A Norman music-lover grew up dreaming of becoming a musician, but when that dream didn’t pan out, he decided to bring music into the lives of others.

Jonathan Fowler, general manager of Fowler Volkswagen of Norman, has been instrumental in bringing free shows to the Opolis such as Twin Shadow, Washed Out and Dan Deacon.

Fowler was engulfed with music from the very beginning.

“As a kid, I suppose it was because of my parents you know,” Fowler said. “They would always play music throughout the house, and that was my first experience with music.”

When Fowler became a teenager, he was influenced by his older brother’s musical taste, but Fowler began to develop his own musical identity as well. When he turned 13 or 14 years old, he began to play the guitar.

It wasn’t until he began playing the guitar that he decided he wanted to be a musician, but he never became good enough to be a guitar player in a band.

That didn’t stop his love of music.

First experience

“My first experiences with music were as a fan … following all these local bands around and going to their shows,” Fowler said.

Fowler was 18 years old when he came to OU. He started going to concerts on a regular basis at venues, such as the Deli on Campus Corner and the Opolis when it first opened.

After college, Fowler still loved the local music scene in Norman, but he didn’t really get involved until Marta Burcham, the Norman Arts Council executive director at the time, approached him and asked if he wanted to help start the Norman Music Festival.

“That is really when my passion kind of took off to another level,” Fowler said. “That is when I started to get involved in the local music scene.”

Norman Music Festival

After being part of Norman Music Festival, Fowler began meeting new people in the Norman music scene. He had been going to shows at the Opolis for years and knew the owners before they knew who he was.

“Andy (Nunez, owner of the Opolis) was actually one of the founding members of the Norman Music Festival,” Fowler said. “So that first year of the music festival was when Andy and I became friends.

Nunez said he was worried about how the festival was going to be financially successful, but Fowler started raising money for the events, which made them more successful.

After the positive outcome of the Norman Music Festival, Fowler Volkswagen began sponsoring shows at the Opolis.

“I think the credit gets misplaced a lot because we have our logo on the stuff that we sponsor, but all we are doing is sponsoring what they (the Opolis) have prepared,” Fowler said. “Any credit I receive is much appreciated, but really Andy at the Opolis deserves a lot of credit and all the credit in my opinion alongside his wife, Marian.”

Fowler really helps bringing in some big-name bands, bands people should be excited about, Nunez said.

“It is a win-win for everyone, we (The Opolis) get to sell beer, Jonathan gets advertising and the fans get to see a free show,” Nunez said.

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