Keeper of the Plans

Hank Williams Jr., Skynyrd coming to party at El Dorado Lake

Lynyrd Skynyrd will be one of the acts included in the Dam Music Festival at El Dorado Lake in July.
Lynyrd Skynyrd will be one of the acts included in the Dam Music Festival at El Dorado Lake in July. File photo

Two music festivals on two consecutive weekends? And both in the Wichita area?

Wichita is getting a lot more hip these days.

The first Dam Music Festival, the brainchild of local festival enthusiasts Ross Viner, Brent Hanson and C.J. Wilson, is set for July 28 and 29 at El Dorado Lake.

It has big-name country and rock acts coming, but it’s far from your typical music festival.

Think Fourth of July weekend at the lake, but with concerts and sponsored parties.

“The numbers at that lake get huge – 56,000 to 65,000 go to that lake over Fourth of July weekend,” Wilson said. “Our event will cap at 20,000 and ... if things continue the way they are, it will sell out.”

The three organizers, under the name Oasis Productions, have been planning the festival for three years and solidified most of the details last month.

After researching whether the Wichita market could handle a large-scale music festival, the group concluded it could. The lake and El Dorado proper – which stands to gain a decent amount of business at its restaurants and shops during the festival – have embraced the festival, Wilson said.

The festival will allow for camping and all sorts of beach parties during the day – while a DJ entertains. Then, at night, the bands will perform.

Two-day tickets to the festival (which do not include campsites) are $80. Most campsites are already taken, but there are tickets still available for the concerts, nightly afterparties and beach parties.

“We’re trying to do something more of a lake party, where people come out and they’re going to camp all day long and relax,” Wilson said. “The biggest thing has been turning this into a lake party. We want people to come out here and enjoy the lake just as much as they enjoy the concerts.”

Performers already announced include:

▪ Hank Williams Jr.

▪ Lynyrd Skynyrd

▪ Bobby Bones and the Raging Idiots

▪ Granger Smith featuring Earl Dibbles Jr.

▪ Casey Donahew

▪ Gretchen Wilson

▪ Logan Mize

▪ Craig Campbell

▪ Against the Grain

▪ Cady Groves

Wilson said festival organizers wanted to provide a top-notch lake party while keeping prices affordable. She said $80 isn’t so much for admission to every concert, beach party and lake party.

“I think this area wants this kind of event, but I don’t think we want something expensive. We’re a laid-back people – us girls want to catch some sun and the guys want to play on their boats and go fishing,” Wilson said. Tickets have sold well so far, she said, comparing it to “a Fourth of July weekend right now.”

Earlier this spring, Wichita Festivals announced the Wichita Vortex Music Festival, set for the first weekend of August in downtown Wichita – the week after the Dam Music Festival.

Wilson said she’s confident the Dam Music Festival will be around for a second year, considering the response she’s had so far.

“Many have tried to have music festivals in the area, and they didn’t come out the way they wanted it to,” she said. “We wanted a different kind of event.”

For more information about the music festival, visit www.dammusicfest.com or www.facebook.com/dammusicfestival.

Matt Riedl: 316-268-6660, @RiedlMatt

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