Switchyard Food Fest coming to Tulsa Nov. 30

Mark your calendars for an extraordinary culinary experience as the Switchyard Food Fest arrives at Tulsa’s B’nai Emunah Synagogue on Nov. 30 to celebrate the diversity and significance of food.

This event, co-hosted by The University of Tulsa’s Switchyard and Magic City Books, brings together James Beard Award-winning chefs and esteemed food writers dedicated to celebrating the diversity and significance of food.

Headliners for the event include:

  • Tom Colicchio, lead judge on Bravo’s “Top Chef”
  • Sean Sherman, 2023 Julia Child Award recipient
  • Jori Lewis, author of “Slaves for Peanuts”
  • Siddhartha Deb, PEN award-winning author and journalist whose recent work reflects on climate change, authoritarianism, and colonialism

“We’re thrilled to feature these important voices in the pages of Switchyard magazine, and we’re even happier to have them join us in person for the issue’s launch,” said editor Ted Genoways, who is a James Beard Award-winning food writer. “Tulsa is vibrant and diverse with a complicated history. It’s a perfect place to discuss the intersection of food, culture and history — and we’re especially proud to be partnering with Farm Aid and the Food and Environment Reporting Network, two major national organizations dedicated to these conversations.”

A 6 p.m. reception will feature music by singer/songwriter Blaine Bailey and tastings by Nico Albert, chef and founder of Burning Cedar Indigenous Foods, based on recipes from Sherman’s Beard Award-winning book, “The Sioux Chef Indigenous Kitchen.” The full event kicks off at 7 p.m.

 “People who come to the Switchyard Food Fest will get great food to sample and live music, but there will also be thoughtful conversation on some challenging and sometimes delicate subjects — food sovereignty, food justice and food policy,” Genoways said. “We want the event to be an upbeat, festive experience, but we also hope that attendees will leave feeling energized and excited about the role that food can play in building and healing their communities.”

Switchyard Food Fest tickets are on sale now at Eventbrite.com.

The University of Tulsa Switchyard comprises a literary magazine, festival and podcast. The spring 2023 Switchyard festival drew more than 100 speakers, performers, activists and journalists to highlight the topic of banned books in America. Plans are underway for another incredible festival May 7-12, 2024, in the Tulsa Arts District as the university seeks to provide educational and cultural enrichment to the city, state and region.

TU is proud to partner with Magic City Books, an independent bookstore owned by the Tulsa Literary Coalition, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation, located in the vibrant Tulsa Arts District.

Festival Information

Switchyard and the World of Bob Dylan 2023 are almost here! We’re excited to welcome you to downtown Tulsa for this six-day festival of music, art, and ideas.  The full Switchyard program includes 26 speakers, 14 bands, a special reception to launch the Switchyard magazine and Switchyard podcast, new art shows at 101 Archer, and after-party concerts every night. It promises to be a busy week and we want to make it as exciting, accessible, and engaging as possible.  This page provides a few useful pieces of information.

As a reminder, each track of Switchyard allows access to different events. If you have any questions about your track, you can ask a staffer on site or email us at switchyard@utulsa.edu.

Full Festival Pass: Admission to all events at Switchyard and the World of Bob Dylan, including five nights of music at the historic Cain’s Ballroom.

Ideas Track: Admission to all Switchyard keynote speakers and panel discussions from May 30-June 1, plus the closing session with Valeria Luiselli on June 4.

2023 World of Bob Dylan: Admission to all keynote speakers, panels, roundtables, art exhibitions and more that cover the life and career of Bob Dylan. From the afternoon of June 1-June 4.

Music Track: Admission to all music acts at the historic Cain’s Ballroom and the main conference venue.

Daily Music Pass: Single-day admission to music acts at Cain’s and the Horton Records Stage afterparty performance. 


The Hyatt Regency Tulsa Downtown

100 E. Second Street

·      Registration Table

·      Keynote Events

·      Panel Sessions

·      Horton Records Stage (After-Party Music and Bar)

·      Vendors

Cain’s Ballroom

423 N. Main Street

·      Headline Musical Acts

·      Doors at 7:00pm Tuesday-Saturday

101 East Archer (open Wednesday through Saturday from 12 to 5 p.m.)

·      “On the Inside” Exhibition

·      “Painting the Future” Exhibition (A Benefit for Children in Ukraine)

·      First Friday Art Crawl (June 2 from 6 to 9 p.m.)

