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Tulsa to host four-day Route 66 music and film festival in September

Published: 4.5.16
Jason Isbell will perform at the first Mother Road Revival Weekend in September at the BOK Center.

The four-day festival - Sept. 8-11 - also will feature Shakey Graves and Lucero at the BOK Center show, film screenings and discussions on Route 66 and Woody Guthrie and free concerts at Guthrie Green.

"This is what we hope will be the beginning of an annual event," said Jeff Nickler, general manager of SMG Tulsa, which manages the BOK Center. "It celebrates two things that have deep roots in Tulsa: folk music and Route 66."

Tickets for the Isbell show start at $35 plus fees and go on sale Friday at, the Arby's Box office at the corner of Third Street and Frisco Avenue or by calling 866-7-BOKCTR.

The event was spurred by recent announcements by the Woody Guthrie Center and the George Kaiser Family Foundation that have validated Tulsa as a destination for Americana, according to a release by the venue. That includes the announcement earlier this year that the Bob Dylan Archive would make its home in Tulsa thanks to a partnership between the University of Tulsa and the George Kaiser Family Foundation.

Parts of the archive have already moved to Tulsa with the bulk coming over the next two years, housed for now at Gilcrease Museum.

Organizers say events like this, made possible through collaboration among many different entities in the city, help raise Tulsa's profile. The event will be the same month as the Americana Music Association marks its annual festivities in Nashville.

"As Tulsa continues to grow our established music scene, we're becoming part of that conversation," said Abby Kurin, director of the Tulsa Office of Film, Music, Arts and Culture.

Events begin Sept. 8, with a special screening of the classic Route 66 film "Bagdad Cafe" at Circle Cinema and a discussion involving several Route 66 experts, including Michael Wallis.

Sept. 9 will feature the latest in the Tulsa Office of Film, Music, Arts and Culture free Music Mixer Panel and Route 66 Happy Hour. More details about events and panelists will be released at a later date.

Sept. 10 events include discussions on Woody Guthrie's career later in life and his meeting with a young Bob Dylan. Another panel will discuss the folk music scene in New York's Greenwich Village and Washington Square Park, which harbored much of the momentum of the folk revival of the 1960s. The evening will feature the performance at the BOK Center with Isbell, Shakey Graves and Lucero.

Sunday's events start with a Gospel Brunch at Cain's Ballroom featuring local folk musicians to be announced and food from Oklahoma Joe's BBQ. At Guthrie Green later in the day, the Tulsa Roots Music nonprofit group will host a free concert featuring Oklahoman Travis Linville, Hayes Carll and others.

The weekend is presented by River Spirit Casino and will celebrate folk music and film while paying homage to Route 66.

Deana McCloud, executive director of the Woody Guthrie Center, said the collaboration among the different entities like Circle Cinema, Cain's Ballroom, BOK Center, Woody Guthrie Center and Guthrie Green makes events like this possible.

"The cool thing is we're all open to these partnerships and collaborations," McCloud said. "I think that's a different dynamic than we see in a lot of cities."

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