Great State: Newcomer to Western Oklahoma Organizes Unique Music Festival as Tribute

ERICK, OKLAHOMA — It can be a little difficult to follow someone with a unique vision, to see what he sees, and to stay on his track.

Donny Liles knows that.

But a year ago this former preacher turned promoter got the idea to hold a festival in his new favorite place on earth.

“When I moved out here from Nashville,” he says, “I just fell in love with western Oklahoma.”

“Just great people.”

So here’s his pitch.

Host a combined country music and Oklahoma grown Red Dirt music festival outside, and bull riding inside.

“That’s the buckin’ part,” smiles Donny.

“That’s why they call it the Buckin’ Wild Music Fest.”

The day before the festival we found crews setting up a huge stage, big enough to hold the whole town of Erick and maybe even people who live around Erick.

That’s the other ‘crazy’ thing about this festival, where to find fans when the latest census figures report no more than 25 people per square mile.

An early festival visitor asks, “Did anyone in this ever look at you and wonder what you were doing or look at you and kind of shake their head?”

“I have that often,” he chuckles.

Then he explains, “My mind just started thinking, ‘we need to have something in western Oklahoma so people can see what a great place it is. That’s really where it kind of came from.”

The stage will hold bands like Love and Theft, featuring Donny’s son Stephen Barker Liles.

Also on the bill are the Great Divide and the Red Dirt Rangers.

Donny brought in some chuckwagons for the campers.

It also doesn’t hurt that local businessman Brian Austin just finished building his Lost Creek Arena.

“Does this fit in with what you had in mind for this place?” asks a visitor.

“Oh yeah,” he replies. “Who doesn’t like a party? You know what I mean?”

Donny says he wants bands on the stage playing non-stop.

What he really wants is for this festival to take off.

He says, “I will know if it’s been a success when someone comes up and tells me this is their festival.”

For ticket information and a schedule for the Buckin’ Wild Music Fest. go to http://www.buckinwildmusicfest.com or to the Buckin Wild Music Fest on Facebook.

The festival is scheduled for July 18 and 19.