Tyler Hopkins performing at July's highly-attended Red Brick Nights
Since its kickoff in May, Guthrie’s inaugural run of Red Brick Nights has proven to be not only popular, but also a meaningful outgrowth of and for the community. The gathering of live music, food trucks, and merchants, which happens every first Saturday of the month, echoes other events in the metro such as LIVE! on the Plaza and Exchange on Film Row. What sets it apart, though, is its focus on presenting music in a laid back, small town environment.
Located in downtown Guthrie and sponsored by the city itself, Red Brick Nights combines the bustle of a town square with a welcoming, almost familial air, and the music is a large contributor to that feeling.
Event organizer and Guthrie native Justin Fortney has smartly scouted bands that best blend Oklahoma’s friendly reputation and impressive talent. With half of its six planned installments in the books, the concert series has already seen memorable performances from Beau Jennings and the Tigers, Kyle Reid and the Low Swinging Chariots, and Sherree Chamberlain, to name a few.
“The bands have been phenomenal,” Fortney said in an email. “The audiences have been so attentive and gracious.”
Tomorrow’s event will be headlined by Travis Linville, a folk music veteran whom Fortney characterizes as “a musical legend in Oklahoma. So many great Oklahoma musicians are making high quality music now, and Travis’ fingerprints are all over so much of it.”
Linville will be supported by Massey, a folk rock act boasting “beautiful arrangements with lovely melody and harmony,” and Oklahoma Uprising, a band fronted by the town’s own “Woody Guthrie troubadour,” Joel Mosman.
Tomorrow’s music block begins at 7 pm, but there is plenty to do ahead of time to help settle in. Starting at 5, food trucks will offer a variety of meals, and a collection of pop-up shops and non-profit booths will be ready for browsing. Additional activities are planned for nearby spaces such as Tap Room 223 and Rick’s Fine Chocolates and Coffees.
Last month’s Red Brick Nights coincided with town’s 4th of July weekend celebration and saw a record turnout. Where that event happened at the intersection of Wentz and Oklahoma, with musicians performing in front of the town’s iconic Double Stop Fiddle Shop, August’s edition will be moved to 2nd and Harrison.
“It’ll have a little bit different vibe,” Fortney said, “but that’s the great thing about downtown Guthrie…there are so many spots aesthetically that lend themselves as backdrops to stuff.” He also describes the atmosphere as being “like a bunch of friends hanging out on someone’s very large front porch listening to music and spending time with friends.”
The “friend circle” of Red Brick Nights is a broad one. The city’s unique location sees folks coming in from Norman and Oklahoma City all the way to Stillwater. Because of the wide mix, it’s telling that the series still manages to feel like a close-knit community. Certainly the music plays a role in this, but there is also much to be said for Guthrie itself.
“It feels good to put roots down in a place like this,” Fortney said. “The architecture, the walkability, the miniature urban downtown…all that lends itself to me feeling like I’ve stumbled upon a special home.”
Red Brick Nights, then, is perhaps the biggest open house in the state, and it’s one that the organizers hope will welcome visitors for years to come.
This article was originally written for Cellar Door Music Group (cellardoormusicgroup.com). It is archived here with the publisher’s permission.
aka Jarvix, the Chief Executive Weirdo of Make Oklahoma Weirder. His out-of-the-box music coverage has been published by the Oklahoma Gazette, KOSU, and The Oklahoman among others. He also makes DIY music as a solo multi-instrumentalist live looper in his spare time.