Turnpike Troubadours Itinerary
Follow this Turnpike Troubadours’ trail to some of Oklahoma’s most iconic music venues, folksy festivals and natural attractions. From intimate Stillwater venues to major shows in Tulsa, you’ll encounter prime places to hear Red Dirt music throughout the state.
Stop 1: Medicine Stone Music Festival
Created by the Turnpike Troubadours and Jason Boland, this annual Tahlequah festival features a hand-picked line-up of Red Dirt musicians across the region. For three days, music fans camp out in a scenic Tahlequah setting and enjoy music from both up-and-coming and established artists.
Stop 2: Ned's
Emblematic of the Turnpike Troubadours start in small bars and down-home venues, Ned’s in Tahlequah is a gathering place for cheap drinks, open mics and good times. This even hosts the Medicine Stone Music Festival pre-party, where you meet band members like R.C. Edwards, Hank Early and Kyle Nix.
Stop 3: Illinois River
The first line of the Turnpike Troubadours song “Long Hot Summer Days” references the Illinois River as a site of hardship and hard work. For most visitors, however, this Tahlequah gem draws forth relaxation and positive associations. A sure source of artistic inspiration for anyone who visits, the Illinois River offers 60 miles of glimmering water in the Oklahoma Ozark Hills. Whether you’re up for an adventurous float trip or to simply want to reflect in nature, this picturesque destination is a Tahlequah gem.
Stop 4: Cain's Ballroom
Cain’s Ballroom has served as an entertainment anchor in Tulsa since 1924. This legendary venue has welcomed thousands of musicians throughout the years, including the Turnpike Troubadours: The band has sold out multiple shows at this iconic music locale. Catch a show on any given night, and you’ll find a packed house jamming to a variety of genres.
Stop 5: Mercury Lounge Tulsa
Renovated from a gas station into a fully-equipped bar, Tulsa’s Mercury Lounge is a casual dive and music venue combined. The Turnpike Troubadours pay homage to this venue in “The Mercury,” where their reoccurring character Lorrie makes an appearance. Hear rising bands and newcomers before they catch their big break at this down-home destination.
Stop 6: The Strip
You’ll find some of Stillwater’s top nightlife venues on The Strip. Oklahoma State University students and visitors frequent this eclectic mix of bars, shops and restaurants, where live music echoes throughout the streets. In their early days, the Turnpike Troubadours could be found playing covers and original tunes in any number of bars on The Strip, including J.R. Murphy’s, The Copper Penny and Willie’s Saloon.
Stop 7: Tumbleweed Calf Fry
This annual calf fry brings out Red Dirt music lovers from near and far. Featuring multiple stages and entertainment acts, this famous Stillwater event seen thousands of visitors since 1991. In 2017, the Turnpike Troubadours highlighted the festival with a performance at the Tumbleweed Arena.
Stop 8: Bob Childers' Gypsy Cafe
A tribute to Bob Childers and Red Dirt music, this one-day event packs several Stillwater venues with Oklahoma singers and songwriters. Various members of the Turnpike Troubadours have graced Bob Childers’ Gypsy Café throughout the years, including Ryan Engleman and John Fullbright.
Stop 9: Woody Guthrie Folk Festival
Home to music legends Woody Guthrie, John Fullbright and Turnpike Troubadours front man Evan Felker, Okemah also hosts the annual Woody Guthrie Folk Festival. Held each spring, this festival offers music, plays, children's activities, poetry readings, craft vendors and more throughout the city.