If someone wanted to launch a festival that would draw music lovers from Tulsa and Oklahoma City, the midpoint would be Stroud.

Middle ground is going to become a staging ground.

The inaugural Tatanka Music Fest, a country music festival featuring some of the genre’s hottest young performers, will take place Sunday, June 30, at Tatanka Ranch, which is on 1,000 acres outside of Stroud. Tatanka Ranch is partnering with iHeartRadio on the festival.

The Tatanka Music Fest lineup includes Kane Brown, Dustin Lynch, Russell Dickerson, Lauren Alaina, Morgan Evans, Gone West and Vaudevylle. The common denominator is many have logged a No. 1 song.

“We put our heads together and put together an incredible lineup, literally the best you could possibly get,” Tatanka Ranch manager Tom Russell said.

Brown will break away from touring with Jason Aldean long enough to perform at Tatanka Ranch. Kane’s newest album, “Experiment,” debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart. He became the first male country artist since Tim McGraw in 1994 to debut at the top of the Billboard 200 Chart with a sophomore release.

“Kane Brown, when we started talking about the headliner, we zeroed in on him because the thought process behind this was let’s go kind of younger, let’s go current,” said Jon Phillips, area president of iHeartRadio.

“Not that there’s anything wrong with classic or Red Dirt, but we really wanted to capitalize on the two Twister stations’ audience and that was really more younger and really more female. There is no hotter artist today than Kane Brown with that segment of country music.”

If you haven’t yet heard of Gone West, you will, according to Phillips.

A quartet whose members are music industry veterans, Gone West’s most high-profile member is Grammy-winning pop artist Colbie Caillat. She formed a country band with fiance Justin Young, songwriting partner Jason Reeves and his wife, Nelly Joy. They released a new single (“What Could’ve Been”) this month.

In addition to the aforementioned artists, James Robert Webb and Holly Beth will perform inside the VIP lounge at the ranch.

The Tatanka Music Fest isn’t Tatanka Ranch’s first go-round as a music festival site. The Backwoods Music Festival was previously held there, but the Tatanka Music Fest is a separate venture and the flavor of music will be different.

Phillips said Oklahoma needs a good country festival. A Country Fever festival once was held north of Pryor, but it faded away and the more profitable Rocklahoma rose to prominence on the same site.

“They focused on the rock side, and it really left a void,” Phillips said.

Russell and Phillips indicated that they have been kicking around the idea for a country music festival for a couple of years. Now, it’s here.

“I’ve been working to develop Tatanka Ranch into a profitable kind of getaway place for many years,” Russell said. “We have kind of focused on weddings and we are doing really well there now and we have corporate events during the week. But I always thought that it would make a great music venue. It’s exactly halfway between Oklahoma City and Tulsa. I thought, man, if we could hit the right opportunity, this could be the perfect place.”

Said Phillips: “Tom is a great partner. The ranch is unbelievably beautiful and it’s a great facility. We are really excited.”

With the support of Braum’s, the festival will be family-friendly, according to Phillips. Because kids 10 and younger will be admitted free, a family won’t have to break the bank to attend the festival. He said a petting zoo, pony rides, acrobats on stilts, and OU and OSU sports mascots will be on the premises, along with a car show.

Tickets can be purchased at tatankamusicfest.com. Seating will come with VIP tickets, but Russell advised general admission attendees bring lawn chairs.

“We really want this to be an annual event,” Russell said. “We want it to grow and grow and grow over the years.”


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Jimmie Tramel 918-581-8389

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Jimmie is a pop culture and feature writer at the Tulsa World. A former Oklahoma sports writer of the year, he has written books about former Oklahoma football coach Barry Switzer and former Oklahoma State football coach Pat Jones. Phone: 918-581-8389