The Saratoga Sun -

Ten-year battle

Free alt music event dubbed the "Battle of Old Wyoming" celebrates 10 years this weekend


August 1, 2018

Saratoga Sun file photo

Zenitram has the crowd hopping late Saturday at last year's Battle of Old Wyoming.

What has been called the "Best Punk Rock Party in America" by Casper radio station 101.9 "The King" will be going on this weekend in Medicine Bow.

Vicki and Vernon Scott, owners of the landmark three-story Virginian Hotel, will once again be hosting the frenetic, yet friendly, occurrence and will be moving furniture to accommodate the crowds this week.

The free admission event, called the Battle of Old Wyoming (BOW), features several regional punk rock and alternative bands along with free area camping. This year 23 bands are scheduled to play during the two-day affair starting Friday night.

Brandon Schulte who is the BOW organizer described the gathering as giving new and different bands a venue they might not otherwise have.

"We want this to remain kind of the alternative music thing," Schulte added, "On our end it is all volunteer. As the person organizing it, all of the bands work on ... nobody ever gets paid. There's never been a ticket cover charge or anything like that. We want the money spent in town. If you don't do things in these wonderful places like this they close and they go away forever."

Though Schulte has been running the show for nine years now, he is quick to attribute the boisterous event's existence to the "Godfather of the event," Tom French.

French, who was on hand (and seemingly everywhere) last year to digitally capture scenes of the bands who played the BOW said the idea for the event came to him while stopping for a cheeseburger at the Virginian and realizing Medicine Bow was a good "halfway point" between Casper and Laramie.

Having been involved in music promotion in the area French said, "the rest was easy."

If past incarnations of the party are any indication, the music is raucous and not what anyone would consider "stereotypically Wyoming."

The event carries an energy level one would expect from a generally youthful crowd drawn mostly from Casper and Laramie.

Past crowds started the afternoon interested but did not really begin to fire up until dusk falls over the crossroads town.

Eventually people were jumping to the high energy tunes and a full-blown mosh pit sprang into existence for the last few bands Saturday evening.

If you are into punk and rock more on the metal or electronic side, the quality of the tunes played has been of a generally high caliber. Some recognizable cover songs have been performed and given interesting twists.

Bands wishing to participate in the event can contact organizer Brandon Schulte by emailing Schultz recommends a demo accompany any request.

The tenth annual BOW takes place beginning at 6 p.m. this Friday and runs through Saturday night at the Virginian Hotel in Medicine Bow.


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