Dancing Rabbit gearing up for third season

Mar. 18—Creators of the Dancing Rabbit Music Festival say the popular festival's third season could be the best.

That leaves music fans a lot to anticipate, since many who've attended agree the musical event's first two seasons in 2021 and 2022 presented some outstanding shows.

Even so, Dancing Rabbit Music Association President Blake Lynch is confident that 2023 could be the festival's best year yet.

"The third season will be bigger and better than ever before," Lynch said. "We've doubled the talent budget."

Singer-songwriter Rayland Baxter is headliner for the Dancing Rabbit Music Festival's opening outdoor show, set for May 13 in downtown McAlester. Also performing on the outdoor stage for May 13 show with their own sets are Shawn Mullins and outdoor stage opener, Will Hoge.

After-hours performers for the May 13 shows are Kyle Reid at Spaceship Earth and Kat Hasty at Downtown 312.

Lynch said the May 13 edition of the Dancing Rabbit Music Festival will be followed by shows on June 17 and July 22, with performers for those shows to be announced at a future date.

Once again this year, the shows on the outdoor stage along Choctaw Avenue at the Third Street intersection will be presented free of charge to those attending.

A special ticketed Dancing Rabbit Spotlight Series show featuring acclaimed singer-songwriter Parker Millsap is set for 8 p.m. Sunday night, March 19, at Spaceship Earth Coffee in McAlester, prior to the onset of the outdoor DRMF shows in May.

"True to form, we've made our May show a singer-songwriter event," Lynch said.

All of the artists for the May's main outdoor show are expected to have musicians with them.

Rayland's a band," Lynch said. Hoge will be performing with accompanying musicians and Mullins is expected to perform as a duo, he said.

"Rayland Baxter's a great singer-songwriter," Lynch said. Baxter, who lives and records in Nashville, Tennessee, released the album and single "If I Were A Butterfly," in 2022, accompanied by a video of the song.

Mullins is known for his 1998 hit "Lullaby," from his album, "Soul's Core." Another song, from the album, "Simmer," also became a hit and is included on the soundtrack album to "Dawson's Creek." He's recorded a number of other albums, including "The Essential Shawn Mullins."

Lynch said those songs are known to many fans who listened to music at the time.

Will Hoge, who also lives and records in Nashville, has released a number of albums, including "Tiny Little Movies" in 2020 and "Wings On My Shoes" in 2022.

"Will Hoge's a seasoned vet," said Lynch

While the shows are offered free of charge to attendees, there is an option to get closer to the stage for a $10 pit pass. Some special packages are also in the process of being put together, said Lynch.

One change this year is there will be no afternoon activities in association with the festival prior to the music on the min stage, set to begin at 6 p.m. Lynch said that's in part due to other activities that will be going on in McAlester that day.

Lynch said food trucks and tents with drinks and beverages will be operating downtown for the outdoor events.