Music rocked the route in Yukon

Some 2,300 people attend free music festival on Route 66

An estimated 2,300 people came to 2023's Rock the Route in downtown Yukon to watch music, let kids play games and eat good food. (Photo by Richard Stephens, Jr.)

By Richard Stephens, Jr.
Contributing Writer

Yukon’s Main Street (Route 66) closed off to vehicular traffic on Aug. 31 to encourage foot traffic – which worked – as 2,300 people filled two city blocks at the annual, free Rock the Route party.

Three energetic, talented music acts, a Rock’n Family Fun Ranch, 11 food trucks and beer tent satisfied attendees.

Yukon got a musical treat as Shane Smith and the Saints played country songs that tell stories at Rock the Route 2023. (Photo by Richard Stephens, Jr.)


First up was song writer, vocalist and guitar player Adara Kay, 24, from Lone Grove, Okla. Johnny Win, lead guitar; Ayden Curry, keyboards; Conner Dewitt, drummer; and Jett Humphrey, bass guitar, joined her on stage.

With a clear voice and Oklahoma slang and twang, she sang a variety of songs. She’s a woman with grit who encourages men to “Take a Chance on Me,” reflects on her small town with “Parking Lots” and describes tornados forming with “Wreck in the Morning Light.”

While waiting to go onstage, Kay described her band’s musical style as “…definitely more of a western grunge or alternative. We’re not just your typical red dirt country band.  We’re more of a southern rock and we throw our own spin on it…”

Being from a small town influences her song content.

“So, my song ‘Parking Lots’ is a huge representation of Lone Grove and how I grew up. My parents also graduated from the same high school…and so that parking lot has a lot of stories to tell.”

The Gannon Fremin & CCREV band brought a high energy red dirt country and rock sound to the street party. Fremin, 26, writes, sings and plays guitar. Travis Julian plays lead guitar, Wade Cartwright, bass guitar, and Tyler McCartney beats drums. CCREV stands for Cross County Revenue. Fremin, Cartwright and McCartney are from Walters, Okla. and went to high school together.

“We hope you’re ready for a night of red dirt rodeo,” Fremin announced before launching into “White Girl,” “Rose Tattoo” and other fan favorite songs.

It was hard to decide whether Fremin’s vocals, steady drum beats or lead guitar riffs drove the songs – theirs was a solid, up-tempo performance.

Before going on stage, I asked Fremin if the content of the songs, “Rose Tattoo,” “Me and Her” and “Always Around” were the result of his experiences.

A girl holds on to a mechanical bull in the Rock’n Family Fun Ranch during 2023’s Rock the Route on Main Street Yukon. (Photo by Richard Stephens, Jr.)

His answer: “So, all three of those songs weren’t about something that happened to me, but they were about stories that people told me… I’d rather just try to write about what they told me and then let them listen back to what it looks like from my point of view and see if they get any better feel of it or any better.”

And playing for a thousand people?

“It’s gonna be awesome. People from Yukon, they listen to music… every time you get to play in front of anybody in Yukon, it’s a blast.”

Headliners Shane Smith and The Saints completed the music sets with a unique, country sound that’s hard to classify.

7S Management company manages the band and their website states they blend “…key elements of Texas country, Americana, and Southern rock.”

Bennett Brown plays fiddle; Dustin Schaefer, lead guitar; Chase Satterwhite, bass; and Zach Stover, drums.  Smith writes, sings, and plays acoustic guitar.

Their well-played songs, sometimes using four-part harmony, included “Feather in the Wind,” “Hurricane,” “Mountain Girl,” “Hummingbird,” “Oklahoma City” and many more. Brown’s fiddling complemented the melodies.

The lyrics? Meaningful, often poetic stories.

Smith’s voice? On key, robust, baritone, earnest.

At 10:45 p.m., the Saints said goodnight and the lights turned off. But an enthusiastic group of 300 in the mosh pit chanted for an encore. They got four more songs, ending with wonderfully sung and moving “All I See Is You.”

“Then when I’m old and weathered; From the winds of a life that consumed; I pray to God the day I’ll find my deathbed; All I’ll see is you.”

The crowd requested a fantastic finale and got it.

The Gannon Fremin & CCREV band had a solid night performing hard hitting Red Dirt country songs at 2023’s Rock the Route music festival in downtown Yukon. (Photo by Richard Stephens, Jr.)
Adara Kay’s band played first at 2023’s Rock the Route in Yukon. She is the first female performer at the music fest. (Photo by Richard Stephens, Jr.)


The Rock’n Family Fun Ranch offered 12 activities: rock climbing, decal sticking on arms and face, carnival games, an inflatable Cliff Climber & Glide, mechanical bull riding and more.

Some Main Street storefronts were open for business, including: Marlee Rose Boutique, Urban Oak on 66, Vladislava’s Czech Bakery & Café, Grady’s 66 Pub, and Horseshoe Bar.

Food trucks served onion burgers, Greek gyros, tacos and drinks throughout the fest.

The rock-climbing wall in the Rock’n Family Fun Ranch was a big hit for children to test their climbing skills. (Photo by Richard Stephens, Jr.)

The street feat is made possible by YNB and 93.3 Jake FM who cover many expenses and by the City of Yukon who uses 100 administrators, police, Parks and Recreation personnel and firefighters to make it run smoothly.

The crowd? A good cross-section of young families, couples, high schoolers – people who like music, games and food.

Tim Burkhart, his wife, and young son came from Yukon for, “The food and the music. Games for my son.”

Jenna Roberson, the City of Yukon’s public information officer, explained Rock the Route’s purpose.

“We try to attract both families and red dirt fans,” Roberson said. “Every year we bring in top notch talent and we have a family fun area for everyone to enjoy.”

Rock the Route lived up to expectations again.