Musicians, bands and organizers are putting the finishing touches on preparations for the 85th annual Tri-State Music Festival.

Tri-State Director Debbie Lambert said the event, scheduled for Wednesday through Friday, is expected to bring in up to 8,000 students and 200 schools to show off their musical talents, marching and twirling.

While the music festival has seen dwindling numbers in recent years, Lambert said registrations for this year have seen a resurgence, and the appearance of some new schools.

 “There’s quite a few new entries,” Lambert said. She said new entries this year include bands from Ponca City, Stilwell, Stillwater and Weatherford.

Lambert attributed the resurgence in registrations to a new generation of school band directors who remember marching and playing at Tri-State.

“I think they’re kids who came to Tri-State before, and now they’re directors and they’re bringing their students to Tri-State,” Lambert said. “I think past history has just helped. A lot of those people who have come up from through the years have become directors and they want their kids to get the same experience.”

Lambert said that kind of connection to and support of Tri-State is crucial, as the event continues to compete with more spring school activities.

“There’s just a lot of other things going on now,” Lambert said. “There are several graduations going on at the same time and that hurts us. There’s a lot of state contests and proms and other events going on at the same time.”

Lambert said Tri-State always has been the first weekend in May, but schools used to let out later, meaning there was less end-of-year competition in past years.

She said the Tri-State board has considered moving the event up, “but, of course, then you have to contend with the weather.”

This year’s Tri-State starts Wednesday with voice, choral and instrumental performances at various locations throughout the city. The performances continue Thursday, including choir and orchestra performances. Concert bands will perform at Enid High School on Friday.

The Ottaway Carnival will be set up in the parking lot at Oakwood Mall during Tri-State.

 Tri-State culminates Friday with the parade on the downtown square at 6 p.m. and the Grand Concert at Central National Bank Center at 8 p.m. Both are held in conjunction with Main Street Enid’s First Friday events.

Lambert said Tri-State gives music-lovers a great opportunity to enjoy a wide variety of music.

“If people enjoy music, this gives them an opportunity to listen to a lot of concerts,” she said. “A lot of people like to come and just enjoy the music.

“Just come out and support the kids,” Lambert said. “That’s the main thing, and that’s why we’re here.”

For Tri-State schedules and locations visit

Story provided by:  Enid News & Eagle