What to expect at the Norman Music Festival

Are you a music junkie? 

Are you looking for a new band to get behind and obsessively listen to? Do you adore the quaint downtown streets of Norman? Do you enjoy local restaurants, brews and art? 

If so, the Norman Music festival is the place for you.

A Groovy Festival

The Norman Music Festival (NMF) is an independent and free-to-the-public festival. It was founded in 2008 and has since grown from its one-day event status to span an entire two nights and one full day. The event also boasts the Dust Bowl Market, a space where local vendors and artisans come together to create.  Here shoppers can find unique trinkets, jewelry and decor.

“It’s the thing I look forward to for getting me through dead week and finals week,” said Katie Snyder, a local OKC metro college student. “I’ve been going since I was a senior in high school and it just gets better and better every year.”

Featuring 300 bands and over 20 venues (both indoor and outdoor) NMF provides fun for everyone, no matter their music taste—that is, all 80,000+ people that the festival brings in. Moreover, the festival brings in approximately 5 million dollars to the city of Norman.

Past head-lining bands include: Ra Ra Riot, Paper Bird, The Joy Formidable, JD McPerson and Bright Light Social Hour. This year, the headlining bands are Nikki Lane, Small Black and Cloud Nothings.  

The festival continues to be an outlet for many bands—local and non-local—all performing within city limits. Some of the venues include: The Sooner Theater, Guestroom Records, Sandalwood & Sage (indoor and outdoor), Wild Prairie Family Stage, Red Brick Bar, Bluebonnet Bar and Songwriter Alley Stage.  Of course, patrons can’t forget about NMF’s Main Stage! The Saturday night closing line-up for the Main Stage is as follows:

  • 3 p.m. – Traindodge
  • 4 p.m. – Woozy
  • 5 p.m. – Skating Polly
  • 6 p.m. – Nobunny
  • 7:15 p.m. – Open Mike Eagle
  • 8:30 p.m. – Small Black
  • 10 p.m. – Cloud Nothings

The Nitty Gritty

NMF asks that music enthusiasts do not bring the following items: outside alcohol, food and beverages (excluding water); fireworks, illegal substances of any kind; unauthorized vending; carts, large backpacks, tents (baby strollers and diaper bags excluded but are subject to search); glass materials including bottles and food jars; posters, banners, signs; pets. Also note that the open carrying of weapons—even legal ones—is strictly forbidden. Chairs will be allowed on the festival grounds until 6 p.m.

While the festival is free, individuals can get VIP Membership ($100) and become a Sustaining Base Member. The membership grants patrons VIP Access to the front of the Main Stage (Saturday only), a pass to the band hospitality area where individuals can share food and drink with the bands (Saturday only), a t-shirt, a lanyard and the joy of knowing their contribution has made a difference in the community.

The Norman Music Festival will take place April 21-23 in downtown Norman (Main Street in the Arts District). The festival is 100 percent volunteer operated and a nonprofit entity. Visit normanmusicfestival.com for the full list of venues and bands and for more information on VIP membership. Inquiries for accommodations for disabilities should email NMFPress@gmail.com.