Organizers / Producers Rick & Myrna Sellers have done an outstanding job in building the festival each year. Rick joked that the event was “The company party that got out of hand,” alluding to the fact that it started as a get-together for employees and customers of the Sellers’ two businesses, Keystone Gas and Southwest Petroleum.
Held at the Sellers’ ranch just north of Drumright, the day’s events are not just limited to music, even though there’s plenty of it throughout the day. At any given moment, you might see jugglers, skydivers, cowboys doing card tricks, and games for the children. You’ll also see classic cars, helicopters, and even a few people taking a dunk in one of the ponds that are on the Sellers’ property.
If you come to the Summer Oil Patch Festival, make sure you come hungry. Jamie Martin, who oversees the catering through his local restaurant, Joseph’s Fine Foods, estimated that his crew fed the 9,500 people that attended the 2011 show with 54 slabs of ribs, 26 briskets at 12-14 pounds each, 3,000 hamburgers, and 5,000 hot dogs. That’s not to mention the beans, potato salad, or the tabouly.
What is tabouly, you ask? Well, in Drumright, it’s one of the most popular dishes around. “It originated as a Lebanese side dish,” he says. “It’s made of parsley, tomatoes, wheat, lemon juice, and a little salt and pepper. Everybody has our own recipes for it. But, we think that we do a pretty good job at it. People from around the Drumright area don’t have a picnic without it. Tabouly.com—That’s the way we spell it for marketing reasons. It’s spelled many different ways. Some say that’s not how you spell it, but that’s how we do,” he tells Roughstock.com.
And yes, there is plenty of music. This year’s co-headliners, Ricochet and Shawna Russell, both have Oklahoma roots. Ricochet is celebrating their fifteenth year on the radio, and Russell’s star is quickly ascending. She does it all and does it well. She writes. She sings, and the lady can play a mean slide guitar, as well. The two acts were joined on the stage throughout the day by Red Dirt artist Bo Phillips, who is an annual crowd pleaser; Joplin, Missouri-based band LiveWire, and the Flat River Band from Nashville. Both bands dazzled attendees with their musicianship and harmonies.
The event is co-produced by Nashvillian Clif Doyal, who is responsible for booking the talent, and managing the stage throughout the day via The Clif Doyal Agency. He also handles the PR and media buys for the event through his sister company, CDA Promotions-Nashville. He wears a lot of hats, and wears them well.
And, did I mention that everything is free? That’s right. As the event is sponsored by Keystone Gas Corporation and Pacer Energy Marketing, the food, the beverages, and the music, is all free. How’s that for a Fourth of July celebration?
The Summer Oil Patch Festival has grown from an event of roughly 1,000 to 9,500 this year. It appears that the Sellers family and Doyal are onto a winning formula. Over the next four weeks on Roughstock.com we’ll take a look at some of the things that set this event apart, and also profile the artists who made the 2011 edition the best one yet. And, who knows, maybe by the time we’re done, you’ll be circling the date of July 4, 2012 on your calendar for next year. Stay tuned!