Greenwood Cultural Center

322 North Greenwood Ave

·      Venue for Natasha Trethewey’s “Ground Truth” on June 1


The venues are all within walking distance of one another and we encourage you to get out and explore this lively city.  In the evening, we will provide shuttle service between the Hyatt and Cain’s from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. The Hyatt also has a free shuttle for guests subject to availability.


Once you’ve purchased your pass online, you can pick up a badge and a program at the registration table in the Upper Foyer at Hyatt starting at 11 a.m. on May 30.  Registration will be open until 7 p.m. each day and you’ll find friendly staffers eager to provide assistance.  If you arrive after the registration table closes, you can still find staff at Cain’s (easily identified by ribbons on their badges) who can get you into the evening concerts. 


Badges are required for admission to all events and must be clearly displayed.  Replacements are available for a fee at the registration desk.


This year, the Switchyard festival runs in partnership with the Black Wall Street Legacy Festival, which celebrates the history and future of the historic Greenwood district by spreading truth, inspiring hope, and extending tradition.  Natasha Trethewey’s reading on Thursday, June 1 at the Greenwood Cultural Center marks the anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre and is free to the entire city thanks to the sponsorship of Legacy Fest.


Light breakfast and coffee breaks will be provided to pass holders each day.  And please join us for the reception on Friday at 5 p.m. on the upper level to celebrate the new Switchyard Magazine and Switchyard Podcast.


You can find maps of the Hyatt conference rooms as well as the downtown area in the program and on our website.  If you need help finding a room or a suggestion for dinner, please just ask one of our staff. For a detailed listing of restaurants, galleries, bars, and coffee shops downtown, visit DowntownTulsa.com.


You’ll receive a glossy print program at check-in—guaranteed to be a collector’s item.  There will, however, always be last-minute changes and updates.  Please consult the website for the most up-to-date schedule.


Books will be for sale throughout the event thanks to Magic City Books, a locally-owned store with a retail location just down the street from 101 Archer.  So grab something from their table in the hotel or visit the store for a real treat.  Sales for the Trethewey event will be run by Fulton Street Books, another local bookstore and coffee shop that centers the stories of people of color and marginalized communities.  


Your badge entitles you to discounted admission prices at both places—located almost exactly halfway between the Hyatt and Cain’s on Reconciliation Way.


We are here to help! Staff will be available at the registration table throughout the day and at Cain’s when the concert begins in the evening. They are wearing ribbons on their badges.  Feel free to raise questions or concerns and we’ll do all we can to help.  You can also email switchyard@utulsa.edu or call us at 918-631-4419.

Music Announcement: Larry Campbell & Teresa Williams and Robbie Fulks Perform June 3

Photographed by Gregg Roth

Multi-instrumentalist, singer-songwriter LARRY CAMPBELL and singer-guitarist TERESA WILLIAMS will take the stage at Cain’s Ballroom on Saturday, June 3. They had an acclaimed eponymous 2015 debut, released after seven years of playing in Levon Helm’s band – and frequent guesting with Phil Lesh, Little Feat, Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady, brought to the stage the crackling creative energy of a decades-long offstage union. A whirlwind of touring and promo followed, and when the dust cleared, the duo was ready to do it all again. Which brings us to Contraband Love, a riskier slice of Americana.

Their new album Contraband Love stands as a new, bolder chapter in a story that arose triumphantly joyous from loss. Although it was not his conscious intent, three of the eight tunes Campbell penned for Contraband Love deal either obliquely or directly with various emotions surrounding addiction. Musically, Contraband Love revisits the Americana textures of the duo’s debut, deftly channeling Memphis, Chicago, the Delta, and Appalachia with equal assurance. Larry’s world-famous guitar work – scorching here, funky there, stellar always – punctuates the proceedings with riveting emotion, often like a third voice weighing in on a myriad of emotional states.

