Western swing music fills Sequoyah State Lodge this weekend.
The Western Swing Music Society of the Southwest is having its Winter Showcase Dance and Jam through Saturday at the lodge. Admission is free on Thursday. On Friday and Saturday, admission is $5 for members and $10 for nonmembers, said Society president John Jones.
Musician Hack Starbuck, who plays bass with E-Z Country, said the charge is good for the whole day.
"You get an arm band and come and go as you want," he said. "It's a nice family get-together. There's no drinking, and it's for all ages."
Starbuck said fans can expect to hear a lot of country music, "but we do play a majority of western swing."
"It's just a blend of all types of music," Starbuck said. "It's a blend of country, western, jazz. It's all blended together."
He said western swing evolved in the 1930s when bandleader Bob Wills put horns with country and western music.
"And then that made it swing," Starbuck said. "Nowadays, they don't have very many horns. We do have a couple of saxophones that play with us once in a while, but mostly fiddle music."
People also can hear steel guitar, lead guitar, twin fiddles, drums, piano and bass.
"Each band has a variety of its own," he said. "Maybe two fiddles, maybe three fiddles. It's not uncommon to see someone get up with two other fiddle players."
Starbuck said the gathering features several main bands, including Bo Posey and Shift Work, Don Cooper and his Green Country Band, as well as the WSMSS Band, made up of Western Swing Society members.
"Then we have bands between the bands," he said. "We have what we call jam bands, and they're made up of different members of different bands playing together."
Starbuck said the gathering attracts "anywhere from 150 to 300 people."
"They have the lodge set up for 250 people, and they have it full most of the time," he said.
Musicians come from Houston, Amarillo, as well as Cape Girardeau, Missouri.
"Our society covers five states," he said. "We'll have them even from Illinois."
Starbuck said the lodge is a great facility for the gathering.
"It does everything we need them to do," he said. "Our people like to stay where they dance. It's one of the nicest facilities we have come up with. They're real good at working with us. They're just fine, easy-going people."
If you go
WHAT: Western Swing Music Winter Showcase Dance and Jam.
WHEN: 10 a.m. through 11 p.m. Thursday through Saturday.
WHERE: Sequoyah State Park and Lodge, Oklahoma 51 between Hulbert and Wagoner.
ADMISSION: On Friday and Saturday, $5 for Western Swing Music Society of the Southwest members; $10 for nonmembers.