Your Guide to Norman Music Festival 2022

After two years on the backburner, Norman Music Festival returns with three days of free music. With so many artists playing across outdoor stages and indoor venues, it can be tough to know exactly where to start. Here are some highlights to help jump-start your weekend.

Where to start

Playing the opening slot of a festival can be stressful. You spend time prepping your set, all while wondering if anyone will actually show up early to see you. If possible, show up early to catch some great bands. Don’t miss these gems playing early each day.

Rat F!nk – Alley Stage
Thursday @ 6pm
Laid back, occasionally lo-fi guitar driven indie pop. Also the producer for OKC artist Lincka, Rat F!nk feels like an ever evolving artist with an endless amount of potential for new sounds.

Lust Online – Alley Stage
Thursday @ 7 pm
Ultra-stylish dark dance quintet. Featuring gothy, atmospheric slow-burns with a hint of post-punk.

Desilu – Bluebonnet
Saturday @ 12 pm
Desilu are an eccentric art rock band from Austin, TX, adding a psychedelic feel to the mid-2000’s mix of distortion fueled avant-garde rock.

Wet Muscles – The Winston West Stage
Saturday @ 1 pm
Frontman Liam Hosty has a big name to live up to in Oklahoma. While Wet Muscles doesn’t have an official release yet, Liam has released some catchy tracks under his own name. Catch the possible future of Oklahoma music so you can say you were there from the start.

Local Legends

Oklahoma music takes on a wide variety of forms and sounds. Some bands have been writing, singing, and playing their way across the state for quite a while. While we like to focus on the new and upcoming, it’s important to recognize your roots.

Hosty – Bison Witches
Thursday @ 7 pm
Mike Hosty is a name that rings out in the discussion about influential Oklahoma artists. Hosty’s most notable song, “Oklahoma Breakdown” is just a starting point into his prolific career. If you heard Hosty from afar, you’d likely be surprised that it was one person making all that sound. The singer/drummer/guitarist/kazooist is a must to see if you’re a fan of red dirt, Oklahoma musicians, one-man-bands, or just good music.

Beau Jennings & the Tigers – Gray Street Stage
Friday @ 8:40 pm
Jennings has been all over the country writing songs, playing music, and producing films. These days he calls Norman home, but Jennings is never afraid to wander out and play to national audiences. Jennings plays a variety of styles, but is best known for his kicked-up Americana, bordering on alt-country. Get to know Beau better through his episode on the Press Play OK podcast.

Psychotic Reaction – Opolis Indoor Stage
Thursday @ 10 pm
Legends may not be the most appropriate to describe Psychotic Reaction. Anti-heroes might be more apt to describe this long running four-piece. Either way, these guys span Oklahoma’s alt, punk, psych, and noise rock scenes to create one hell of a show. They’ve been steadily releasing solid albums and putting on high energy shows for 15 years, and that doesn’t seem to be stopping anytime soon.

Rising Stars

It feels like a new wave of musicians have burst onto the scene in the last five years. Don’t miss these exciting artists who are bound to keep building on their success, and certain to put on a great show.

Stepmom – Fowler Automotive Main Stage
Saturday @ 4:30 pm
Orchestral dream punkers featuring thick vocal harmonies, cello, xylophone, and some really fun songwriting. Check out a preview from RSU Radio’s Chillout 2020.

Joy Again – Fowler Automotive Main Stage
Friday @ 8:30 pm
Quirky tunes with catchy hooks and some deep grooves for an indie rock outfit. This Philly band has caught on with their single “Looking Out For You”.

Charlotte Bumgarner – Opolis Indoor Stage
Saturday @ 4 pm
Bumgarner has been performing and writing songs since a young age. Many fans discovered her music she was still in high school, but that didn’t stop her from making a lasting impression. Self-described as “kinda quiet, kinda sad songs”, the emotion that comes through in Charlotte’s songs is powerful and real.

Kat Lock – Fowler Automotive Main Stage
Saturday @ 3:20 pm
As a multi-instrumentalist, singer/songwriter, and musical theatre enthusiast, Kat Lock puts a variety of influences into her compelling songwriting. Get to know her in her Press Play OK episode.

One Two Ten – Sooner Theatre
Friday @ 10 pm
A popular favorite amongst RSU Radio DJs, One Two Ten are one of those bands who have the swag and the sound to go places in the near future.

Rockers

Oklahoma has an occasionally insular but booming set of scenes under the umbrella of alternative music. Punk, emo, psych, and other genres driven by distorted guitars blast from stages across the festival.

