By Sean Rowley
TAHLEQUAH — Area music fans will soon have an opportunity to attend a two-night festival nestled among the buildings of downtown.
The Tahlequah North End Music Fest, organized by the Tahlequah Main Street Association, features nine acts tonight and Saturday. The stage will be at Norris Park. Admission is free.
The festival coincides with Northeastern State University’s homecoming weekend.
“That was definitely part of the plan,” said Drew Haley, the association’s director. “The NSU Alumni Association moved its Friday night party for alumni downtown. When setting up the music festival, we discussed several possibilities, but we thought homecoming weekend would be best.”
Daniel Johnson, NSU’s director of alumni relations, said homecoming and the music festival made “a good fit.”
“For us, we were looking for something that could bring our alumni in on Friday and bridge into Saturday,” he said. “I believe the music festival will be a big hit.”
Bands booked for tonight are Moai Broadcast, Mike Hosty, David Castro, and Andy Adams and the Fictioneers. Saturday’s performers are Earl & Then, Scott Ellison, the Travis Fite Band, Franke Lee and Muskogee native Free Kennedy.
The music sets begin at 5 p.m. tonight and 3:30 p.m. Saturday. The concerts will end around 11 p.m. both nights.
“We also organized this to encourage patronage of our downtown businesses,” Haley said. “Many will be open during the music festival and remain open late. We believe that when the concerts end, a lot of people will still want to stay out.”
Patrons can walk freely along Muskogee Avenue, which will be closed to through traffic between Downing Street and just south of Goingsnake Street. East Morgan Street and Spring Street will also be closed between Muskogee and North Water Avenue. Food, soft drinks and 3.2 beer will be sold at cash concessions. An ATM will be on site.
Open consumption of 3.2 beer will be allowed in Norris Park and along the closed section of Muskogee. Outside food and beverages are not permitted, nor are ice chests or pets. Lawn chairs are permitted. Festival beer sales will end at 10 p.m. both nights.
“The chief of police (Nate King) supported the TMSA’s efforts to secure city permission to allow open consumption at this event,” Haley said. “We want everyone to have a lot of fun, but we do ask the favor of our patrons to be mindful of behavior.”
Sean Rowley writes for the Tahlequah Daily Press.