Wheatstock celebrates local talent

<p>From left, J.D. Kindle and Brian Baird of Pendleton's James Dean Kindle and the Eastern Oregon Playboys, rock out at the fifth annual Wheatstock.</p>

Over five years since it began, Helix’s Wheatstock music festival has sprouted from a local man’s desire for his and his brother’s bands to play together to a musical extravaganza showcasing nine local bands and one from Texas.

“I thought it would just dissappear like any other great idea at the Rainbow (Cafe in Pendleton),”?Wheatstock Vice President Jef Farley said, but three months later it was a concert for four bands.

By 5:30 p.m. about 300 to 400 attendees crowded the Quantum 9 Arena, which was padded with lush grass planted specially for the music festival after Memorial Day weekend’s Helix Heart of the Country Rodeo. Farley expected to host 600 attendees by the time the event ended at 11 p.m.

Spectators munched on barbecue pork sandwiches and hot dogs as they got a taste of a variety of musical flavors from country to classic rock and alternative.

Peter Walters, who plays guitar, saxophone and drums for James Dean Kindle and the Eastern Oregon Playboys, said the event is a celebration of local talent.

“It’s just kind of the community we’re in,”?he said. “It’s the community of bands and musicians. It’s a great party, it’s a good excuse to come out to Helix.”

Musicians said the event organizers made it easy for them to play. Two stages were available, so one performer could set up while another was playing, which made for minimal pauses between sets.

Dakota Brown, lead singer and guitarist for La Grande’s Dakota Brown Band, said the event offers musicians high quality sound equipment.

“From a musician’s perspective, it’s very accommodating,” said drummer Tucker Murphey of Dakota Brown Band.

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Contact Chris Rizer at crizer@eastoregonian.com or 541-966-0836.

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