It’s back, and this year it will be bigger and better in so many ways, says Chuck Byrd of Platform Promotions. Byrd and his company are the team behind the successful Grub and Groove Festival that returns to Wichita on Sat., April 27 at Jabara Airport.
Last year this time Wichitans were pretty skeptical. They’d experienced years of cancelled concerts and had never seen anything this size in their own back yard. They were used to driving to OKC or KC for a good concert. Could this be true?
Byrd delivered, and with very few complaints, the festival went off smoothly. People enjoyed themselves and left to tell others what they missed. That’s exactly what Byrd hoped would happen and this year he’s expecting the crowd of Funk Feeling Fans to swell from 5,000 to possibly 8,000.
To accommodate this growth, the footprint of the festival area has been expanded and yes, there will be more porta potties. In fact there will be more of a lot of things, more food and product vendors and more great acts.
Programming wise, Byrd has added an MC for the evening, comedian Damon Willilams who does the “Seriously Ignorant” news on the Tom Joyner Morning Show. Addressing a complaint from last year, the event will open with a local act, soul singer Lady D.
All of the national acts are standouts and Byrd had something great to say about them all. However he projects the audience’s biggest surprise will the Gap Experience. No, Charlie Wilson won’t be with the group, but Byrd says the lead singer is a dead ringer for Wilson.
“I don’t know where they got this brother from, but he sounds like Charlie,” Byrd said.
Last year, Byrd held another Grub and Groove Festival in Kansas City just a few weeks ahead of the Wichita fest. However based on last year’s Wichita success, this year he’s thrown all of his eggs into the Wichita basket. The Kansas City show has gone away and he’s promoting the Wichita festival, and Wichita as a destination, in Kansas City, Oklahoma City and Tulsa. So in a move that’s great for Wichita, expect to see a lot of out of town faces at the concert.
Byrd has made a three-year commitment to Wichita and plans to return again next year with a bigger and better festival. Although he’s not ready to make the announcement, he says the festival will have a new home in 2017. In addition, expect a two-day festival and a more diverse event.