Musicians from all around Indiana — and one group from Chicago — are set to converge on Seymour.
The 22nd annual Bustock music festival, presented by Radio 96.3 WJAA, runs from Wednesday to July 23 at Southern Indiana Center for the Arts in Seymour.
Derick Howard of Columbus once again will play on the opening night of the festival, followed by Dicky James and The Blue Flames of West Terre Haute.
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Then Thursday, Jackson County natives Amy and Sean will perform before The Indiana Boys of Brown and Monroe counties take to the stage.
Friday features These Fine Gentlemen, whose members are from Jackson and Jennings counties, and Beggars Banquet, a Rolling Stones tribute band from Chicago.
Performers July 23 are Rusty Bladen of Madison, who has performed at every Bustock since its inception, and The Why Store of Muncie.
Music starts each day at 7:30 p.m. Admission is free.
People are invited to bring their children, friends, lawn chairs, blankets and coolers for four nights of “peace, fun, art and free live music,” said Robert Becker, owner and manager of Radio 96.3 WJAA.
“We try to bring in both local and regional music,” he said. “We always try to bring back some of the regulars and bring in some new music, as well.”
Becker said people like the outdoor atmosphere with the arts center stage in front of a barn.
“I think people enjoy the free music and enjoy a festival where they can bring their kids,” he said. “Everybody can share the music together. We’re a really family-friendly environment.”
Jackson County Special Olympics will raise funds through a cookout during the festival.
Also, the arts center will be open for tours one night. This month’s featured artist is local astrophotographer Forrest Willey.
Those participating in the upcoming Mr. Jackson County contest, a fundraiser for the arts center, also will be on hand to promote their individual fundraisers.
This will be the second year for These Fine Gentlemen to perform at Bustock. The band consists of Zack Killey, A.J. Stainbrook, Corey Sitterding, Zach Thompson, Mason Lauster and Quinten Tritle.
“Last year was an amazing year for Bustock,” Lauster said. “I myself had played with bands in the past, and just to be able to see how the crowd has grown from maybe 50 to 300-plus is so great for this community and local music. We were very well received last year and are looking forward to another great show this year.”
Since its inception, Bustock has been a great event for the community and local music, Lauster said.
“If you’ve never been to Bustock, I highly recommend to check it out,” he said. “It’s an event people attend with the main purpose of listening to and appreciating music. It is a free family-friendly music festival for all ages to attend, and there are always many different genres and styles of artists who perform.”
The band played its first show April 17, 2015, just a few months before Bustock. By the end of 2015, the group wrote and released a three-song EP, “Sweeter Times.”
These Fine Gentlemen recently was asked by PBS to perform on its weekly WTIU show, “The Weekly Special.” Lauster said a PBS crew will be at Bustock for the band’s behind-the-music profile.
On Sunday, the band will perform on the VIP stage at Klipsch Music Center in Noblesville before the Cheap Trick, Joan Jett and Heart concert.
By the end of the year, Lauster said the band will be close to performing 50 shows.
“One thing we really want to get out is how much we appreciate our fan base,” he said. “Our friends and family have showed us all so much love and support by coming to shows and spreading the word. We couldn’t ask for more. And I’d like to think our success thus far is due to such an awesome fan base.”
Lauster said he encourages people to check out all of the performers at Bustock.
“There aren’t many places around Jackson County where the youth can go to perform or watch local music anymore, so this event really gives them the chance to see what it’s all about and broaden their horizons a little bit,” he said. “The crowds just seem to get bigger and bigger every year, and more and more people are finding out about this awesome festival, which is so great.”
In the future, Lauster said he would like to see more truly local artists showcased at the festival.
“These Fine Gentlemen as a band is huge supporters of local music,” he said. “There are so many great artists in our community wanting and waiting to be heard that just don’t get the chance most of the time. Hopefully, we can see more of that in the future of the event.”
What: 22nd annual Bustock music festival
When: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday
Where: Southern Indiana Center for the Arts, 2001 N. Ewing St., Seymour
Admission: The shows are free, but Jackson County Special Olympics will raise funds through a cookout
Schedule: Wednesday, Derick Howard and Dicky James and The Blue Flames; Thursday, Amy and Sean and The Indiana Boys; Friday, These Fine Gentlemen and Beggars Banquet; July 23, Rusty Bladen and The Why Store