Lovelock Frontier Days is back. The three-day festival takes place in the courthouse park from Aug. 5 - 7. A dedicated group of volunteers makes it happen every year. The free concerts are one of many activities including the parade, contests, shopping and food.
The Mariachi Plata de Reno are first in the musical lineup. They play on Friday from 5 - 7 p.m. Trumpets, violins, guitar and vocals add up to an unforgettable show. The mariachi wear charro, traditional garb associated with Mexican horsemen.
The band came to Frontier Days in 2019 to perform at the 4-H barbecue. The Frontier Days committee could not break away from their duties to listen, so the mariachis came to their station, singing and playing all the way.
“People liked them so we brought them back,” said committee member Sherry Stevens.
Arizona Jones performs on Friday from 8 – 10 p.m. Lead vocalist Kat Wilson also plays percussion. Len Campanaro, Shaun Damon and Richard Wagner add drums, guitar, bass and vocals.
According to their web page, “they put a rockin’ spin on classic R & B hits from the 60s and 70s.” Their repertoire includes Aretha Franklin, the Rolling Stones, Billy Preston, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder and more.
“You never know who’ll be singing louder, the audience or the band. So come on, join the band and don’t forget your dancing shoes,” they suggest.
Greg Austin starts off Saturday’s lineup with a country sound. He plays from 5 – 7 p.m. He describes himself as “a down home, straightforward and to the point of the heart singer, songwriter and musician.”
Valentine Rodeo perform on Saturday from 8 – 10 p.m. Trey and Kelly Valentine play a combo of blues, southern rock and country. The husband and wife have fronted the Reno band for about 10 years.
They describe their sound as “music you’d hear at a honkytonk run by bikers.”
Frontier Days pays and supplies hotel rooms for the performers. Volunteers Daniel Shaughnessy and Jon Damec scout the talent and book the acts. They DJ at many Lovelock events throughout the year.
How old is Frontier Days?
In 1968, Pershing County celebrated its centennial year. The event, which took place in the courthouse park, was a big hit. The town decided to make it an annual festival. But, what to call it?
In the summer of 1969, a sixth-grader named Debbie Duncan won $15 for coming up with the name ‘Frontier Days.’ Until 2020, the celebration never missed a beat. That August, the courthouse park was quiet due to Covid. For a while, FD 2021 looked iffy but the committee of mostly senior citizens pulled it off.
Frontier Days 2022 has been challenging due to a drop in donations and volunteers. However, next weekend Linda Whyte, 77, will don her trademark cowboy hat and Western clothing. It’s time for the 53rd Frontier Days parade. It will be her seventh. This year it honors local veterans.
“We need volunteers,” she adds. “If something doesn’t break, this may be the last Frontier Days.”
In the words of the musician Joni Mitchell, “Don’t it always seem to go, you don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone?”