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October 17th, 2019

bri bagwellCountry artist Bri Bagwell has been entertaining crowds in the Oklahoma Panahndle and will now bring her talent to Kansas during the High Plains Music Fest at Dirtona. The event takes place Sept. 7 in Hugoton. Courtesy photoELLY GRIMM • Leader & Times


A fixture on the Texas country music scene, musician Bri Bagwell has seen her audience grow as she has progressed as a musician.

Bagwell will soon be gaining a new audience as she will be part of the entertainment at this year’s High Plains Music Fest at Dirtona Raceway in Hugoton Sept. 7. 

“I love the reactions from people during the shows and also the traveling I get to do. I've been to so many areas of the U.S. and there are so many beautiful places I've gotten to see because I'm playing my music,” Bagwell said. “I love seeing all these awesome places and getting to play my music for everyone even after all the time I've been in the music world.”

Bagwell has been on the music scene since her teenage years, starting by performing with her twin brothers’ band. 

“Bri started her music career at 14 years of age, singing in her twin brothers’ band, juggling the late night gigs with early morning volleyball practice while in high school,” Bagwell’s bio on her Web site noted. “Eschewing volleyball scholarship offers, Bri opted for a chance to live in Austin, Texas and attend the University of Texas. She finally got her chance to play live there after teaching herself guitar and playing with a friend. Bri kept writing and eventually recorded an album and formed ‘The Banned,’ which is a play on words from her song ‘Banned from Santa Fe.’ Bri is the artist who will say a prayer with you, then have a shot of whiskey with you with equal authenticity.”

“When I went away to college I would occasionally go back to New Mexico and play with my brothers' band and we'd also travel to Texas and other places we could get booked, so I was still playing while I was in college,” Bagwell herself said. “Then I graduated from college and things just sort of happened – I had a regular day job for a while and then I got more and more gigs and ultimately it got to the point where I couldn't do a full night playing at the bar and then get to work first thing the next morning, so I went all in and I've been doing this ever since.”

Bagwell has performed at other shows in Kansas, but this will be her first time playing at the High Plains Music Fest, and she said she is excited to be performing in the area. 

“I've actually played a handful of shows in Kansas, I've been in Wichita, which was really fun, and there's a handful of other places there in Kansas I've played before. I love it because the times I've played there, everyone's been really sweet and welcoming and I can't wait to perform there again,” Bagwell said. “I'm really excited to be part of it because the rest of the lineup is really great. Kevin Fowler has been one of my favorites since before I started playing professionally and he's just so much fun onstage, so the audience is going to have a ball watching him. And Koe Wetzel is a hot ticket right now and he's a blast to watch too, so it'll be great seeing them on the stage and seeing everyone have a great time watching them.” 

Seeing the audience’s reactions to the music, Bagwell said, is what has kept her excited as a musician. 

“It's 100 percent a grind, but it's amazing. We've been hitting the road hard especially recently, we actually drove more than 3,000 miles just this past weekend in the van,” Bagwell revealed. “There are always new people to meet in new places and new audiences for the music, so it's great. I actually had a record that came out that I'm still pushing and performing from, and I actually already have another record lined up, so we'll be hitting the road with that and performing that new music. I love songwriting, I love performing, the adrenaline is the best part, especially with the writing part of everything.”

Overall, Bagwell said, she is looking forward to meeting everyone at this year’s event.

“I'll also have a stand set up there and if anyone would like pictures or something like that, I'll be happy to do that because I love meeting new people and saying hi,” Bagwell said. 

The entertainment for this year’s High Plains Music Fest will also include the Jeff Daniels Band, Kevin Fowler and Koe Wetzel, which Bagwell said should make for a great mix of music for the audience. 

“It's going to be a great mix of music. My set will be leaning toward more traditional country music and so's Jeff Daniels' band. Then Kevin's going to be on stage with his more party atmosphere country and Koe's got the more rock-country sound going on. So it'll be a really good mix of music and everyone should experience all of those performances that night,” Bagwell said. “Then with my set, we do a pretty good mix of original songs and covers, so it'll be music from my album plus we'll be doing some of our overall favorite country song covers like Merle Haggard and artists like that. Then we'll also be doing a little rock at the end to get everyone even more pumped up for the next performer and get everyone in the party mood.”

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