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.