Panels listed in order of appearance:

A Conversation with David Amram: Panel & Performance

Thursday, July 15th, 2021 | 10:45am CDT | Crystal Theater*

David Amram is a multi-instrumentalist , improvisational singer, ambassador and performer of Global Folk, Jazz, Latin, and Native American music. He received Lifetime Achievement Awards from Folk Alliance International, Farm Aid, The Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame, and the NewYork Chamber Music Festival.

He has collaborated with Bob Dylan, Pete Seeger, Odetta, Arlo Guthrie, Steve Earle, Judy Collins, Willie Nelson, Levon Helm, Jerry Jeff Walker, Floyd Red Crow Westerman, Jack Kerouac, Dizzy Gillespie, Sir James Galway, Arthur Miller and Tito Puente.

Amram has composed 100 classical works, the scores for Splendor in the Grass, and The Manchurian Candidate, and was by Leonard Bernstein chosen the first-ever composer-in-residence with the NY Philharmonic.

Amram’s 90th birthday is being celebrated for a year in concerts and festivals all over the world.

The Laura Nelson Project with Dr. Benjamin Bates

Friday, July 16th, 2021 | 10:30am CDT | Crystal Theater*

A graduate of Yale University, The University of Iowa, and Southern Illinois University – Carbondale, Dr. Ben Bates enjoyed a thirty-year career in post-secondary education. He was Chairman of the English Department at Langston University and served as Board Director for Oklahoma Humanities and the National Writing Project.

“The period from 1880 to 1930 is one of the darkest chapters in American History for its numbers of murders by lynching, and has come to be known as the Lynching Era. Acts of violence against blacks in the South rose dramatically in the years after the Civil War. Intimidation, beatings, and murder became normal occurrences during this period of time, where people of color were killed by hanging or other tortuous ways. The thousands who fell victim to unthinkable torture and death had done nothing to bring this fate upon themselves; it was a result of the entwined racism that was the mindset of many of the whites who lived in the South. In this time period, any small ‘act’ could bring a person of color to this fate.

In the case of Laura Nelson, it was May 2, 1911. Three men, under the eyes of Okfuskee County Deputy Sheriff George Loney, went to search the house of Laura Nelson. Laura and her husband Austin were suspected of having stolen a cow and butchered it. Austin Nelson admitted to the crime, as the meat was found in their possession during the search. Laura’s husband stated in regards to him steeling the cow, ‘he had nothing for his children to eat.'” (Serrato, Gabriela. “The Lynching Era: The Tragic Hanging of Laura and L. D. Nelson.” STMU History Media)

Collecting Woody with Barry Ollman

Friday, July 16th, 2021 | 11:00am CDT | Okemah History Center

Barry Ollman is a musician who for the last 35 years has also been a collector of rare letters & manuscripts of famous people. Having a life-long interest in those who speak for the voiceless & disadvantaged initially led him to Woody Guthrie. Since then Ollman has collected a major archive of Woody’s papers, letters & artworks. His archive also includes the works of Lead Belly, Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan & many others.

For the virtual WoodyFest 2020, Ollman will offer an illustrated presentation displaying a variety of highlights from his Woody Guthrie archive, including original correspondence, art, books, & related ephemera related to Woody & his circle. Ollman’s stories describing the hunt for these cultural treasures make for a fascinating & revealing presentation, one that brings new insights & understanding to the Woody Guthrie story.

Appalachia to Oklahoma, This Land is Home to Me with Tom Breiding

Friday, July 16, 2021 | 11:30am CDT | Crystal Theater*

Through music and narrative, Tom Breiding, a former Music Row staff writer, Immersion Coordinator at Wheeling University, and musical spokesperson for the United Mine Workers of America, shares his niche knowledge about the rise and fall of the coal, steel, and gas industries of Appalachia and their impacts on the local lands, culture, and environment.  With songs and photos Tom takes audience members on a virtual tour of Appalachia bringing them face to face with this ‘rich place with poor people,’ a region that built, fueled and protected America for more than a century but where exploitation and marginalization often distorts its place in the American landscape.

Joining Tom on the panel is Larry O’Dell, Director of Special Projects and Development at the Oklahoma Historical Society. The two panelists will draw parallels between the Oklahoma region and its Appalachian counterpart with an emphasis on the rich labor heritage of each. Specific labor events will include the Mid-Continent Refinery Strike and the Battle of Blair Mountain, which is celebrating its Centennial in West Virginia this September.

The visual component of “This Land is Home to Me” will introduce Tom and Larry’s audience to slurry dam waste sites, orange streams of acid mine drainage, pipeline excavation, fracking wells, and numerous other energy related images to highlight the ravishing effects of extraction processes on our local communities. Other images will offer a glimpse into the work of local non-profits working to mitigate the environmental damage and to bring solutions that are rooted in sustainability to our Appalachian and Oklahoma neighborhoods.

Saved by a Song with Mary Gauthier

Saturday, July 17th, 2021 | 10:00am CDT | Crystal Theater*

“With songwriting as powerful as hers, there’s no need to go looking for qualifiers. She’s a unique, intrinsically valuable musical voice. And there’s never a surplus of those.” — Randy Lewis, Los Angeles Times

The Associated Press named Mary Gauthier as one of the best songwriters of her generation. Her most recent release, 2018’s Rifles & Rosary Beads (a collection of songs co-written with wounded veterans) was nominated for a Grammy award for Best Folk Album, and Record of the Year by the Americana Music Association. The UK Americana Association named Mary International Artist of the Year, and Folk Alliance International named Record of the Year.

Her songs have been recorded by dozens of artists, including Jimmy Buffett, Boy George, Blake Shelton, Tim McGraw, Bettye Lavette, Mike Farris, Kathy Mattea, Bobby Bare, Amy Helm and Candi Staton and have appeared extensively in Film and Television, most recently on HBO TV’s Yellowstone.

Ellis Paul’s Songwriting Workshop presented by the Oklahoma Film + Music Office

Limited Availability | Registration Required | $40

Photo by Ali Hasbach

Saturday, July 17th, 2021 | 10:00am – 1:00pm CDT | BancFirst (across from Crystal Theater)

Songwriters and aspiring songwriters are invited to attend the 6th Annual Ellis Paul WoodyFest Songwriting Workshop! Over the past several years, Ellis has created learning tools to complement his teaching that he utilizes in his workshops. These instructional posters form a trilogy starting with the Song Idea Generator, moving to the Song Editing Wheel and finishing with Music Hall Performance.

Students who register in advance will receive one FREE 11×17 poster of their choice from the three mentioned above. After registering, you will receive an e-mail where you can make your poster selection. Students will also receive a voucher for 90-day access to Ellis’ TrueFire Channel.

Students should be a minimum 14 years of age and should bring a notebook and pen. Students are also encouraged to bring songs they may be working on! Here’s a snippet of a video of Ellis working with a student at the 2017 Songwriting Workshop.

Because of space constraints, this year’s workshop is limited to 20 participants. If not sold out, students can also register/pay at the door ($50).

Please e-mail any questions to

More Panels To Come!