Whistlestop Music Festival

The six founders of Frisco Music Scene – Jeff Brooks, Ben Shurr, Daly Duncan, Matt Hinchey, Stacey Shope and Steve Anderson – each have their place in the community. Some are teachers, one is from an original Frisco family and one is from a local business mainstay family. They all have one thing in common: Music. And they’ve been working for the past year to bring Frisco’s own music culture to the forefront since Brooks and Hinchey started the group.

The group is currently preparing for the Whistlestop Music Festival, set for Oct. 21 from 11 a.m.-11 p.m. at the Frisco Rail Yard, 9040 First St. Brooks spoke to the Frisco Enterprise recently about Frisco music and what the group has in store for the rest of the year.

Are you all Frisco natives?

There are six of us who founded The Frisco Music Scene, two of which were born and raised here in Frisco. In fact, Daly Duncan's family was one of the original settlers to this area, since 1862, before Frisco even existed. Stacey Shope's family has owned J&S Paint & Body for decades, since well before the boom. The rest of us have been here since the mid-1990s.

Do you all have music background?

We all have been part of the local music scene as performers in various bands for awhile. And Steve Anderson is a guitar luthier at The Frisco Music Center and has taught music for years.

How/when did The Frisco Music Scene get its start?

I'm in a band called The Bodarks, and one night I was talking with Matt Hinchey, of Mark Shelton & The Greater Good. We thought it strange that our two bands play all around north Texas and southern Oklahoma - everywhere BUT Frisco, like a big donut! And yet we live here. Frisco, as much as it was thriving, seemed to be lacking in a music culture. Much of what goes for live music here has been cover/tribute bands, and very little showcasing of original artists. Nothing against tribute bands, but that's ALL there seemed to be. So Hinchey and I we launched this Frisco Music Scene group in 2016.

Why do you think it's important to showcase local talent?

As we mention on our Facebook page and website, music is to a city what flavor is to food. A music culture helps define the character of a city. Shape its identity. The obvious examples are jazz to New Orleans, or grunge to Seattle, or country to Nashville. But even smaller places have their definitive sound. So bringing together local talent and showcasing their creative efforts here is our aim for Frisco.

Do you think Frisco has a distinct sound?

I'm not sure yet. There seems to be a folky Americana strain, and a raw Southern rock strain in some of the groups we've seen. And a bit of Texas country. But "the scene" is still green. The culture hasn't emerged from the petri dish yet.

Does the fest look to be bigger for its second year?

Last year's festival exceeded our expectations, and this year's is cooking up to be even bigger. The timing of the event last year coincided with the opening of Frisco's hottest new venue, the Frisco Rail Yard. And they were eager to accommodate us. It's a large food truck park right by the downtown tracks and was the perfect location, and it fit our train theme, which of course is part of the identity of Frisco. They will host it again this October.

This year's festival will work similar to last year's: There are two stages - one will feature prominent local bands and be headlined by some more notable acts: Uncle Lucius and Frisco-native Dalton Domino. The other stage is for what we call the Jamboree Scramble - local musicians who are raffled into bands for this one performance. Each Jamboree band prepares original music and a few cross-genre covers to be performed between each featured band.

I should add that this festival would not have been possible without Stan's Main Street which hosted benefit shows each week throughout the summer with performances by students from various music schools around Frisco. So, young, budding talent is what is making this thing happen. And generous donations from Stan's, as well as other local businesses like Air Repair Pros, J&S Paint & Body, Frisco Music Center, Wolf Bain Distillery, Callahan's Appliance, Prosco Automotive, and Allstate Insurance (Jeff Baird, Danny Wilson, Scott Sandlin, & Aaron Wallick).

Will there be new and returning artists?

Some of the featured bands this year will include BJ Stricker & The Kings, Justin Pickard, The Whiskey Prophets, and Sister Grove (which was raffled together as one of last year's Jamboree bands). However, Stan's Main Street is hosting a pre-party the night before the festival, on Oct. 20, to include a reunion of last year's performers: The Patrick Casey Band, Ben & Stacey, Wooden Nickel, Matthew Bell & The Next of Kin, and The Bodarks.

Is this a family-friendly event or more of an adults-only kind of thing?

Yes, both Friday and Saturday events are family-friendly. The Frisco Rail Yard has a variety of yard games that many of the kids last year played on while the bands performed.

What are looking forward to most about the event?

By pulling a few strings, we were very lucky to get both Uncle Lucius and Dalton Domino this year. Both are national touring acts, but with local ties. But me personally - I'm especially looking forward to the Jamboree Scramble, which is such a cool experiment, like a Frankenstein of local musicians mixed into new bands. You never know what you're going to get when those names are pulled from the hat. Last year's Scramble bands were so diverse and amazing. So I can't wait to see what kind of performances this year's experiments come up with.

Do you have any hobbies besides music?

My band The Bodarks has kept me very busy in recent years. Outside of that, The Frisco Music Scene is picking up serious pace.

Do you have a full-time gig, or does Frisco Music Scene take up most of your time?

I'm a teacher in Plano. All six of us who are part of the FMS do this strictly for fun. It is purely nonprofit.

What other types of events do you have throughout the year?

One of our founders, Ben Shurr, organized a yearly event called Winter Jam, which has sort of merged as our "other" festival, usually during February. It especially showcases singer-songwriters from the area, but also full bands who play original music of their own. Keep your ears open for that next year.

Visit thefriscomusicscene.com for information.

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