Monday 21 Apr

Dustin Prinz - Eleven

Few musicians take the time to master their instrument in the way that Oklahoma City singer-songwriter Dustin Prinz has; he’s a guitar virtuoso in every sense of the word, and Eleven gives him the chance to show just how far he can push that skill.
04/15/2014 | Comments 0

Horse Thief – Fear in Bliss

Listening to Horse Thief’s previous release — the haphazardly melodramatic Grow Deep, Grow Wild — felt like a chore. Whatever potential the Oklahoma City folk-pop act demonstrated on the EP was obscured behind a formulaic, contrived and ultimately hollow cloud. But it at least offered a glimmer of promise for a band consisting of, frankly, five pretty talented dudes. Critics saw it; the band’s management saw it; its current label, Bella Union, saw it; and its increasingly fervid fan base saw it.
04/08/2014 | Comments 0

Colourmusic — May You Marry Rich

There’s always a sense of danger when debuting songs in a live setting and playing them well. Without having heard the studio versions, expectations are set according to the live incarnations. But capturing the breadth of free-flowing atmosphere and sheer volume on a disc, vinyl or digital file isn’t the easiest thing to do, especially for a band as vociferous as Colourmusic.
04/01/2014 | Comments 0

Em and the MotherSuperiors — Churches into Theaters

As titles go, Churches into Theaters is an apt descriptor for the debut album from Oklahoma City rockers Em and the MotherSuperiors. It’s a reverential record, one that shares the gospel of classic rock, blues and soul but embraces the need to refashion it for modern times, channeling The Dead Weather, Grace Potter and Cage the Elephant along the way.
03/25/2014 | Comments 0

Rachel Brashear — Revolution

Rachel Brashear’s second EP, Revolution, starts with a kick to the shins.
03/18/2014 | Comments 0
Home · Articles · Music · Music · Tulsa time

Tulsa time

FreeTulsa! is making a name for itself during the hiatus of DFest.

Joshua Boydston July 27th, 2011

FreeTulsa! 2011 featuring Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey, Fiawna Forte, The Pretty Black Chains and more
Friday and Saturday
Blue Dome District, Tulsa

When Marc Matheos — owner of Tulsa’s Crystal Pistol Saloon — started planning a humble DFest after-party with neighbors Soundpony Bar last year, he didn’t ever anticipate it becoming the main event.

“The day we announced FreeTulsa! — this little production that was just going to happen in front of our place — was the same day DFest announced they were going on hiatus. It threw everyone for a loop,” Matheos said. “We had over 100

bands that had been planning to play DFest contact us in about 48 hours, asking to come play at our festival. We couldn’t bring ourselves to say no.”

FreeTulsa! went from eight or so bands playing in front of their establishments on a small stage with a simple PA to a multistage event with professional sound setups with personnel requirements.

“We had to get these pretty big stages, then get sound, lights and security detail involved. Our little free festival turned into something a lot bigger than that pretty quickly,” Matheos said. “Subsequently, it went from costing around $200 to produce to around $30,000. All of a sudden, FreeTulsa! wasn’t very free.”

The organizers scrambled to find sponsors to accommodate the then-massive production costs to little avail. They were producing an event with more than 100 bands all on their own.

“We conceptualized that festival and executed the whole thing within 60 days,” Matheos said, laughing. “Not much time to find sponsors.”

The festival resorted to charging $15 for two-day passes to help recover some of the costs, but the ironic price tag didn’t keep music fans away. Although a far cry from the average, 40,000-plus DFest drew each night, 3,000 people showed up, all armed with jokes about paying to attend FreeTulsa!, which showcased mostly Oklahoma acts like Johnny Polygon, Broncho, Native Lights and more.

“We got a lot of grief for that, we knew we would,” Matheos said, continuing. “But this year it is free. We knew if we knew we were going to use that name, we were going to have to find a way to make it free for everyone.”

The free festival has expanded, too, showcasing more than 175 bands on 15 stages.

For all the changes, the event is sticking with it’s local band motif; this year showcases Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey playing its latest project “The Race Riot Suite” a few blocks from where the Tulsa race riots took place, as well as indie rock acts Fiawna Forte (pictured above), The Electric Primadonnas and more.

FreeTulsa! may never fill the shoes that DFest left behind, but it’s definitely making its very own impression.

To signup for a free wristband, visit

Photo by Matt Carney

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