Campbell is perhaps best known for his time as part of Bob Dylan’s Never Ending Tour band from 1997 to 2004. He also has extensive experience as a studio musician, having recorded with Levon Helm, Judy Collins, Sheryl Crow, and Paul Simon, just to name a few. The duo spent seven years of playing in Levon Helm’s band – and frequently guested with Phil Lesh, Little Feat, Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady.

ROBBIE FULKS is a singer, recording artist, instrumentalist, composer, and songwriter. His current release, Bluegrass Vacation on Compass Records, returns him to his bluegrass roots, with a large group of masterful musicians including Sam Bush, Jerry Douglas, Justin Moses, Ronnie McCoury, Alison Brown, David Grier, Tim O’Brien, Todd Phillips, John Cowan, Brennen Leigh, Randy Kohrs, Sierra Hull, Stuart Duncan, Shad Cobb, and Chris Eldridge. Across 11 new original songs (and one freewheeling interpretation of the Delmore Brothers), Robbie covers themes like small-town blues, the endurance of childhood memory, inebriation, love, divorce, the role of music in strengthening family bonds, losing a loved one to Alzheimer’s, and bluegrass itself.

His most recent release, 2017’s Upland Stories, earned year’s-best recognition from NPR and Rolling Stone among many others, as well as two Grammy® nominations, for folk album and American roots song (“Alabama At Night”).

His early solo work — Country Love Songs (1996) and South Mouth (1997) — helped define the “alternative country” movement of the 1990s. For most of the present century, Robbie has been playing acoustic music through microphones, which lets him give more attention to his flatpicking and banjo playing, and complements his more sepia-toned subject matter — the slings of time, the troubles of common people. His repertory of traveling players includes folks like Shad Cobb, Missy Raines, Robbie Gjersoe, Jenny Scheinman, Matt Flinner, Don Stiernberg, and Jesse Cobb. However, two non-acoustic recent side projects are his 2018 duo record with Linda Gail Lewis, Wild! Wild! Wild!, an NPR favorite which leans to rock-and-roll and classic country-and-western, and his double-vinyl reinterpretation of the Bob Dylan record Street-Legal, which is titled 16, is musically unbounded and is no one’s favorite.

Photographed by Phil Clarkin

The PAUL BENJAMIN BAND will take the Horton Records Stage at the Hyatt Regency Tulsa during the afterparty. Groove-based tunes with more than a nod to the elusive Tulsa Sound and other forms of American music. Signature guitar licks apply a vintage hue that is both nostalgic and fresh, with a strong dose of guitar power.  Totally Tulsa. Recommended if you like JJ Cale, Wilco or Warren Haynes.

Register now to join us for this performance as well as dozens of other sessions featuring keynotes, artist conversations, roundtable discussions, and much more. Switchyard will be held at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Tulsa, which has made a special rate available for festival attendees.

Music Announcement: John Fullbright Performs June 2

Photographed by Vicki Farmer

JOHN FULLBRIGHT will take the stage at Cain’s Ballroom on Friday, June 2. Born in Okemah, Fullbright began playing the piano when he was five. He had his debut performance at the Woody Guthrie Folk Festival and got his start in the Turnpike Troubadours. His first studio album, From the Ground Up, received a Grammy nomination in 2013 for Best Americana Album. His second album, Songs, released in May 2014 to critical acclaim.

The public at-large hasn’t heard much from him since the critically lauded Songs, a chasm of eight years that seemed unthinkable for someone with so much hype – including a Grammy nod, an American Music Association Emerging Artist nomination and awards from ASCAP and the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame – surrounding his early career. After an eight year gap, he released The Liar. He recorded the album, an exploration of the highs and lows of emotion, the good times and the aftermath, with the band of “usual suspects,” all of them key players in Tulsa’s vibrant music community.

“Fullbright synthesizes the best songcraft from his home state — [Jimmy] Webb, Leon Russell and, by default, Merle Haggard.… He’s got a tune called “Forgotten Flowers,” a thoughtful country lament, that Tom Waits and Randy Newman could fight over.”— Thomas Conner, Chicago Sun-Times. He now lives in Tulsa and tours the country.

