Jeff Liles, the talent buyer at the Kessler Theater and resident local music aficionado, has been promising a big headliner for the third-annual North Oak Cliff Music Festival. Well, this is a big one, and has plenty of significance for Oak Cliff, too. Edie Brickell, who was born and raised in the neighborhood, will be getting back together with her old Dallas band the New Bohemians to top off the festival at Lake Cliff Park, which takes place on Saturday, October 25.
Joining the New Bohemians with newly announced acts for the show this morning are Denton natives Seryn.
Brickell and the New Bohemians were a mainstay of Dallas music in the 1980s, one of a handful of bands that really helped push the local scene into relevancy and also a hallmark act of what many still consider to be the city's golden era of music. You don't need Liles, himself a veteran of more than 30 years in the music community, to tell you why the band matters. But as usual, he has a unique and thoughtful insight into it.
"I just feel fortunate to have witnessed it happening firsthand," Liles says of the New Bohemians' rise and peak years in the '80s. "I was a 23-year-old kid promoter at the time, so there was always a feeling that a ragtag group of kids were all pulling together to make it happen."
Liles references the oft-told story of Brickell, who was born at nearby Methodist Hospital, getting on stage with the New Bohemians when she first saw them playing at a local bar -- "Pure inspiration. Zero calculation. That's how this band started," he says -- and how that originality came through in all they did: in their hand-drawn show posters, their limited-edition cassettes and especially their live performances.
"New Bohemians appearances always felt like family gatherings," Liles says. "It wasn't uncommon to see jugglers, people selling tie-dyed T-shirts, folks taping the shows for posterity. I'm hoping that, at least for one day, we can recapture some of that feeling."
That that goal is what drove this entire lineup is a lot clearer now. David Garza, who once ran in the same circles as the New Bohemians, was announced on the bill last week. Local soul legend Bobby Patterson, who played the first North Oak Cliff Music Fest two years ago when Alejandro Escovedo headlined, will return, having just released a comeback album. (He and his band, the Relatives, will join forces with the Disciples under the name the South Dallas Funk Revue.) Even Seryn, one of the crop of younger bands on the bill, played the festival last year.
Tickets for the festival go on sale this Friday, September 5 at 10 a.m. General admission tickets will cost $25, limited edition family packs (including two adults and four teenagers aged 10-18) $50 and limited edition VIP tickets $75. Children 10 years old and younger get in for free.
The full lineup so far for the show:
Edie Brickell and the New Bohemians Seryn South Dallas Funk Revue Kat Edomonson David Garza Trio Fox and the Bird Emily Elbert Meiko
NORTH OAK CLIFF MUSIC FESTIVAL takes place at 11:30 a.m., Saturday, October 25, at Lake Cliff Park, 300 E. Colorado Blvd., Dallas.