On Sunday, October 15th, 62 Oklahoma musicians gathered at Mercury Lounge and Venue Shrine at 18th and Boston in Tulsa to play the eighth annual “Skinnerfest” celebrating the life and songwriting tradition of Oklahoma Music Hall of Famer, Tom Skinner. The funds raised at the festival allowed Red Dirt Relief Fund to put $9,250 directly in artist and production workers’ pockets and put $15,745 in their Emergency Financial Assistance Fund—funding more than five individual maximum annual grants to aid music creators facing unavoidable emergencies.
Skinnerfest 2023 kicked off with a VIP Brunch at Shrine featuring Tulsa’s King Cabbage Brass Band which led to a second-line parade and serious get-down on the patio at Mercury Lounge! Presented by The Collab, brunch included a Cajun buffet from Deco Deli and a complimentary limited release “Skyline Radio Light American Lager” created for the fest by Heirloom Rustic Ales. Named after a popular Skinner’s tune, “Skyline Radio,” this light American lager features label art by local designer, Thom Self, who also created the festival poster and t-shirt. The beer is available in at the Heirloom Rustic Ales taproom at 2113 E. Admiral Blvd. in Tulsa while supplies last.
The music continued with rousing sets from Johnny Mullenax Bluegrass Brunch, Wednesday Science Project with the Red Dirt Rangers, big vocal harmonies from And Then There Were Two with Cassie Latshaw, tear-inspiring songs from Saugeye and a Tom Skinner-dedicated set from John Fullbright that he began solo, singing songs and telling stories about Tom, that led into a full band performance. The night was capped with big performances from Osage County at Shrine and Damion Shade & the Boom Bap Chorus at Mercury Lounge. Bobby Moore of the band, The Brothers Moore, was on site all day creating a live paining of an old west-tyle Mercury Lounge he titled “Throwback Punks and Daytime Drunks” after the Turnpike Troubadours’ lyric about the venue. It sold in the live auction for $2,600. Even after 10 hours of music, fans crowded into Thelma’s Peach, a venue not far from 18th & Boston, for the afterparty with Johnny Murrell and friends!
According to Red Dirt Relief Fund Executive Director Katie Dale, “Every year we’re reminded of the immense talent and local support for Tulsa musicians at Skinnerfest! We are honored to bring local music, art, food and drink to our local music venues while employing as many local creatives as we can in the process. We are grateful to our local partners for making this all possible!”
Tom Skinner was often quoted for his description of Red Dirt music as “more of a brotherhood and a community thing than it is necessarily a style.” This festival seeks to celebrate that community in a safe festival atmosphere that will surprise music fans of all genres by showcasing all Oklahoma talent. Skinner was inducted into the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame just four months before his death on July 12, 2015.
Red Dirt Relief Fund is a non-profit organization that provides a safety net of critical assistance to Oklahoma music professionals. Since it began in 2012, Red Dirt Relief Fund has granted over $750,000 to more than 800 music creators in 39 Oklahoma counties including $305,000 in COVID relief grants.
Skinnerfest is supported by The Collaborative, Tulsa Film, Music, Arts & Culture, White Claw, Tulsa Dental Center, District Bicycles, Osage Casino, Brut Hotel.
Visit reddirtrelieffund.org/skinnerfest, friend Red Dirt Relief Fund on Facebook or follow @reddirtrelief for more festival photos, videos and more information.
For media inquiries, please contact Katie Dale at firstname.lastname@example.org or 918-407-4599.