Music for the soul: Oyster Ridge comes to town

© 2017-Kemmerer Gazette

The 23rd Oyster Ridge Music Festival was a success on July 28, 29 and 30. The music kicked off Friday afternoon with a performance by Robin Kessinger and his brother Dan. Robin played at the first ORMF in 1994, and on Friday the West Virginia native called Kemmerer his “home away from home.”

Dee Sargent was the emcee for the entire weekend. He encouraged the audience to donate to the raffle, auction or buy other ORMF merchandise to keep the festival free for many years to come.

Festivalgoers listened and danced to the sounds of bluegrass-rock band J Shogren Shanghai’d and Nashville-based band Bearheart, whose lead singer said that the band may never want to leave Wyoming’s beautiful summer weather behind.

On Friday evening The National Parks  got the audience dancing and singing along with their upbeat songs. Frontman Brady Parks even decided to sing their song “Sweetwater” because he saw the monument backstage dedicated to pioneers who settled the area. Rose’s Pawn Shop followed up with bluegrass tunes that had the crowd dancing in the cool grass.

Saturday morning performances included the Kessinger Brothers, Scriptkiddie and Bearheart. Saturday evening’s performance by The Way Down Wanderers, a band of dreadlocked Chicago natives, was a crowd favorite. The group’s acoustic version of “The Circle Won’t be Broken” was a big hit.

Saturday night was a show by Good Old War, probably the most widely-known band of the lineup, who graced the stage with great harmonies. The Young Wild closed out the packed Triangle Park Saturday night.The crowds were a little smaller on Sunday, but people still showed up for the bandscramble and the flatpick contests. Then the festival closed out with performances by the Kessinger Brothers, Libby Creek Original and The Coffis Brothers.

The weekend was one of great music, delicious food and drinks, and catching up with friends and family. We’re already excited for next year’s festival. For more festival photos, check out the photo gallery on the Gazette homepage.