One day - four bands - tons of fun - That’s what’s being promised by organizers of the “Classic Country & Rock Music Festival,” 3 p.m. - 1 a.m. Saturday, April 18, at the Golden Chain Theatre.
The festival will feature Chris Curtice & The Wild Horses (5:30 - 8 p.m.), The Bryan Vickers Band (8 p.m. - midnight), and dozens of California country music legends. The Wild Horses perform classic and contemporary country, and the Bryan Vickers three-piece band performs familiar sounds with a unique and modern edge.
The additional bands are the country group Brimstone, and from the Mountain Area, RockTherapy, a six-member classic rock group featuring Bill Samuelson on lead guitar, Jolinda Thomas vocals, Michael Davis guitar, Annette Lee on keyboard, Buzz Carre on Bass, and Don Telian on drums. The group plays hits from Journey, Boston, The Eagles, Led Zeppelin, Heart, and more. The band started in 2009 and has become a popular group in the Mountain Area.
Oakhurst businessman and long time Golden Chain Theatre supporter Rick Slayton is coordinating the entertainment for the festival, and says the festival will be the musical event of the year in the Mountain Area.
“I’m inspired to organize this festival because it’s an opportunity to bring back classic country music to our Mountain Area, and provide country and rock music fans a special 10-hour event,” Slayton said. “The festival will reunite many classic country musicians. and at the same time benefit the Golden Chain Theatre. All the bands and musicians are donating their talents for this event, and 100 % of the proceeds including ticket and food and beverage sales is going to the theatre. There are a limited amount of tickets and we expect festival to sell-out.”
Peter Clarke, president of the Golden Chain Theatre, is excited about the festival.
“The Golden Chain Theatre is proud to be hosting this fundraising concert,” Clarke said. “This remarkable and rare event will showcase and salute several generations of the valley’s best musicians. It will be a totally unique experience that music lovers will regret missing. Young and old alike will find themselves dancing to numbers by some of their favorite area musicians. This is a once-in-lifetime special occasion.”
Prior to the two featured bands, dozens of classic country legend musicians will open the event at 3 p.m., including Hughie Smith, Obie Noonkester, Cubbie Slayton, Carl Gardner, Lloyd Massey, Lonnie Vigil, Paul Dobbs, Jimmy Philips, Don Knioght, Wendle Miller, Chuck Hames, Tony Henderson, Shirley Custer, Wayne Hill, and Ed Shelton.
Fiddle and piano player Smith has been playing music since he was four. In the late 60s, he was a regular at the Blackboard nightclub in Bakersfield, has played on The Jimmy Thomason television show, and has played with Cousin Herb Hanson & the Trading Post Gang with fellow musician and Oakhurst resident Cubbie Slayton.
Now 82, Smith has been named the California State Fiddling champion in 1980, ‘83, and ‘89, and the Senior National Champion in 1994, ‘95, ‘96, and again in 2001.
Noonkester, started playing steel guitar when he was in the eighth grade. He moved to Coarsegold in 1972 with his wife Nancy. During his musical career, he was a member of the popular T Texas Tyler Band in the 1950s and has played with country legends Ray Price, Roger Miller, Johnny Russell, Cubbie Slayton, Dave Stogner, Bob Teague, Wayne Hill, Dave Jones, Chuck James, Huey Smith and Tony Henderson.
Noonkester fondly remembers playing at the now gone Snowline, Coarsegold Inn, Broken Bit, Old Barn, and just about every dance hall in the Central Valley. Noonkester and Cubbie Slayton were inducted into the Country and Western Swing Hall of Fame in 2004 and 2006 respectively, and they both continue to entertain audiences at various community events in recent years.
“These country legends are well-known in country music circles throughout Central California and beyond, and it’s amazing they are all coming together for this event in Oakhurst,” Rick Slayton said.
The Wild Horses is made up of Curtice, Jeff Bretz, Mary Briseno, Louis Fudale, Eve Scow, and Rick Wood.
Curtice, the recently retired public information officer for the Fresno County Sheriff’s Department, has been singing country for years. Following the Oakhurst event, the band will be playing for the Clovis Rodeo Dance on April 25.
After The Wild Horses, The Bryan Vickers Band takes the stage. The three-piece band plays familiar sounds with a unique and modern edge.
The three young men blend elements of rock, funk, blues, and soul with a modern feel. Quetzal Uriel Andrade’s exciting drum acrobatics and his older brother Quetzal Emanuel Andrad’s bass and keyboard provide the perfect backdrop for Vickers’ versatile guitar playing and bluesy rock vocals. The band will play an eclectic set of original songs and a choice selection of familiar covers.
The Andrad brothers obtained their music degrees from Fresno State. Uriel is the music director at Mendota High School and brother Emanuel is the music director at Mendota Middle School.
Masters of ceremonies for the event are District 5 Supervisor Tom Wheeler, Don Knight, and Peter Clarke.
A no host bar will be available during the festival, and barbecued tri-tip sandwiches will be sold for $5.
A limited number of tickets for the all-day event are $15 in advance or $20 at the door - $12 for seniors, children, and active military. Groups of 10 or more can purchase tickets for $10 per person.
“A group ticket for $10 per person is an incredible value for this event,” said Rick Slayton. “That’s a dollar and hour for what is going to be a great musical event right here in Oakhurst.”
Tickets are available at Oakhurst Giftworks (49027 Crane Valley Road (426), Oakhrust Feed & Pet Supply (40119 Enterprise Dr.), the Golden Chain theatre box office (42130 Highway 41), or online at goldenchaintheatre.org.