By Michael Pineda
For a while, it appeared Mother Nature had the 2022 Rock the Route music festival on life support.
A steady rain transitioned into a downpour Thursday afternoon. By early evening, one parking area was closed and the opening act, Gannon Fremin and CCREV, was shelved. Rock the Route organizers and workers caught a break as the sun began shining down for Jack Ingram. By the time Muscadine Bloodline took the stage, a big crowd had materialized to make the event an overwhelming success.
Yukon Assistant to the City Manager Jason Beal said it was the most challenging Rock the Route in one way, but in other ways, it wasn’t.
“Everything went really smooth, we got everything set up,” he said. “All the city crews, I am so proud of them. They did a great job. The street got closed, the signs got up. The police, our fire, our parks and recreation, street department and sanitation, everything was really smooth.
“The biggest thing was the weather. All the crews around here were getting stuff set up, in the rain. And that way, as soon as we could make a call and had a good clear vision. What is the weather going to do? As soon as we could, we were ready to go.”
Nathan Cross, one of the organizers for the event, said the rain understandably played a factor throughout the day. Turns out, playing a guessing game with weather forecasts while setting up bands can be a challenge.
“Once it started raining was about the time we started loading the first band into soundcheck.” Cross said. “We kept plugging away all day long and finally got all the sound checks done and it seemed like the rain just kept coming harder. We finally had to make a decision and scratch the opening act just for the rain coming down still and try to get the last two acts in. Luckily the rain stopped, and we were able to get Jack and Muscadine Bloodline in.”
The festival gained momentum once Ingram, a Texas country music legend, hit the stage. Ingram shook off the rainy, overcast day with a high energy show, providing some musical therapy. Bloodline Muscadine followed and not only showed why they have created a big following but also making some true believers out of those not familiar with their music.
Earlier in the day, forecasts had indicated the rain would slow down throughout the day with a 10-20% chance of rain in the afternoon.
Those forecasts were wrong.
As the festival began to draw near, the steady rain turned into a downpour. The city announced on social media around 4:30 p.m. that Dickenson Park was closed to parking because it had become a muddy quagmire and shuttle service would not be available. A little later, the city followed up with a post that the opening act was canceled and Ingram would hit the stage at 7:30 p.m.
“Once the sun came out, the people started coming out in droves,” Cross said.
Beal said the cancelation of the opening act allowed for the stage to be cleared and crew was able to get all the hookups done without it raining. He praised everyone who pitched in to make the evening a success.
“It’s a whole team effort, from the support of the city council to the support of the city manager and then all the support of the city employees,” he said. “It literally takes every department, in some way to help. Whether it is marketing, set up, just all the logistics.”
City spokesperson Jenna Roberson said that despite the challenges – that included a Yukon and Oklahoma State football game – city residents showed up and showed out.
“The main feedback that I got, was that people were enjoying themselves, everyone seemed to be having a great time,” she said. “After the rain had cleared out, it was gorgeous. People were dancing in the streets. It really was a big block party.
“I’m really excited because is seemed to be our most responsive crowd. They really got into the show. Muscadine Bloodline brought a wonderful show. The only thing that could have gone better was the rain.”