Deer Creek founders reunite to launch Labor Day weekend music festival

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Indiana State Fair
After the 2022 Indiana State Fair closes on Aug. 21, the Indiana State Fairgrounds will host a new music festival in early September. (Photo provided by Indiana State Fairgrounds & Event Center)

Steve Sybesma and Dave Lucas, the concert promoters who built Deer Creek Music Center and renovated the Murat Theatre, plan to reunite this summer to launch a two-day music festival at the Indiana State Fairgrounds.

Performers have yet to be announced for the All IN Music & Arts Festival, scheduled Sept. 3-4, but the Labor Day weekend event is touted as an “annual destination festival” by co-founder Paul Peck.

Peck worked in production, talent buying and management for the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival from the Tennessee event’s founding in 2002 until 2014. Sybesma and Peck were the founding partners of Florida’s Okeechobee Music & Arts Festival, which debuted in 2016 with performers ranging from Kendrick Lamar and Post Malone to Mumford & Sons and Skrillex.

“We’ve spent a lot of time crafting the All IN vision to create something very special for Indy,” Peck said in a written statement.

The fourth All IN founding partner is Indianapolis native Kevin Browning, who co-manages popular jam band Umphrey’s McGee.

Music will be presented on multiple stages at the fairgrounds, with artist announcements expected in coming weeks. All IN is the second two-day music festival making an Indianapolis debut this summer, following WonderRoad. On June 11-12, WonderRoad will present Vampire Weekend, Lord Huron and Bastille as part of a 27-artist lineup at Garfield Park.

IUPUI alum Sybesma began his 50-year career as a concert promoter on Jan. 2, 1972, when he organized a show featuring Indiana rock bands at Melody Skateland, 5101 W. Washington St.

Sybesma was a co-owner of concert company Sunshine Promotions, founded in 1971 by Lucas and Joe Halderman, from 1974 to 2000.

“Indianapolis has always been home to me,” Sybesma said in a written statement. “Coming back to produce the All IN Music & Arts Festival is a full circle moment. Reuniting with Dave and working with Paul and Kevin makes this the most exciting project of my career.”

In 1997, Sybesma and Lucas sold Sunshine Promotions to SFX Entertainment—a company that acquired nearly every major independent concert promoter in the United States. Clear Channel purchased SFX in 2000, and Clear Channel’s concert business spun off to become Live Nation in 2005.

Sybesma exited SFX in 2000. Indianapolis native Lucas served as co-CEO and president of Clear Channel’s music operations in North America before founding Live-360 Group in 2005.

In 2004, Clear Channel opened The Lawn at White River State Park, a concert venue that preceded TCU Amphitheater at White River State Park. Sunshine Promotions’ Deer Creek Music Center is now known as Ruoff Music Center, and the building that’s home to the Murat Theatre was renamed Old National Centre in 2010.

For more information about the All IN festival, visit

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3 thoughts on “Deer Creek founders reunite to launch Labor Day weekend music festival

  1. Hopefully they can turn this into a really great annual music festival. Even better if it turns into a 4-day camping festival like Bonnaroo and Okeechobee. Okeechobee and Bonnaroo are probably the two best east coast festivals – well, Okeechobee was before turned into an EDM festival – and I’m excited that the founders have experience managing both.

  2. Steve and Dave…….they are the best. It’s great to hear of them reuniting. I remember them when the College of Architecture Ball State had one of their bands play at the first Beaux Arts Ball in 1974 which I booked from Sunshine Promotions. The band was either the Chosen Few or Pure Funk, I think. Also had the privilege to work with Dave in the renovation of the Murat Temple, as one of the Architects. Looking forward to the Festival on Labor Day Weekend. Great to hear the Sunshine Promotions founders, as I’ll always remember them, doing their thing again!!!!!!!!!!!!