Steph Simon Live on Standpipe
For Steph Simon—rapper, festival organizer and community leader—the dream is long from over. A recent run in September with the relaunch of his yearly event (World Culture Music Fest) as Dreamland Festival almost immediately followed by the birth of his child, will now include a local show on Sunday, Oct. 8.
“Relaunching a new offspring version of yourself into the world is always exciting,” Simon said. “Both getting ready for a new baby and the event kinda require the same amount of time and energy, but I made sure I could prioritize my family.”
Just like Billy Shears a.k.a. Ringo Starr before him, Simon got by with a little help from his friends.
“I’m thankful for my friends, peers, and the volunteers that relieved a lot of the stress for me on the festival side of things,” Simon said. “I’m happy it’s behind me and everyone is healthy. I feel accomplished.”
Simon pulled the festival off so nearly 100 others could showcase and hone their craft. With the potential of welcoming a little one at any moment, Simon didn’t have time for his own set that weekend. That’s why he’s running it back with Sunday’s performance.
For an artist who can truly say he has performed all around The Town, Simon’s newest Tulsa BINGO card square is a historic one with Standpipe Hill as his stage. Sharing that history during his performance is an important part for Simon who learned more about it in 2015 while making “Visions from the Tisdale.”
“I love performing in historical places because I like for people that don’t know to leave with the significance and history of North Tulsa,” Simon said. “It’s not just a nice view with a tower for me.”
Maybe for such a big dreamer it’s easier to not wake up when you rarely get the chance to sleep. Even with the energy it took to bring to life a cultural festival like Dreamland, and what he exerts daily with his newborn and older children, he still has energy for Standpipe Hill.
“I feel like I have enough,” Simon said. “I think I do a good job with my time. I’m getting better at it anyway.”
He’s had to. His career to date has included countless creative and impactful endeavors from release of personal rap projects, his leadership on the Fire in Little Africa project, bringing as many other Oklahoma artists with him on numerous lineups and stages, and, now, mentoring high schoolers interested in music. Building up the community has been his chorus.
“I always felt like the talent has been here in Tulsa for years,” Simon said. “Before I started to rap even, but nobody was taking the initiative to cultivate and highlight artists,” Simon said. “I just stopped waiting on somebody and became the person I was waiting for. I’m a builder at heart. If I was born in Idaho, I’d be doing this, still.”
Even as he sets the stage for himself on Sunday, he can’t help himself from opening the door for others. Along with inviting local vendors out, he said there may be some other performers joining him.
“Hopefully I get to have some special guest come out” Simon said. “I don’t know who all wants to climb that hill, tho.”
For all that Simon has done for Tulsa, there are plenty of reasons for local artists and fans alike, to climb that hill come Sunday.
Dreamland Festival Presents Steph Simon Live on Standpipe on Sunday, Oct. 9. The all-ages event will be from 5-9 p.m. Standpipe Hill is located at OB, N Detroit Ave & John Hope Franklin Blvd, Tulsa, Ok. Donations are being accepted at $stephxsimon.