Wheatstock Music Festival is pulling out all the stops in preparation for the 12th annual event.

Organizers announced that Reckless Kelly, an Americana band out of Austin, Texas, is headlining the show. The Saturday, Aug. 17 music festival will be held at Quantum 9 Arena in Helix.

“This is really exciting,” said DuWayne Dunlap. “It’s going to be one of our best years yet.”

Dunlap and the rest of the festival’s board anticipate brisk ticket sales. The first 500 tickets are available for $20 each (through June 30) — then, the price increases to $30. Tickets at the gate are $35. Admission is free for active military personnel and kids 12 and under. Also, VIP packages are available for $99, which includes a general admission ticket, a meet-and-greet with headliners, an event T-shirt and an autographed poster.

Reckless Kelly is led by co-founders and frontmen Cody and Willy Braun. The brothers were raised in the White Cloud Mountains of central Idaho before moving to Bend, where they sowed their musical oats at open mic nights at a Lebanese restaurant.

With tenacity as rugged as the terrain they grew up in, a falling out with a couple of Prairie Mutts bandmates sent the brothers packing. In October 1996, Cody and Willy, along with drummer Jay Nazz, reformed as Reckless Kelly and migrated to Texas where they found a home in the gritty outlaw country music scene in Austin.

Cody and Willy — along with their younger brothers, Gary and Micky, who later formed Micky and the Motorcars — got their start in their father’s band, Muzzie Braun and the Boys.

They played everywhere from school assemblies and cowboy gatherings to the Grand Ole Opry and “The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.” Learning the ropes from Papa Braun, the boys wrangled in a taste for musical success by sharing the stage with the likes of Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard and Glen Campbell.

Wheatstock was founded with the purpose of raising money for the Helix School District music program. The festival continues to support that effort as well as donating proceeds to Divide Camp, a wilderness retreat for combat veterans in the Wallowa Mountains.

Stay tuned — five more musical acts will be announced. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.wheatstock.org or search Facebook for Wheatstock Music Festival.

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Contact Community Editor Tammy Malgesini at tmalgesini@eastoregonian.com or 541-564-4539

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