Performers ready to rock Dancing Rabbit Music Fest

·4 min read

Jul. 13—Dancing Rabbit Music Festival organizers say they are planning to give the festival audience what it asked for with the July 16 show in downtown McAlester.

Dancing Rabbit Music Association President Blake Lynch said the members were guided by audience surveys taken at previous shows. He said the responses conveyed requests that a full-blown rock show be included in the series.

That led to the show set for Saturday evening in downtown McAlester, with the free concert featuring The Texas Gentlemen, singer-guitarist Shawn James and the Quaker City Nighthawks. That lineup should help crave the Dancing Rabbit Festival attendees' request for a full-blown rock show, Lynch said.

He predicted the performers will rock East Choctaw Avenue.

"If this doesn't count as delivering, I don't think we can," Lynch quipped.

DRMA Vice President Josh Hass said he knows it will be hot outside on Saturday, but he added anybody who misses this show will miss the best show that McAlester's ever seen.

"We always called these the Burning Down the Street Shows," Lynch said. "We always expected the heat from the bands. We didn't know we'd have it from the temperatures, too."

Organizers are betting on the addition of six misting fans and the availability of cold drinks and water to help cool off those attending the event.

Once again, the Dancing Rabbit Music Festival is presenting the concert to the public free of charge, with the festival set up along Choctaw Avenue between Third Street and Fifth Street. Those attending should go the entrance at Fifth and Choctaw. While the concert is free, audience members who want can gain access to the front of the stage with a $10 VIP pass.

Music is tentatively set to begin at 6 p.m., but could be pushed back a bit if there's no cloud cover, Lynch said. With misting fans set up around the festival and 10 food trucks expected to participate, organizers are doing their best to help attendees have an enjoyable experience.

The Texas Gentlemen, a band known for their versatile skills, are set to open the night of music. Also known as the Gents, the music of The Texas Gentlemen has been described as Texas Funk. Their albums include their most recent release, "Floor It!!!" and their debut album "TX Jelly."

Lynch describes James as a powerful performer in a live concert setting.

"He's a master vocalist with a wide range," Lynch said.

James released his most recent album, "A Place in The Unknown," on Feb. 25, following previous albums such as "On the Shoulders of Giants" and "The Dark & The Light." In addition to his own songs, he pulls out the occasional cover, ranging from Frank Sinatra's "That's Life" to Elvis Presley's "I Can't Help Falling in Love With You."

Headlining the July 16 show are The Quaker City Night Hawks.

The band's albums include the self-named "QCNH." Their music has been described as including everything from psychedelia to Southern rock, along with tblues, country and Memphis soul. Some of their best-known songs include "Cold Blues," "Don't Tell 'Em I'm Coming Home," "Ain't No Kid" and "Some of Adam's Blues."

Lynch described all three acts as having a very strong rock vibe.

In addition to performers on the outdoor stage, after-shows are set at Downtown 312 featuring the band Blacktop Mojo and at Spaceship Earth featuring Joint Custody.

The Dancing Rabbit Music Festival is presented free of charge to attendees, with the shows put together by the DRMA members, along with support from numerous sponsors and volunteers. Members said they started the series to bring live music back to McAlester and to hopefully make the city a regional hub for live music performances.

"We personally like music," Hass said. "We've supplied something to do."

Hass said someone asked him about the ultimate goal of the Dancing Rabbit Music Association.

"We don't have any except for bringing live music," Hass said. "We want to make this an enjoyable experience as possible."

He predicted many concert-goers will forget about the heat Saturday once the show gets going.

"If the heat don't get you, the adrenaline will," said Hass.

Contact James Beaty at jbeaty@mcalesternews.com.