Photographed by Phil Clarkin

Join us for the afterparty at the Hyatt. SETH LEE JONES will take the Horton Records Stage in the Promenade Ballroom. Tulsa slide guitar wizard and master luthier, Seth Lee Jones, delivers a collection rocking, road-tested blues that crackle with energy.  Guitar World called Jones the most ear-catching, head-turning roots blues guitarist since Derek Trucks.    Recommended if you like Sonny Landreth, Robin Trower or Derek Trucks.

Register now to join us for this performance as well as dozens of other sessions featuring keynotes, artist conversations, roundtable discussions, and much more. Switchyard will be held at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Tulsa, which has made a special rate available for festival attendees.

Music Announcement: Rodney Crowell Performs June 1 with Opening Act Rob Ickes & Trey Hensley

Photographed by Austin Lord

RODNEY CROWELL needs no introduction. He is the songwriter’s songwriter and an icon among giants. Native Texan, Crowell is a multi-Grammy Award-winning troubadour with fifteen number one hits. Over the course of his career, Crowell has gracefully blended his own mainstream success as an artist with a prolific catalog of songs cut by the likes of Emmylou Harris, Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Keith Urban and more, making him a master among his peers.

With more than 40 years of American roots music under his belt, Crowell has also been cited as the architect of Americana music, extending his genre reach, but owing to the distinctly universal, literary quality of his writing, he has also penned beloved songs for artists as diverse as Bob Seger, Etta James, the Grateful Dead, John Denver, Jimmy Buffett and countless others. He is the artist behind RIAA gold-certified Diamonds and Dirt, which has 5 singles that reached number one on the Billboard country charts. Crowell has won two Grammy Awards and multiple Americana Music Honors and Awards.

A member of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, Crowell is also the author of the acclaimed memoir, Chinaberry Sidewalks, and teamed up with New York Times best-selling author Mary Karr for Kin: Songs by Mary Karr & Rodney Crowell in 2012, with Karr saying of her collaborator, “Like Hank Williams or Townes Van Zandt or Miss Lucinda, he writes and croons with a poet’s economy and a well digger’s deep heart.” Crowell was honored with ASCAP’s prestigious Founder’s Award in 2017, and that same year released the album Close Ties, which spawned another Grammy nomination for “It Ain’t Over Yet” with Rosanne Cash and John Paul White in the category of Best Americana Song. 2019’s Texas was a collection of Lone Star-centric collaborations with Ringo Starr, Willie Nelson, Ronnie Dunn, Steve Earle and more, and Crowell’s most recent album release is the 2021 set, Triage.

Photographed by Jeff Fasano

Take a 15-time IBMA (International Bluegrass Music Association) Dobro Player of the Year and a Tennessee-born guitar prodigy called “Nashville’s hottest young player” by Acoustic Guitar magazine, and you have ROB ICKES and TREY HENSLEY, a powerhouse acoustic duo that has electrified the acoustic music scene around the world. Known for their white-hot picking and world class musicianship, as well as their soulful stone country vocals, the GRAMMY® nominated duo cleverly and uniquely melds bluegrass, country, blues, rock, jamgrass, and string band music of all kinds to create a signature blend of music that defies restrictions of genre. NPR has called Ickes and Hensley “two musical phenoms”; Vintage Guitar raved they’re an “acoustic firestorm” who “are changing the rules”; Acoustic Guitar describes their sound as “steel-string bluegrass with all the intensity of rock ‘n’ roll” and No Depression observed they’re “two of the finest musicians playing today.”

Photographed by Jamie Tovar

JACOB TOVAR will play at the Hyatt Regency Tulsa’s Promenade Ballroom for the afterparty. A man from a different time, a different era.  With a gentleman’s handshake, a booming voice, a contagious smile, and a quick wit, this Tulsa, OK performer effortlessly connects with all walks of life through his sincere songs of roots, folk, Americana, and old school country.  Recommended if you like Ernest Tubb, Jamey Johnson or Chris Stapleton.

Register now to join us for this performance as well as dozens of other sessions featuring keynotes, artist conversations, roundtable discussions, and much more. Switchyard will be held at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Tulsa, which has made a special rate available for festival attendees.

