NORMAN — The sixth annual Norman Music Festival started off with a bang Thursday night as musicians and fans gathered in Downtown Norman to jam out to the sounds of local, national and international music.
NMF Chair Steven White said the free, three-day festival, featuring 68 performances Thursday night with an additional 246 performances today and Saturday, has something for everyone.
“We’ve got fun all over the place. It’s not just music, we’ve got all the kid stuff, we’ve got comedy tonight, movies tomorrow,” he said. “I think we’ve got something for everybody. Primarily if people like live music and people-watching this is the place to be.”
With nearly every genre represented during the festival — from country to R&B, Latin to rock ‘n’ roll — it’s no wonder the event has historically attracted well over 50,000 people to both indoor and outdoor performances. And with this year’s lineup, White said he’s hoping NMF is the biggest and best yet.
The Joy Formidable, a three-piece Welsh band formed in 2007, steps into this year’s headliner limelight 9:30 p.m. Saturday on the Main Stage.
Other headliners include JD McPherson 8:15 p.m. Saturday on the Sailor Jerry Stage, Big Sam’s Funky Nation 8 p.m. Saturday on the Main Stage, Jonathan Tyler & The Northern Lights 6:45 p.m. Saturday on the Sailor Jerry Stage, and King Khan & BBQ Show 6:30 p.m. on the Main Stage.
But NMF is made up of more than just the big names. Nobody knows that better than Richard “Daddy” Love with SongWriters Association of Norman (SWAN). The group, dedicated to supporting the development of local songwriters, has 25 members performing in this year’s festival.
“Norman Music Festival shows off something Norman has had hidden for years and it’s the musical talent,” Love said during a SWAN performance at Michelangelos Thursday. “Norman hasn’t had so much the industry or the venues in the past, and that’s changed a whole lot just in the last 10 years. We don’t have a lot of the things that are associated with music talent — but we’ve always had the talent. For as long as I can remember there’s been a lot of musical talent.”
Love performs with his band, Daddy Love Band, 1 p.m. Saturday on the Michelangelos Outdoors Stage.
Norman resident Dustin Phillips stood on the sidewalk Thursday night strumming his guitar. It’s his first time visiting NMF, but he had heard it was three days of free music and didn’t want to miss out on the fun.
“I came because I love music and music brings people together,” he said. “Music is the strongest thing in the world because all it is is vibrations through the air, and it can stir up so many emotions and take you from happy to sad in a split second.”