Past & Present: Wichita’s Rock Scene
A few years ago, I became involved with a group of musicians who wanted to document the history of rock music in Wichita. These guys had played in bands in the 1960s and 1970s and opened my eyes to a vibrant music scene in Wichita. Back then, young people flocked to clubs like the Penthouse, The Fireside Club, and Sound Sircus to listen to bands play, sometimes every night of the week. There were “battles of the bands” at the Cotillion and outdoor concerts at parks, the most famous (or infamous) being at Herman Hill.
The goal is to create a book that documents the bands. Bands like the Outcasts, The Board of Regents, and Lion’s Mane, are well known. Others are less documented. Making sure everyone is included is no easy task since bands often changed musicians over time. Sometimes, the addition of a new member coincided with the band changing.
To help with the project, we created a Facebook page, the Wichita Music History Project, where individuals can share their stories and photographs. Periodically, the group meets at Margarita’s so interested parties should contact the project or watch our Facebook page for the next chance to relive some of Wichita’s colorful youth culture.