dale at firstname.lastname@example.org or 918-407-4599.