Downtowners discuss Norman Music Fest plans; farm market hours


The Norman Music Festival returns next month, and organizers are looking to improve on past years, including sanitation, community involvement and ease of access to event information.

The state’s largest free festival takes over downtown Norman April 27-29. This year’s festival will feature more than 300 bands, with headliners including hardcore punk band Soul Glo, Illuminati Hotties, Black Belt Eagle Scout, and more.

Norman Music Festival organizers raise $260,000 annually in order to make the event happen. Shari Jackson, executive director of the Norman Music Alliance, which puts on the festival, said it generates more than $3.5 million in economic activity, benefiting mostly locally owned downtown businesses.

Jackson and other business and organization leaders, including Norman Farm Market manager Tara McClain, met Thursday afternoon at The Well to discuss upcoming events.

Jackson said festival organizers will send out information to downtown business owners in the next two weeks. In order to have the festival downtown, area business owners must agree to it.

“We’ll be passing all of that information out to you as soon as next week,” Jackson said. “We have to ask permission of all our neighbors downtown, and 75% of those need to say yes or we don’t get to have a festival.”

One concern expressed by downtown business owners in previous years was the significant accumulation of trash. Jackson said the alliance hired a private sanitation crew for $9,000. She hopes on Sunday, April 30, it looks like “no one was even there.”

Organizers also released a new NormanMusicFestival mobile app. Jackson said this app is significantly improved from the last version rolled out in 2019.

“Not only will we be listing all of the musicians but it’ll be searchable by day, venue, genre and stage,” Jackson said. “it’s integrated with Google Maps now, so if you tap on any band you want to see, it’s gonna give you walking directions right to the front of the stage.”

Norman Music Festival 2023 has three tiers of VIP ticket options available for purchase on their website. While the festival is free, Jackson said purchasing one of the VIP options is a way to support the festival.

The Front Row option for $100 allows access to the VIP area at the main stage and a festival sticker. For $200, the VIP adds a t-shirt and access to an exclusive VIP room at The Well, stocked with snacks from local restaurants, a complimentary bar, air conditioning, a phone charging station and indoor bathrooms. The $300 MVP Pass adds a parking space in the guarded parking lot at the Cleveland County Courthouse from 6 p.m. Friday April 28 to 6 a.m. Sunday April 30.

Each of the 300 bands will receive a minimum of $200 for their performance.

Some attendees may not be familiar with a portion or all of the bands playing the festival. To get acquainted with the lineup, Jackson urges those looking to attend to listen to the Norman Music Fest playlist available on Spotify.

Jackson said organizers are working on adding a tip jar feature for all the bands on the website.

“If you see a band or artist that you really like, you can tip the band an extra $5 or $10 for coming to play the festival,” Jackson said. “That’s another way you as the audience can support NMF and the musicians that make it happen.”

On the evening of April 27, street closures will begin.

The first street to close is Crawford Street between the Gray Street parking lot and what will be the alley stage behind Opolis and The Garage, Jackson said.

Friday April 28 at 8 a.m., the lot to the west of Sooner Theatre on Jones Avenue will close.

Main Street from the 100 west block to Porter Avenue will close at noon Friday.

More information on street closures will be available in the coming weeks.

Additional consideration for accessibility has been implemented for this year.

“We don’t want anyone setting up booths on the sidewalks or in front of storefronts, and this is primarily to make sure that our disabled friends in wheelchairs that need access and the ability to get to spaces can do that,” Jackson said.

To purchase VIP tickets or find out more about the festival, visit

Norman Farm Market Update

The Norman Farm Market will open every Saturday beginning next month.

The market will open from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. March 11 and March 18, and next month, Norman residents can shop from a selection of soaps, produce, nuts, honey, sweets, bread and other goods every Saturday beginning April 1, excluding Nov. 25, Dec. 23 and Dec. 30.

It currently runs every second and third Saturday of the month.

Tuesday market days also start in April and run through the end of July with hours from 4-7 p.m.

The Cleveland County Fairgrounds, the market’s previous location, had 80 vendors, said McClain, who took over leadership of the market in January.

“I have around 90 vendors and some are double stacking on different days,” she said. “I have a 30-person waitlist, so we have a lot of people who want to get in here.”

McClain said she expects a “fun, vibrant market,” with food trucks and live music.

The market is looking for music artists to perform for $200 on market days. Applications are found at



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