McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

October 2, 2013

Change is in the air for 2014 Tri-State

By Phyllis Zorn, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — Several changes are in the works for the spring Tri-State Music Festival.

Debbie Lambert, general manager of Tri-State Music Festival, said the leading change is that events historically held on Saturday will happen on Friday during the April 30-May 2 festival.

The Million Dollar Parade and the Grand Concert both took place on Saturday in years past.

This year, a 4 p.m. drum line competition will take place in David Allen Memorial Ballpark on May 2, then the parade will line up outside the ballpark.

After parading up Grand to Broadway, along Broadway to Independence, then south to Convention Hall, participants will prepare for the Grand Concert to be held right afterward at Convention Hall.

“We’re having too many conflicts,” Lambert said, “that way bands don’t have to drive back. They’ll be in town on Friday, and they can stay and march.”

State baseball and softball tournaments, as well as graduations and proms, have caused schedule conflicts with Saturday events in recent years, Lambert said. After 82 years, it’s time to adjust, she said.

“Times have to change,” Lambert said.

At the drum line contest, judges will listen to drummers play cadences and decide which band drum line wins.

Another new part of the spring festival will be slated for May 1.

“We’re going to have a garage band competition on Thursday evening,” Lambert said. “That’s for anybody in the area who has put a band together.”

As of now, the garage band contest is planned for the gazebo on the courthouse Square downtown, Lambert said. Players must be enrolled in an accredited school to compete.

“Anybody who’s interested needs to contact our office,” Lambert said.

The office phone number is 237-4964.

The schedule changes also will save Tri-State money because the organization can let judges go home on Friday instead of covering their meals and lodging that night, Lambert said.

Jerry Allen, chairman of the Tri-State board of directors, said the spring schedule changes will be better all around.

“This takes Tri-State up to a whole different level,” Allen said. “It attaches us to First Fridays with Main Street.”

“Plus, it will hopefully allow those bands to stay and play,” Lambert said.

Of the 50 or 60 bands that participated in Tri-State last year, only about 20 stayed for the Saturday parade, Lambert said.