The History of OYSTER RIDGE MUSIC FESTIVAL


The Oyster Ridge Music Festival started as the brain child of Keith Chasteen a local Forest Service employee and a picker of some repute. He wanted to find a home for the newly created Wyoming State Flatpick Guitar championship. The holder of this title could represent Wyoming at the National Flatpick Guitar championships held each year in Winfield, Kansas. He approached the local Chamber of Commerce and the Music Festival was born. Held each year in Kemmerer's beautifully unique Triangle Park, the early festivals were centered on a number of music contests which included Fiddle, Mandolin, and Banjo, all built around the State Flatpick contest. Keith struggled to bring the young festival together but with the help of some friends like Robin Kessinger and others who brought some credibility from the world of serious pickin we have this remarkable festival. Now many years later the Festival is bigger and better than ever. Last year we had over five thousand people attend from all over the region, which for a small venue makes for an intimate festival. Everybody can stake out a blanket or a lawn chair with a cooler and there's plenty of room to dance. Or, just wander around munching on a Navaho Taco or corndog while quaffing one of the great microbrews purchased from the beer trailers. Visit with the small groups of pickers jammin in the park or fire up your own instrument and group-up for the famous "Band Scramble".
Anyway you slice it there's plenty to do from grandpa down to the kiddies. Check out the Tourist Info. section for the lowdown on off-site activities. We now have expanded from regional bands into bringing in talent from all over the country. We even had Grammy winners Terri Hendrix and Lloyd Maines grace the ORMF stage. In 2003 the Wyoming Flatpick Guitar Champion, Jeff Troxell went on the Nationals and won the U.S title. In 2004, ORMF was further entrenched in the festival universe when our winner of the Wyoming State Fingerpick contest, Keith Taylor, went on to win the National Fingerstyle Championship. 2005 saw the Festival receive the Governor's Art Award which recognized the extraordinary accomplishments of the Festival. ORMF is just the second music festival to receive the Governor's Award in its history. 2006 saw the Grammy and CMA winning Peasall Sisters from the soundtrack of the hit movie "Oh Brother Where Art Thou" leading a talent packed roster of some of the finest musicians in the country. In 2007 our budget expanded to include fly-ins. Now we don't have to rely on those who are routing tours through our area. If we find a band we want, then we fly them in for a stand alone performance. This has allowed us to get bands like America's favorite Cajun band L'Angelus from Louisiana, Trampled by Turtles from Minnesota and Red Wanting Blue from Columbus, Ohio. Also in 2007, in keeping with the Free aspect of the festival, we instituted Free Camping! In 2009, Royal Bliss graced our stage, and in 2011 Grammy winner Mountain Heart wowed the crowd with their amazing bluegrass melody. In 2012 Nicki Bluhm & The Gramblers took the stage along with Young Dubliners. 2016 is our 22nd year, and we are so excited to bring you this years line-up with Will Evans, Brothers Comatose and many other great bands!!! We are so stoked for this years line-up! That's a little bit about us. We are a coalition of non-profit organizations dedicated to providing some world class entertainment for those adventurous souls who wander down to our little corner of Wyoming.

Copyright 2016 - Oyster Ridge Music Festival