When I arrived at the airport in Tulsa, Okla., earlier this afternoon, I was almost immediately held hostage by an incredibly friendly elderly woman at the visitor's desk. All I had asked was if she'd seen anyone waiting to pickup panelists for this weekend's festival. She hadn't, but she did let me know about as many of her hometown's latest improvements as could possibly be crammed into 10 minutes of one-sided conversation. But she was such an earnest sweetheart, and so endearingly proud of her city that I couldn't bring myself to cut her off. When her desk phone suddenly rang, though, I knew it was my only chance to escape.
But I wasn't here to catch Dorothy and her little dog, too. I was in town for the 8th annual Dfest (short for Diversafest)—a mini SXSW of sorts, with over a dozen noteworthy national bands playing the big outdoor stages and hundreds of locals and up-and-comers taking over just about every bar and club in town that can handle live music. There are also a slew of industry panels (tomorrow I'll be participating in "Your Local Scene Sucks: How To Fix It," and something called "The Music Biz Is Not For You"—not exactly sure what that will entail, but hopefully I'll get to crush some eager kid's lifelong dreams).