Ben Quad – Alley Stage
Satuday @ 3:30 pm
Don’t listen to the (staged) beef with Cliffdiver, Ben Quad are rising stars in the world of emo and pop punk. Their sound features signature Midwest-emo-style guitar licks with big sing-along choruses.

The Fabulous Minx – Brewhouse
Saturday @ 11 pm
Local bad boys The Fabulous Minx are always a party. Put on your denim jacket and get ready to dance.

Helen Kelter Skelter – Alley Stage
Friday @ 9:50 pm
Seek shelter from the swelter caused by these psychedelic melters. Helen Kelter Skelter play psych rock like it should be.

The Big News – The Winston West Stage
Saturday @ 2 pm
To our knowledge, the only ska-punk band left in Oklahoma. These long running group brings a high energy party to their shows. Just be happy they’re not playing on a Monday.

Just Wanna Dance?

From synth-pop to house, there are plenty of sets that will keep you moving at NMF.

Student Film – Alley Stage
Friday @ 7:40 pm
If there was a list of overlooked Oklahoma bands, Student Film would be toward the top of that list. There seems to be a group of Oklahoma artists who have been a core part of the music scene since the mid-2000’s, but are somehow still left out of the discussion on impactful local music. Student Film formed in 2003, and has steadily played shows and released music since then. Their quirky dance-pop conjures flashes of Devo and 80’s new wave.

Heartwerk – Brewhouse
Saturday @ 12 am
Deep house and techno from an Oklahoma artist? Heartwerk’s DJ set is a must see for fans of electronic music.

S.Reidy – The Winston West Stage
Friday @ 9 pm
The best way to describe his musical style is that Reidy does whatever he wants. Known primarily as a rapper, S.Reidy brings a mixed bag of styles to each show.

Not What You’d Expect

NMF is unique in that it includes plenty of artists and performances that are out of the norm for what you’d expect to find at a music fest in Oklahoma.

Skating Polly: Ugly Pop screening and Skating Polly performance – Sooner Theatre
Thursday @ 7 pm
Skating Polly started playing in 2009, when the two key members were under 15-years old. Their 13 years of playing grungy riot grrrl has earned them accolades from the likes of Exene Cervenka and Rodney Bingenheimer. Skating Polly: Ugly Pop is a documentary covering their history and future.

Bugnog – Red Brick Bar
Friday @ 6 pm
If you think the name is out there, wait until you hear Bugnog live. This two-piece mixes a variety of heavy sounds to make something mathy, heavy, and really fun to watch. This is one of those band where the album is good, but the live experience is a different level. Think Sleep, but on Red Bull.

Endocrine Twins – Alley Stage
Friday @ 6:30 pm
Part dance party, part avant-garde freak out, Endocrine Twins are a duo creating out-there IDM bursting with color.

The Big Names

…you know, the ones with the largest font sizes.

…And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead – Alley Stage
Saturday @ 10:50 pm
Those who haven’t heard AYWKUBTTOD often misjudge the band’s sound by the name alone. This isn’t blackened death metal, it’s some of the defining sounds of college and alternative music in the late 90’s and early 00’s. With the release of their tenth studio album in 2020, Trail of Dead aren’t just a legacy band.

Fire In Little Africa Showcase – Gray Street Stage
Saturday @ 8 pm
FILA is one of the most important albums to come out of Tulsa in the past decade. Centered around the centennial of the Tulsa Race Massacre, this album isn’t just a recounting of the horrific past in Tulsa. It explores the impact that still lingers over the city, particularly around the intersection of Archer and Greenwood. Not to mention, it’s really good music from some great artists.

Fat Tony – The Winston West Stage
Friday @ 10 pm
Fat Tony is a rising star in the world of underground hip hop. Tony brings flashes of world influences, highlighting his Nigerian heritage alongside indie crossover and R&B influences.

The Drums – Fowler Automotive Main Stage
Saturday @ 9:50 pm
The festival’s top billed band is a return from the bill that got shut down by COVID-19. The Brooklyn based four-piece will perform their 2011 album Portamento in full, featuring their resurgent single “Money”. Get there early if you want to get a close look at the headlining performance.

Wet – Fowler Automotive Main Stage
Saturday @ 8:20
The Brooklyn takeover of the top billed spots wouldn’t be complete without mentioning Wet. This trio has been building a name for themselves since 2012, and has been called one of the “most promising bands in music”. They continue to deliver on that promise with a performance not to be missed.

Norman Music Festival is a free music event happening April 28th through 30th across downtown Norman, Oklahoma. You can find a full list of artists here.

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