4 minute read

Factory Obscura celebrated the first day of Spring Saturday with the Future of Sound Fest bringing together musical artists from around the Oklahoma City area. The music was partially inspired by the Mix-Tape experience launched by the Factory earlier this year.

The autobiographical theme of Mix-Tape was celebrated live by fresh faces in music, including Maddie Razook and Tony Foster, Jr. Nearby.

The event hosted local artists to sell their work at a pop-up market, one of the few in-person art events this year.

Cheerful crowd

The crowd at Future of Sound reflected a mood of cheerfulness. Not a single parking space was left unoccupied, reflecting the impatience of many OKC residents to enjoy events like Factory Obscura’s. Plenty of small children tottered through the event, and in general, a sense of community pervaded.

The numbers and enthusiasm of the people indicated the love and support OKC is ready to give its musicians in the coming year.


Safety was a key concern of the event, and safely managing a large gathering was a full-time task for the Factory’s employees. In the lane where the live music was performed, flowers marked the spots where patrons could safely stand six feet apart from one another and enjoy the music.

Masks and hand sanitizer were placed conspicuously throughout, emphasizing the concerns of the staff in preserving a safe environment for everyone.

Though COVID-19 dominated the planning of the event, a great deal of the motivation behind the event itself was driven by a “feeling of renewal” that has grown in recent weeks, as Kelsey Karper, co-founder of Factory Obscura, noted.

Ready for spring

Part of that feeling comes from the auspicious occasion of the spring equinox, with the weather beginning to warm up again. Part of it is also due to a sense of anticipation that has been building since vaccinations ramped up and we marked a year in lockdown.

“We’re all ready for that feeling,” Karper told me. “So, that’s what I’m hoping, that people can have a good time, be out in the sunshine, be around other people in a way that is safe and fun and feel a little normal again!”

Many of the artists at the market expressed similar sentiments.

Reflecting on COVID-19, Kelley, a mixed-media artist (@skelleyqueenart), explained that “it’s been challenging not getting to hardly any in-person events.” Factory Obscura’s events have proven to be a rare boost to artists in Oklahoma, and Kelley noted that “when people go to these things lately, there’s been a lot of support.”

Others, like Morgan Smith (@morganginger_s), “struggled with the flux and flow of being creative and not being creative, trying to draw something from somewhere, but you know, there’s creativity in dark places.”

One of the musicians featured during the festival, Maddie Razook, described the “pressure to be creative.” “We had a lot of extra time,” Razook said, “and just really wanting to take it day by day, and use that time, but also recognize that it was a time of rest as well, and I really did love having that time of rest.”

New developments

Some bright spots emerged from COVID-19 that many artists might utilize in the future.

Emma Difani, an artist who also curates exhibitions (@emma_difani), remarked on how “challenging trying to take something so tactile and do it all in digital, but we’re learning some new tools, and in a lot of ways it makes those shows more accessible. Like, people everywhere can see them!”

Factory Obscura’s auditory portrait of the Future of Sound marked new ground for a hard year and pointed to the hopes of Oklahoma City residents to return quickly to in-person celebrations once more.

In hosting a group of talented young artists, Future of Sound highlighted the mournfulness of the past year, juxtaposed against the optimism of the next one.

Last Updated March 20, 2021, 10:01 PM by Brett Dickerson – Editor