Music Announcement: Jeff Slate & Friends (with special guests) Performs May 31

Photographed by Bob Gruen

JEFF SLATE & FRIENDS are the premiere New York City band performing shows that combine sets honoring the legends of Classic Rock with original music inspired by those artists.

For over a decade, Jeff Slate & Friends have played to sold out crowds paying tribute to artists like John Lennon, David Bowie and more, played by musicians who have worked with artists as diverse as Pete Townshend, Ozzy Osbourne and Mott the Hoople. The band’s Weekend Wilburys show – honoring the music of Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, George Harrison, Jeff Lynne’s ELO and Roy Orbison – has wowed crowds across the country.

Bandleader Jeff Slate, who came up in the 1980s post-punk scene, and made his name working with his band The Badge and The Who’s Pete Townshend in the 1990s and 00s, is a world-class frontman and songwriter. He has appeared on stage and worked with music legends like Townshend, Jeff Tweedy and Sheryl Crow, and his music has appeared in advertising and films, and on television, including in the hit show Gossip Girl.

Jeff appeared at the University of Tulsa’s inaugural World of Bob Dylan conference in 2019, where he interviewed The Byrds’ Roger McGuinn live on stage and performed with the legend. His writing can be found in The New Yorker, Esquire, the Wall Street Journal, where last year he interviewed Bob Dylan, and Rolling Stone, among others.

Jeff is also a regular guest host on SiriusXM, is the co-author of the 2017 book The Authorized Roy Orbison, with the late-legend’s sons, and has written liner notes for albums by Orbison, The Beatles, Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones and Jimi Hendrix, among many others.

Jeff’s fourth solo album, The Last Day of Summer, featuring Dave Stewart, Duff McKagan, Earl Slick and members of Paul Weller’s band and Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, is due out later this year.

Photographed by Phil Clarkin

Join us for the afterparty at the Horton Records Stage at the Hyatt. SAUGEYE is the collaborative project of veteran Tulsa musicians Jared Tyler, Seth Lee Jones, Jake Lynn and Casey Van Beek. The band is named after avid fisherman and frontman Tyler’s favorite catch, a hybrid cross of the sauger and walleye. Fittingly, Saugeye’s sound is its own special mix of hybrid roots music: folk, blues, country and rock blending seamlessly from tune to tune.  Recommended if you like:  Amos Lee, John Fullbright or Malcolm Holcombe.

Register now to join us for this performance as well as dozens of other sessions featuring keynotes, artist conversations, roundtable discussions, and much more. Switchyard will be held at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Tulsa, which has made a special rate available for festival attendees.

Music Announcement: Willi Carlisle and Jaimee Harris Perform May 30

WILLI CARLISLE is a poet and a folk singer for the people, but his extraordinary gift for turning a phrase isn’t about high falutin’ pontificatin’; it’s about looking out for one another and connecting through our shared human condition. Born and raised on the Midwestern plains, Carlisle is a product of the punk to folk music pipeline that’s long fueled frustrated young men looking to resist. After falling for the rich ballads and tunes of the Ozarks, where he now lives, he began examining the full spectrum of American musical history. This insatiable stylistic diversity is obvious in his wildly raucous live performances, where songs range from sardonic trucker-ballads like “Vanlife” to the heartbreaking queer waltz “Life on the Fence,” to an existential talkin’ blues about a panic attack in Walmart’s aisle five. With guitar, fiddle, button-box, banjo, harmonicas, rhythm-bones, and Willi’s booming baritone, this is bonafide populist folk music in the tradition of cowboys, frontier fiddlers, and tall-tale tellers. Carlisle recognizes that the only thing holding us back from greatness is each other. With a quick wit and big sing-alongs, these folksongs bring us a step closer to breaking down our divides. His latest album Peculiar, Missouri captures Carlisle’s impressive range as a songwriter and musician.

Photographed by Brandon Aguilar

JAIMEE HARRIS‘s sophomore effort Boomerang Town marks a bold step forward for this country-folk-leaning singer-songwriter. It is an arresting, ambitious song-cycle that explores the generational arc of family, the stranglehold of addiction, and the fragile ties that bind us together as Americans.

