Gypsy Cafe Schedule & Jimmy LaFave Song Contest Winner Announced!

Bob Childers’ Gypsy Café, Oklahoma’s largest homegrown songwriter festival, has released the schedule of 70 songwriters performing across five venues on Sunday, May 5th in Stillwater, Okla. During the festival, Monica Taylor will be honored with the Restless Spirit Award, and Eric Hunker will perform as the winner of the Jimmy LaFave Songwriting Contest.

Now in its thirteenth year, the festival benefits Red Dirt Relief Fund, the nonprofit that provided aid to more than half the artists in the lineup during the pandemic, and more than $840,000 to  music professionals statewide over the past decade.

The Grid

With five stages at live music venues around Stillwater, festival organizers created a “grid” to help attendees plan the best way to see 70 of Oklahoma’ best songwriters perform acoustic song swap sets. The festival is also providing a free shuttle that will run a loop around festival venues throughout the day. See the grid and purchase tickets at

Restless Spirit Award

Before a guitar live auction and Family Jam Finale at the Grand Casino Main Stage at Eskimo Joe’s, Monica Taylor will be recognized for her work in Red Dirt music that spans more than three decades. Taylor has recorded and performed with a litany of famed Red Dirt, country and bluegrass musicians including her friend and collaborator, Bob Childers, who along with Jimmy LaFave gave her the nickname “The Cimarron Songbird” because of her unique singing style and her home near the Cimarron River.

In the 1990’s Taylor lived and cowrote with Childers at the Farm, the storied birthplace of Red Dirt music on the west side of Stillwater. Taylor has curated the Cimarron Breeze Concert Series for the past decade bringing countless acclaimed touring and local artists to Perkins including Malcolm Holcombe, Dale Watson, Eliza Gilkyson, Cherokee Maidens, Parker Millsap, Byron Berline and many more.  In 2022 she released a double vinyl “Red Dirt Ramble” which features 55 guest vocalists and musicians paying tribute to pioneers of Red Dirt music with 18 new recordings of songs written by Childers, Jimmy LaFave, Don Morris, Tom Skinner and more.

Taylor will host and perform at Bob’s “Mexican Morning” Brunch to kickoff the festival and will be presented the Restless Spirit award at 7:20pm. The Award, named for Childers’ song with the same name, is given by Red Dirt Relief Fund in recognition of a musician who has impacted the Oklahoma music community in a spirit akin to Childers. Taylor joins a prestigious and beloved litany of Restless Spirit Award honorees: Jimmy LaFave (2017), Brandon Jenkins (2018), Randy Crouch (2019), Steve Ripley (2020), Jim Paul Blair (2021), Chad Sullins (2022) and Jake Flint (2023).

Jimmy LaFave Songwriting Contest Winner

At 4:15pm at the Grand Casino Stage at Eskimo Joe’s, Tulsa-based singer songwriter Eric Hunker will be awarded a $1,000 cash prize as overall Jimmy LaFave Songwriting Contest winner for his song, “When It All Ends.” The song was selected out of 84 entries alongside People’s Choice winner, Chandler Williams of Ada, and finalist Johnny Murrell of Tulsa. Hunker’s first album All These Little Loves debuted at #9 on iTunes Singer-Songwriter Top 20. He wrote and toured as half of the indie-folk duo “Eric & Happie” for six years, releasing the album It’s Yours which debuted at #11 on the same list. He has toured the country and played SXSW, Sundance Film Festival and at the United Nations in NYC. Eric released his second solo album Beautiful Endings in late 2023 and is currently on a national tour in support of it.  Hear this year’s top three songs, get more contest information and view previous winners at

Venues & Festival Tickets

Bob’s “Mexican Morning” Brunch at Stonecloud Brewing includes a Cinco de Mayo-themed brunch buffet from Good Little Eater, two drink tickets from Stonecloud Brewing and Monica Taylor performing songs from her Red Dirt Ramble record with Jared Tyler, Randy Crouch, Scott Evans, Brad James, Gene Williams, Bob Wiles and other guests from the festival lineup.  Tickets are limited and include GA admission to all festival venues.

Eskimo Joe’s Main Stage will include regional vendors and a silent auction of one-of-a-kind music experiences and memorabilia. Before the all-lineup family jam finale, there will be a live auction of a Gypsy Cafe guitar signed by the entire lineup and a Monica Taylor-inspired guitar painted by local artist, Nathan McCray, who has created the festival’s graphic design since its inception.  

Festival venues include:

  • Eskimo Joe’s Main Stage (all ages, outdoor weather permitting, 501 W. Elm St.)
  • Grand Casino Stage at Outlaws (21+, 501 S. Washington St.)
  • Coors Light Stage at Salty Bronc (21+, 911 W. 5th Ave.)
  • George’s Stables (21+, 502 W. Elm St.)
  • White Buffalo Brunch at Stonecloud Taproom—SPECIAL TICKET REQUIRED (all ages, 917 S. Husband St.)

General Admission tickets good for entry to all festival venues (excluding Brunch) are $40 in advance at or $30 for students with ID. A bundle of four GA tickets is also available for a discount at $140.  A limited number of tickets for Brunch and Reserved Seating at the Grand Casino Main Stage at Eskimo Joe’s range from $65-$150.

The festival will provide a free shuttle running a loop around the general admission venues from 1-7pm on May 8th.

The Cause

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 $8400,000 in emergency assistance to more than 800 music professionals in all genres and jobs statewide, including more than $300,000 to those facing venue closings and gig cancellations during the pandemic.

Now in its thirteenth year, Bob Childers’ Gypsy Café is the organization’s largest annual fundraiser thanks to support from partners including Grand Casino, Lunazul Tequila, The Collaborative, Oklahoma Film + Music Office, Tito’s Vodka, Hochatown Distilling, Austin Eastciders and many community partners.

For more information, visit or contact Katie Dale at 918-407-4599 or

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