On the night of August 26, 2017 the venue located at 311 E. Scott St. known as Stick’s Place saw its last live show. The local bands Therapy and Leddit Ride had the honor of closing out one chapter in the local music history books which featured local legend musicians from the ‘70s and ‘80s, as well as those of the younger generation.
Kimberly and Eric Stevens didn’t know what to expect three and a half years ago when they opened up Stick’s Place, but its legacy is growing bigger and brighter than ever. With the acquisition of the historic MB Corral located at 3305 Sheppard Access Rd, Kimberly and Eric, along with the support of one Mr. Don Larson, are excited about the future of live local music in Wichita Falls. September 1 will be opening day of the ‘dive bar’ section at the new venue.
I had the pleasure of talking with Kimberly and Eric at this final show to get their feelings about the closure of this location. “Bittersweet,” Kimberly said. “When we went into this we didn’t know how it was going to go. This move fits us and the direction we want to go.” Eric says that three years ago he never expected to be in the position to go bigger, and he is glad the local people have made it possible to do so. “It is the people who have made this possible,” he says.
The new place is a very special place. “The Music History at MB Corral is incredible,” said Kimberly, “and some of the things Eric has found while getting the place up to par are cool concert posters with the MB Corral logo on it featuring artists like Marty Robbins and Little Richard, and others we may have forgotten about. There is a book written about this venue titled ‘Playing By Heart’ by Carol Wilson, and the last four or five pages are a list of famous artists that have come through Wichita Falls such as Elvis Presley, Conway Twitty, The Big Bopper, and Etta James, just to name a few. The list goes on and on. I think some people may have forgotten what has been in this venue, and we want to bring it back to life. And we are planning a music museum later on down the line.”
“This will be a great opportunity to help our local musicians even more,” says Eric. “I mean, look what we’ve done so far. A year ago, not all the venues around town were having live music every weekend until we started doing it. People saw what was happening and realized that this is what Wichita Falls needed. We need our musicians.” About 95% of the acts that have played here at Stick’s Place have been local acts. “And we will do that still,” Eric continues. “This will give us an opportunity to bring in bigger acts and locals can open for them, like a showcase, which will bring in more people to see them.”
I asked Kimberly about some of the
big events that will be happening at the new place soon. “There are too many to mention,” she said with a big grin. “We ask that you just stand by and watch us from week to week and see how we grow and the improvements we make each time you come back. But right now, we are looking forward to the opening of the smaller portion of the venue on September 1st. Our main focus is the music and the local musicians, and we couldn’t be happier with the support of our locals. And we are hoping that with this being a bigger venue it will encourage even more local musicians to come into the live scene.” She says that people have approached her about the move when they see her out and about. People are talking about it, and are excited about it.
I asked if they thought this will be a historic event, and Kimberly said, “I hope we can live up to what the music community is expecting. So, I ask that you be patient with us as we grow.”
I said that I believe I can speak on behalf of the local musicians here in Wichita Falls when I say thank you for being the number one supporters of live local entertainment, and that I have noticed that a lot of other venues have jumped on that bandwagon (pun intended). “And they should,” said Kimberly. “And I am excited to see our musicians playing at all these other places and getting the exposure to audiences that they typically would not get exposure to.” “Exactly,” Eric continued. “A year ago, some of these places would hardly book anybody local, and we got them out there.” “Come on out, locals,” Kimberly adds. “That’s what I would like to see, is more locals out playing. Because I know they’re out there, they are just hiding.”
I brought up the point that Stick’s place is where I held my first jam session here in town, and put on my first variety show, and how grateful I am to let me book in pretty much whatever kinds of acts I wanted. “I want these musicians to come in and be free to be themselves and be creative,” Kimberly states. “If you notice, we host all genres of music, and it has brought so many different people together that would not typically come together for the love of the music and the fellowship, and I want to keep extending that.” Eric adds, “That’s what it boils down to for us, the music and the fellowship. There’s more talent in this town than I think anybody realizes, and we want to bring it out.” And this includes the youngest generation of musicians we have seen recently. Future local legends as young as ten years old that have graced the dive bar stage at 311 E. Scott.
As I concluded my interview, Kimberly wanted to point out that they wouldn’t have been able to take this next step if it weren’t for the help of local music supporter Don Larson, and wants to be sure he gets the credit he deserves.
So, sharpen your pencil and get a fresh sheet of paper, because the next chapter of Wichita Falls music history is about to be written.