On a beautiful spring day last week, 60 Oklahoma songwriters and a record number of fans came out in Stillwater for a long-awaited celebration of Red Dirt music making this 11th Bob Childers Gypsy Cafe the most successful one yet!
Near-perfect weather and record attendance helped Red Dirt Relief Fund net $47,064 to fund financial assistance grants for Oklahoma music professionals in crisis!
From an emotional presentation of the Restless Spirit Award to Chad Sullins’ family to a stirring performance from Branjae as the Jimmy LaFave Songwriting Contest winner, beautiful sights and sounds were all around. Did we mention the 60 Oklahoma songwriters who blew us away?!
Thanks to our committee, sponsors, venues, artists, volunteers and everyone who came out to make #gypsycafe possible! Check out the video from Tony Thompson Productions (above) and photos by Tom Harris (below) capturing the day.
Restless Spirit Award Presentation
The Red Dirt Relief Fund’s annual award was presented in memory of Chad Sullins to his daughter, Presley, alongside many loving relatives on April 27, 2022. 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).