The Best of Rocklahoma 2013, Including an On-Stage Wedding at 2 a.m.
It's always best at festivals like these when you go looking for the party in the campsite rather than let it come to you. Directly around us were several bands, the longest running flip cup tournament of all time, a tiki tent of some sort complete with bar and swimming pool, an official Jägermeister tent and RV, Miss Rocklahoma, and endless other gazebos and small tent villages put together by friends. All of them were welcoming and friendly, and at least they weren't the guy next to us who seemingly spent the entire festival sleeping directly underneath his truck. Go explore! --Gavin Cleaver
It's nice to see that '80s hair metal never went away, being pounded out completely without irony by an incredible number of be-mulleted bands on the smaller stages. The guys in these bands were all in their 20s and all received adoringly by the smaller crowds around the lesser stages, so they were clearly being received with none of the snarky judgments that people like myself may visit on these acts as well. That's heartwarming to see. (GC)
Multiple bands pledged their merch sales to the Moore, Oklahoma, relief fund. That's a pretty great move by bands struggling to tour across the U.S. --Jaime-Paul Falcon
The residents of Pryor Creek, Oklahoma, a tiny town of a few blocks in length, were pretty happy to have the festival, one of several to take place on these particular campgrounds every year. Various banners and signs greeted Rocklahoma attendees, and all the restaurateurs and employees we saw or spoke to were very happy for the upturn in business. There seemed to be no spread of the chaos on the campsite down into the bars of the surrounding town whatsoever, possibly due to the many police DWI patrols around the town. Instead, Pryor Creek was still a model of an old rural American Midwest town, and that was good to see. (GC)
One thing is for sure, when we decamped from Dallas and made our way to Rocklahoma, we expected to see many a crazy thing, but we never expected to end up standing side stage at 2 a.m. witnessing a couple having a very Rocklahoma wedding.
The future Mr. and Mrs. Paul and Sherry Keys didn't plan to get married at Rocklahoma. Originally, the Pittsburg, Kansas, couple had intended for the festival to be their honeymoon, but circumstances had arisen and they decided to have the wedding in a field at the event. When word of this got to festival organizers they decided they could do better for the couple, so that's how they ended up backstage at 2 a.m., Paul in a black tux with a red tie, Sherry looking resplendent in white and sequins, waiting for a band to finish so they could be ushered on stage to exchange their vows. Another, The Chimpz, would serve as the official witnesses.
As soon as the band was finished, the happy couple was rushed on stage, a local officiant reads them their vows, and the crowd roared with support. "Get it girl!" "Congrats!" "WOOOO!" filled the air. When Paul was instructed to kiss Sherry to seal the ceremony, the crowd erupted. As Eric Clapton's "You Look Wonderful Tonight" played over the P.A., the couple had their first dance to cheers, catcalls and applause. (JPF)
A flight company was offering helicopter rides to fest goers for $35 a pop and donating all profits to the Wounded Warriors foundation. This is very cool. (JPF)
Bands who are very into self-promotion can often grate, but the heart can only be warmed by the sight of one or two bands handing out flyers to promote their appearance two days hence at one in the morning, in full stage gear. More power to these bands. They deserve a crowd for that ridiculous kind of dedication. One of the bands in question, all white denim and stylized long blonde hair, were camping. Camping. They looked the same on day three as they did on day one. They must have had a shower and blowdrier no one else knew about. (GC)
Out of nowhere on Saturday, the Budweiser Clydesdales showed up and paraded around the fest grounds. Had Stevie Nick's voice suddenly started whispering to me, I would have broken down and cried. (JPF)
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