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Bob Childers tribute to kick off the 18th Woody Guthrie Folk Fest

More than 90 acts will perform at this year's Woody Guthrie Folk Fest in Okemah.
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OKEMAH, Okla. - For great folk music, look no further than the 18th annual Woody Guthrie Folk Festival in Okemah.

Nicknamed "WoodyFest," his year's festival is set to host music in honor of the late folk star that once called Okemah home. The event, July 8th through the 12th, will include fun for all ages, poetry and incredible live music from some of Oklahoma's favorites like The Damn Quails, Red Dirt Rangers, Annie Oakley, John Fullbright and more as well as acclaimed singer-songwriter Ellis Paul.

"Thousands of people come from all over the world," said Monica Taylor, performer at WoodyFest for the past 16 years.

This year is bigger and better than the years before with more than 90 acts, including a show in honor of the late Bob Childers. Childers became a fixture of the festival while he was alive, and due to his impact on the music scene, artists will kick-off the 18th annual Woody Guthrie Folk Festival with a tribute to Childers at the Crystal Theatre.

"It's a beautiful old theatre," Taylor said. "Bob always loved WoodyFest."

In fact, Bob Childers was the voice of Woody Guthrie on Jimmy Lafave's tribute tour to the late folk star, she said.

WoodyFest is a nonprofit event and relies on volunteers, including the musical acts, to make it all possible.

While the festival has been free in the past, attendees more than 13 years of age must purchase either a one-day $30 wrist band or three-day pass for $75.

However, WoodyFest is sticking to its roots by offering free music on Wednesday at Brick Street and on Thursday at Brick Street and the Community Improvement Association stage.

"Every venue is full of talented artists," Taylor said. "If you haven't heard of a person, and you listen to them, you're probably going to become a fan."

Camaraderie and friendship make up the spirit of Oklahoma music and the legacy of Woody Guthrie. Because of this, impromptu jam sessions and stage crashing can almost be guaranteed and will be something any music lover would not want to miss.

"It's like a family reunion," Taylor said. "It really is, and it's great."

In addition to music, WoodyFest also raises money for the Huntington's Disease Society of America to help find a cure and treatments for the rare disease that claimed the life of Guthrie.

For fantastic music and fun for all, the 18th annual Woody Guthrie Festival fits the bill. Tickets are on sale at the Okemah Fiesta Mart, Okfuskee County History Center Museum and Pastors of Plenty gate. For the lineup, schedule of events and more information go to

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Mary Belle Zook

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About Red Dirt Report

Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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