Harris began cultivating Boomerang Town in 2016, a time of great loss for many in the Americana community, with the songwriter losing several musicians close to her. A shift in the nation’s political landscape had ushered in a new level of cultural polarization and for someone who grew up in a small town outside of Waco, Texas, Harris believed the values instilled by her parents were not entirely in line with how many were viewing, and vilifying, Christians. As a person in recovery, Harris has had to re-evaluate her own connection to faith and find strength in a higher power. It was from the intersection of these social, personal, and political currents that the album was born.

While themes of addiction and grief permeate sections of the record, it echoes hope in the face of the darkness. Boomerang Town understands that love and grief are two sides of the same coin.

Photographed by Phil Clarkin

Join us at the Hyatt Regency Tulsa’s Promenade Ballroom for the afterparty, where PILGRIM will take the Horton Records Stage. Front man Beau Roberson is a gifted songwriter with powerhouse vocals that are a perfect match for his profound lyrics.  Each song is a perfectly crafted musical short story waiting to unfold. His band of Tulsa musician brothers are an integral part of the aural journey, maximizing the impact of each note and each song. Like the best music, this is difficult to fit into the tight confines of any one genre.   But make no mistake, this is next-level stuff.  Recommended if you like Wilco, JJ Grey & Mofro, Nathaniel Rateliff or Shinyribs.

Register now to join us for this performance as well as dozens of other sessions featuring keynotes, artist conversations, roundtable discussions, and much more. Switchyard will be held at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Tulsa, which has made a special rate available for festival attendees.

Keynote Announcement: Katie Farris

Poet, translator, editor, and fiction writer, Katie Farris creates fluid hybrid forms that seek to carry readers across imaginative thresholds. In 2019’s boygirls, she travels through ancient and modern myths to create waking dreams, while her newest work, Standing in the Forest of Being Alive, has been called “luminous” by Carolyn Forche and “real genius” by Kaveh Akbar. A breast cancer survivor, she has written movingly about the often secretive experience of illness and recovery. 

Learn more here: https://www.theshipmanagency.com/katie-farris  

Register now to join us for this talk as well as dozens of other sessions featuring keynotes, artist conversations, roundtable discussions, musical performances, and much more. Conference events will be held at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Tulsa, which has made a special rate available for festival attendees.

Keynote Announcement: Ilya Kaminsky

Photograph from Georgia Tech

Born in Odessa, Ukraine when it was still part of the Soviet Union, Ilya Kaminsky moved to the United States in 1993 when his family was granted asylum. Declared “one of the 12 artists who changed the world” by the BBC, his accessible yet probing work has been translated into more than twenty languages. He lost most of his hearing at the age of four and his most award-winning collection, Deaf Republic, mixes narrative, fable and poetry to examine censorship and silence while finding power in disability. Sometimes described as “the Beatles of the poetry world,” Kaminsky’s performative reading at Switchyard will transform the way you think about language, sound, and beauty.  

Learn more here: https://www.ilyakaminsky.com  

Register now to join us for this event as well as dozens of other sessions featuring keynotes, artist conversations, roundtable discussions, musical performances, and much more. Conference events will be held at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Tulsa, which has made a special rate available for festival attendees.

Keynote Announcement: Reginald Dwayne Betts

Photographed by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

A poet, lawyer, and McArthur genius winner, Reginald Dwayne Betts has spent over two decades exploring the world of prison and the effects of incarceration on American society. As the Executive Director of the non-profit Freedom Reads Initiative, he has led the effort to get literature into prisons to help empower people by imagining new possibilities for their lives. His award-winning books include A Question of Freedom, a memoir about his own journey from convicted felon to a Yale-trained lawyer, and Felon, a fierce, agile collection of poems that confronts the funk of post-incarceration existence and creates new forms from the redactions of his own court record. At Switchyard, he will perform a solo show based on Felon

Learn more here: https://www.dwaynebetts.com/bio  

Register now to join us for this talk as well as dozens of other sessions featuring keynotes, artist conversations, roundtable discussions, musical performances, and much more. Conference events will be held at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Tulsa, which has made a special rate available for festival attendees.