The Oklahoman

Group forgoes chartering bus for trip to blues festival

- Kimberly Burk

RENTIESVIL­LE — It’s difficult to social distance on a bus, so leaders of the Coltrane Group have decided to forgo the annual chartered trip to the Dusk Til Dawn Blues Festival and instead are asking enthusiast­s to make their own way to the Labor Day weekend outdoor festival.

Blues bassist Selby Minner, who holds the festival on family property at Rentiesvil­le, said the 31st annual event will take place on three outdoor stages.

“I would not be doing this if I did not think it was safe,” said Minner, who was married to the late Oklahoma blues legend D.C. Minner. “Musicians need to work, and we need to play.”

Minner said patrons will have their temperatur­es checked at the gate, and social distancing will be encouraged as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

Jessilyn Head, who co-founded the Coltrane Group with her husband, Andre Head, said the nonprofit organizati­on remains dedicated to its mission of preserving and revitalizi­ng the 13 remaining Black towns of Oklahoma. Andre Head died on Nov. 26.

For more informatio­n or to volunteer with the group, call 206-949-5012.

The festival is set from Friday through Sunday with 30 bands scheduled to perform. Admission is $18, but children are admitted free and are invited to take part in activities in the Kids Village.

Music will start at 5 p.m. each day, and people who arrive before dark and sign up to volunteer can get their ticket prices refunded after three hours of volunteer work, Minner said. For more informatio­n about the festival, call 918-855-0978.

Kimberly Burk is a publicist for coverage of Oklahoma's historic Black towns.

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