Next week I head out to the second year of what will hopefully become a tradition for myself and my friends. We’re backing up my camper trailer and heading to Tahlequah, Oklahoma, for our second trip to Medicine Stone — a red dirt music festival.

Medicine Stone is like my version of Lollapalooza or Bonnaroo. The festival was created by red dirt greats Jason Boland & the Stragglers and Turnpike Troubadours. And it brings more greats back ever years.

Bands like Randy Rogers Band, American Aquarium, Cody Canada and the Departed and many more have become regulars to the festival. It’s awesome to get to spend three days filled with live music from all my favorite artists, but there’s another draw to Medicine Stone as well.

Live shows are a large way I find new music. I always try to make it for the opening act, and Medicine Stone is a great place to find up-and-comers in the red dirt and Texas country scenes.

This year offers newcomers Flatland Cavalry, Red Shahan and Charlie Stout, all of whom I’m anticipating great shows from. And they’re all different. One of the things that draws me to red dirt and Texas country is the diversity of sound — although it all has Americana roots. Jason Boland and his band stick to a traditional country sound, filled with fiddle, mandolin and steel guitar — with their own flair, of course — while Turnpike Troubadours have many songs rooted in a bluegrass sound. Other bands invoke everything from punk rock vibes to the blues, even jazz-style horns can be heard.

No matter the sound, the art is there. That’s what I truly love about it. The artists at Medicine Stone make music because they love to make music. They make music that says something, even if that message is just “have a good time.”

The week also serves as one last hurrah before cooler weather starts to set in the days become annoyingly short. There’s not much better than being on the road with friends — especially when that road ends in the outdoors, next to the river, with live music in the air.

We’ll spend the week living in my camper trailer in an open campground surrounded by stages, food vendors, other trailers and tents.

We may spend our days floating the river or simply sitting in camp and enjoying the day — although there is currently rain in the forecast.

One thing is for sure, we’ll enjoy the live music, a few beverages and time with friends.

— Chance Hoener is a staff writer for the Morning Sun. He can be emailed at choener@morningsun.net or follow him on Twitter @ReporterChance.