By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
On Saturday, September 12, the second annual Hawstock Music Festival 2015 will take place from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. at an outdoor theater at First Christian Church of Oklahoma City, NW 36th and Walker.
This alfresco festival, held on the grounds of the iconic ”dome” church, will feature a diverse lineup of local musical artists, food trucks and kid’s activities.
The free event benefits Harding Fine Arts Academy, an Oklahoma City public charter high school.
Bands, musical groups and solo artists are scheduled to entertain, according to organizer Lance Lightner. “We’ve got two stages – one for acoustic performers – for everything from classical guitar to folk, indie, red-dirt, and rock and roll.”
Prior to last year’s inaugural Hawkstock festival, school volunteers worked hard to renovate the 3500 seat amphitheater, which was built in 1957. Previously, it had been the venue for outdoor church services and performances by the adjacent Jewel Box Theater.
With some help from local businesses, students, staff and parents rebuilt the stage area, cleaned up the concrete seating, repaired and painted weathered wooden seat backs, and cleared away years of overgrown brush and tree branches.
“We’ve enjoyed a great relationship with First Christian Church,” Lightner said. “They’re happy to have a useable outdoor theater again, and we’re pleased to have a place to hold a music fundraiser for a school that is near and dear to us.”
Rev. John Malget, Senior Minister for First Christian Church said, “This project was literally an answer to our prayers. It has been our hope to use the amphitheater for outdoor events, but we have never had the manpower to do the improvements.
“The amphitheater had fallen into disrepair in recent years. Students and administrators from Harding FAA made church leaders an offer they couldn’t refuse,” Malget added.
Lightner noted the Hawkstock name is a nod to the Woodstock festival of 1969. “Since the mascot for HFAA is the Firehawk, we decided Hawkstock would be a good fit.”
Now in its second year, the event will feature classical guitarist Edgar Cruz, rock band Think Like Ravens, dance/party musicians Urban Addiction, rock band The Happily Entitled, acoustic duo Bold McCoy, blues/rock/indie band The Part Time Savants, red dirt/Americana group the Broken Okies and acoustic/fok/indie group The Indigos.
There will also be student and faculty performers from the Academy of Contemporary Music at the University of Central Oklahoma.
Kids can decorate a graffiti wall or get creative with face painting. All participants can buy a henna tattoo or jam at an open mike stage.
Food trucks will offer a variety of refreshments, and HFAA students will host a concession area stocked with candy, chips, soft drinks and water.
New to this year’s event will be The Escape OKC Mobile unit. This live-action fun escape challenge has a set time limit, where groups can pay to be locked in a room filled with puzzles and riddles, and work to obtain a code that unlocks the door.
HFAA is a Title 1 school, with the majority of students living in poverty. HFFA was named one of the top ten high schools in Oklahoma by the state department of education. It is one of three Oklahoma City high schools to earn an A+ rating by the Oklahoma A+ Schools organization.
“We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished as a school, in the face of financial challenges and students who come from difficult family situations,” said HFAA Principal Barry Schmelzenbach
“Support of the local business and arts communities, a healthy dose of parent and student volunteers and a committed staff gives Oklahoma City students the best possible arts-integrated education and prepares them for college and the world,” Schmelzenbach stated.
Admission to Hawkstock is free, but donations are accepted. They will help fund the school’s music, arts, and academic programs. Guests are encouraged to bring seat cushions and blankets.
For more information, contact Linda Lightner at 405-702-4322 or visit Hawkstockfest.com.