As part of the Oklahoma City Metropolitan Area, there are numerous things to do in and around the City of Norman. In fact, the historic downtown area features vintage and stylish shopping boutiques, quaint cafes, and arts and entertainment.
On top of that, downtown Norman is the location for one of the biggest festivals in the city: the Norman Music Festival. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, this event is the place to go to enjoy amazing music and an awesome atmosphere.
With so many activities and entertainment, though, it’s easy to miss things. In order to have the best experience, take a look at everything there is to know about the festival before you go.
About the Festival and Norman Music Alliance
In 2008, a group of people formed the nonprofit Norman Music Alliance and held the first Norman Music Festival. At the time, it was only a one-day event in Norman, Oklahoma.
Since then, the NMF has grown into a major event that spans three days. It generally starts on the third Thursday of April and ends on the following Saturday night. However, it might shift to a different weekend if it conflicts with other festivities.
UDPATE: NMF Soundchecks will take place throughout August 2021. The Norman Music Festival will take place April 28-30, 2022.
The NMF features performers across all genres of music. As a matter of fact, it involves more than 1,000 artists, musicians, and other performers. The festival has gotten so big that it brings about $4 million into Norman every year because it attracts over 100,000 spectators.
Despite that, it remains free to the public and continues to be produced by the Norman Music Alliance and its volunteers. It also exists because many businesses and individuals provide financial sponsorships, such as Firehouse Subs, Goodwill, Red Bull, Starbucks, and Whole Foods.
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Important Information to Know Before You Go
There’s nothing worse than showing up at a festival without being prepared. For example, knowing where to park is important so that you don’t spend too much of your free time looking for a spot. Let’s make sure that you’re prepared for the NMF.
Admission Is FREE
One thing that you don’t have to worry about at the NMF in Oklahoma is paying for admission. As an independent music festival, it’s completely free and open to anyone who wants to attend. For this reason, it’s one of the best events during the year.
VIP and MVP Status
The NMF wouldn’t be possible without financial sponsorships from businesses and individuals. Even if you aren’t a resident of the area, you can participate in making sure that the festival continues to remain free for everyone to enjoy.
You can get involved by purchasing a VIP or MVP pass, and you get some great perks with it. As of 2020, the VIP pass is $75 and comes with a T-shirt, poster, and front stage access. The MVP pass is $150 and comes with a T-shirt, poster, front stage access, food and drink in the lounge, access to an indoor bathroom, and a parking spot.
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What Not to Bring
In order to keep everyone who attends the NMF safe, security procedures and rules are in place. It’s essential for everyone to follow these rules so that the event remains fun.
Review the below list of items that you shouldn’t bring:
- Outside food, drinks or alcohol
- Illegal substances, explosives, or fireworks
- Unapproved, unauthorized, or unlicensed vending
- Tents, coolers, large backpacks, or carts
- Anything made out of glass
- Banners, tri-folds, posters, or any other large signs
Some vendors at the festival sell alcoholic beverages. You must be at least 21 years old and present a valid license or other identification to buy and drink them.
Additionally, electronic or motorized bicycles, scooters, and other personal vehicles aren’t allowed in the festival area. Wheelchairs are the only exception.
Chairs and Other Allowed Items
Although many things aren’t allowed at the NMF, the organizers and law enforcement allow reasonable items within the event area. For instance, you can bring chairs onto the grounds until 6 p.m. Then, you’ll need to put them away so that the organizers can prepare for the headline events.
If you have a disability or are traveling with someone who has a disability and requires a chair, the organizers are sensitive to those needs. You can contact them to make arrangements ahead of time.
Even though no outside food or drinks are allowed, the organizers make an exception for baby and toddler food. You can also bring your own bottled water and nonperishable items for the food drive.
Where to Park
The NMF is held in the center of the city and attracts thousands of attendees each night. For that reason, you might need to park a little ways from the downtown area and walk to the festival location.
When parking, make sure that you pay attention to the posted signs and use either city parking lots, private lots that sell parking, or legal street parking spots. If you want to avoid parking and walking to and from the event, consider using a ride-share service.
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Norman Music Festival Headliners and Spotify Playlist
With more than a dozen stages, the NMF has a full schedule of music playing all the time. Whether you want to hear alternative rock, country, punk, or indie rock, there’s a genre for everyone. You don’t have to choose just one stage either. You can move to different stages as you please.
In recent years, more than 350 bands have been on the stages in just three days. While many of the bands are local and national, some of them are international. You can check out the band lineup here.
In recent years, the festival has released an official Spotify playlist with songs from the headliners. You can check out some of these recent playlists for yourself:
- Norman Music Festival Playlist 2018
- Norman Music Festival Playlist 2019
- Norman Music Festival Playlist 2020
Festival Art Market and Food Vendors
There’s more to the Norman Music Festival than concerts and shows. The Art Market features handmade, one-of-kind items, such as home decor and jewelry. It’s located in the Benvenuti’s Restaurant parking lot.
As the number of bands and attendees have grown at the NMF, so has the number of food vendors. You’ll have the chance to sample amazing artisanal and local fare while you enjoy the music.
Presented by the Norman Lions Club, there’s a small carnival at the NMF as well. It features a Ferris wheel, games, and other activities and rides. The carnival is set up on the west side of the railroad tracks on Main Street.
Best Place to Stay for the Norman Music Festival
When you look for a hotel near the Norman Music Festival, Montford Inn is within walking distance. Our convenient location, hospitable staff, and wonderful amenities make us the best place to stay during the event.
On top of that, our bed-and-breakfast is in a convenient location for enjoying other Norman Oklahoma festivals and events, including the Norman Medieval Fair.