Inaugural Born & Raised Music Festival Successfully Starts a New Red Dirt Family Tradition

It’s been a long couple years where we’ve all been separated from each other, and live shows have been few and far between. Artists who normally tour the same circuits and run into each other all across the country have been instead staying home working on albums and performing livestreams to get us through this big shutdown. The feelings of separation and isolation have really worn us all down. Now that there are safety protocols in place, vaccines available, and a tentative return to some kind of normal, it was high time we all got to reconnect with our music family.. so what did AEG do? Well they threw us all the BEST Red Dirt family reunion possible with their Born & Raised Music Festival sponsored by Patriot Auto Group and Cutwater Vodka Canned Cocktails!

Inaugural Born & Raised Music Festival Successfully Starts a New Red Dirt Family Tradition
Photo Credit: Aaron McCollum for <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">Country Music News Blog</a>

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Born & Raised brought us three days and nights of camping, partying, BBQ, and the best live performances from over 30 artists across multiple stages! If you missed the party, then you really missed out, but we’ll do our best to give you the rundown.

Main Stage Highlights
Hosted on the expansive Rocklahoma party grounds in Pryor, Oklahoma, the Big Sky Stage anchors all the action. It was an honor and a privilege to see ZZTop and Cody Jinks close out Saturday and Sunday respectively. ZZtop was a bucket-list moment, and I would be lying if I said I didn’t tear up during their tribute to Dusty whom they recently lost. The performance mixed nostalgia and excitement all together in a package that was wrapped in a hard-rockin bow and felt like a special gift to cap the family reunion for the day. Meanwhile Cody Jinks ripped through the stage like he had been born to it, commanding the crowd with every word and truly showing there is definitely still a place in country music for an outlaw to run the show.

In addition to the headliners, notable performances included Parker McCollum who is very quickly gaining ground in both the red dirt scene as an Oklahoma son, and in the mainstream country music community. His star will be an interesting one to watch for quite some time. Kaitlin Butts also brought an endearing and sassy performance that just lit up my day. For a full schedule of mainstage performances, visit our sister site, Country Music On Tour.

For a great review of the live performance from Oklahoma’s own Zach Bryan, check out our friends at Saving Country Music

Collaborations & Intimate Performances
What I expected when I pulled through the gates was a non-stop cycle of great artists gracing the stages throughout the day in a rotation that let me make the rounds one at a time. What I was surprised by was the private and intimate acoustic sets being delivered in the Red River Saloon where Jamie Lin Wilson played hostess to some collaborations that were once-in-a-lifetime moments. I had my heart absolutely melted in a show-stopping rendition of “One Night in Tulsa” by Kylie Frey, and watched an entire VIP tent explode on Saturday night when Jamie announced a special campfire-style storytellers session with Wade Bowen and Cody Jinks. That alone made every leg cramp and ounce of sunburn absolutely worth it!


Damn I love my job! @kyliefrenchfrey hit me right in the feels this weekend. ##bnrfest ##bornandraised

♬ One Night in Tulsa – Kylie Frey

Campground Shenanigans
Speaking of leg cramps and other wear and tear, let’s talk about those campgrounds! Now if you came and went from the festival each day, staying at home or a nearby hotel or AirBnB, more power to you. I’m sure the lines to get in each day were justified by the soft beds and hot showers. But you missed out on some really great bonding in the campgrounds. Now I’ve camped at Rocklahoma before, so I knew about the magic of that space, and while it was much quieter than ROK, y’all didn’t let me down. There were sites hosting parties, proposals, karaoke stages, and cookouts.

As I walked the grounds each night (hence the leg cramps) I met folks from as far as South Carolina and as close as a mile from the venue, and in a single conversation, found many friends for life. There’s something that happens when you draw people to live together over a shared love of something as passion-inciting as live music, and I wouldn’t be surprised to find these friendships growing stronger as the festival comes back year after year.

The Facility And Crew
Is there such a thing as an Emily Post school for Concert Etiquette? Because if so, you could tell that nearly EVERY member of the crew that put this event together from the management team right down to the security, vendors and barstaff graduated with flying colors. Short of one snippy security guy on a power trip, the entire crew seemed to be having as great of a time as the concert-goers, and went out of their way to make sure people had the best views, best food, and best time of their lives, in a safe and constantly entertaining environment.

Food vendors opened early and stayed open late each day, security pointed out options like the corral for better views and faster gates to get through, vendors offered bundled deals and quality merch… none of that cheap and chotchsky stuff… hell, even the porta-potties were spotless every time I needed one! The entire facility was a well-oiled machine designed to let you just enjoy yourself.


Can I go back already? ##bornandraised ##bnrfest ##reddirtcountry ##americanaquarium

♬ Man I’m Supposed To Be – American Aquarium

Plans For Next Year
It has been confirmed by the event organizers that plans are already in the works to bring the festival back in 2022, but there’s no word on who the acts will be. Since this year’s fest was actually a rescheduled event that was originally supposed to host artists like Hank Jr and Willie Nelson, I would love to see that lineup flesh out, but would honestly go again in a heartbeat even if the lineup was exactly the same as this year’s, and that seems to be the sentiment shared by everyone I’ve asked.

In Closing
It was impossible to see all the artists, but the buzz around each set actually works in those artists favors. If you missed a major moment, friends and fans in the crowd were sure to let you know with such passion that you immediately looked up the next show so you wouldn’t miss out next time. In case you’re kicking yourself for missing a particular artist, we’ve got you linked below to the tour date listings for as many of the performers as we could find so you won’t miss out next time.

All in all, there was never a dull moment, always someone amazing playing live right in front of you, great food, and the most amazing family of fans you could ask for.

Stock up your cup and save at! Save 5% and have your liquor and beer order delivered to your front door when you use promo code “WHISKEYCHICK5”!

Born & Raised Artist Tour Schedules:
Cody Jinks
ZZ Top
Robert Earl Keen
Pat Green
Parker McCollum
Blackberry Smoke
Stoney Larue
Jason Bolland and the Stragglers
Randy Rogers Band
American Aquarium
Cody Canada & the Departed
Jack Ingram
Paul Cauthen
Wade Bowen
Shane Smith and the Saints
Hayes Carll
Kolby Cooper
Flatland Calvary
Zach Bryan
Nikki Lane
Bri Bagwell
Kylie Frey
Holly Beth
Kaitlin Butts
Myron Elkins
Corey Kent
Pony Bradshaw
William Clark Green
Tim Montana
Jamie Lin Wilson
Jack Waters and the Unemployed

Can’t get enough of the play-by-play Born & Raised experience? Hop over to our friends at Surviving Rocklahoma and get Adam’s take on the weekend!

This post was originally written for and published at

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