WELLINGTON — The bands performing at this year’s Kansas Wheat Festival will bring a diverse mix of dance pop, classic rock, British invasion classics and red dirt country songs about drinking beer and facing down memories.
A documentary film about The Beatles, playing at 2 p.m. July 10 at the Regent Theatre will precede the live music to be launched the following evening. At 7 p.m. July 11, Soul Injection will perform, followed by Annie Up at 9 p.m.
The three nights of concerts, brought by the Wellington Area Chamber of Commerce/Convention Visitors Bureau, will be set up on a stage in the 200 block of Washington Avenue in front of Memorial Auditorium facing south will also consist of street dances. Wheat Festival buttons, which can be purchased at the chamber of commerce office and all financial institutions in Wellington, are required at the dances and concerts. Festival goers are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs.
Soul Injection, comprised of young talent and musicians who have been around for decades, describes itself in an official biography as a “variety band specializing in good party music. We cover music from the classics to today’s top 40, from Santana to Marvin Gaye, Maroon 5 to Rick James and the Stone City Band.” Soul Injection won the Wichita River Festival’s Battle of the Bands in 2009.
Annie Up could also be called a variety band. How do you classify a group that plays everything from Bruno Mars to old Johnny Cash to ‘70s Earth, Wind and Fire?
"I’m fascinated by them,” said Mark Green, entertainment director for the Wheat Festival. “They really cross the board on what people like. That’s their niche. They can appease anyone on the genre spectrum.”
At 9 p.m. July 12, Ringer Star, a singer and drummer originally from Detroit, who looks like Ringo Starr, will perform. He will be backed by Across the Pond, a group of veteran musicians in their mid 50s to mid 60s who play strictly British rock/pop.
From there it’s covers by the pantheon of British rock bands: The Who, The Kinks, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin. They even do a Queen song.
Country music will be featured July 13 with Mark Brownlee Jr. and ATG at 6 p.m., The Jason Boyd Band at 7:30 p.m. and headliners Jason Boland and the Stragglers at 9 p.m.
Jason Boland and the Stragglers are the biggest band to perform at the festival. The band formed in 1998 when Boland and percussionist Brad Rice met, while attending Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Oklahoma. The band has recorded nine studio albums. Their latest, released last year, is called “Hard Times Are Relative.”