Riddle time folks: tell me something that is a person, place and thing all at the same time every year in April? Ok, so that may not have been so hard. Larry Joe Taylor (Texas Music Festival) LJT, LJT Week. If you don't know what it is, I'll briefly try and help.
Friendly strangers and drunken patrons.
Whiskey and cheap beer. Honest tone-deaf singing at the top of your lungs. The "I've lost my campsite, can you point me in the right direction?" people. The backyard pickers who are someone in the garage on a Saturday night. The lyrics, the layers of dust and ashes. Trying to set a meet up point with your gang, don't say the corndog stand, there's three of them. The frustrations with the unpredictable weather. It's hot, it's windy, it's too rainy, now its humid. It's the essence of Texas.
Did you grab a corn dog?
Nope, chicken on a stick. Pass me a beer, where are my friends? Where is my phone? What's that guys name who is singing? Shhhh, just listen. Who has a capo? I broke my g string, do you have an extra pick? Did you get more ice? Jello shots? No thank you.... yeah, why the hell not. Did you lock the camper? Damn, I don't have signal, can you text them to check? Shhhh, just listen. Can I bum a smoke, again. A corn dog sounds great right now. Hey man, I haven't seen you in forever... you want some pork skins? This girl's voice is amazing. Shhhhh, just listen. Any one know how to play this... cajon, is that it? I saw her last year, super cool songwriter, wanna go grab a gator basket?.... shhhh, just listen. You got an extra pick? Hand me another beer.. doesn't matter, as long as it's cold, oh yeah out of ice, I have an extra cigarette. Can you believe all the trash they left behind, did I drop my keys? Where did I leave my cooler? I bet it's out there. Shhh, just listen.
Are there age differences, and different age zones? Well of course there are. I'm 38, I will not go down to the pit, well maybe for a song or two, and have no intention of sleeping on the ground with 6 other people in a 4 man tent on rocky uneven terrain a mile from the mainstage. Primitive camping, oh hell no. But that's the fun of it all, the differences that seem to vanish as soon as that first cord is struck. I don't care what they wear, hell, that's half the fun of it, the people watching. Good music has no age limit, or bedtime. It happens around the clock. Campfire sets at 3am while everyone is too drunk to remember, but the song was too powerful to forget. Mainstsge power sets from Wade, Randy, Will, Casey and Sam. The allsups sit-down crowd singing low to the broken-down lineup, and the walkabout back-site discoveries. LJT offers up whatever level of experience you so choose to have, but remember, it's a marathon, not a sprint. Those kids that laughed at the old guy I am for being just a step behind, well that's ok, I have better whisky, a hot shower in the camper, and oh yeah, I have a capo, an extra pick, ice, extra firewood, cold beer, and I will be back next year to bitch about it all over again, come say hi.
In closing, please remember these few notes from an experienced LJT'er:
Get a campsite and don't drink and drive.
The guy aimlessly wandering around just might be the next big thing, take a moment to listen to his words.( 2014 I ran into Zane Williams in the crowd multiple times and no one even acknowledged who he was)
Pack for every season, and know that you still didn't pack right. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Get a campsite and don't drink and drive. Deodorant, soap and toothpaste go a long way. You won't get cell service, it's a fact, enjoy the week being unplugged, it's refreshing I promise. Lastly, seriously: Do not drink and drive! Free shuttles, friend's campsites and other things are available, I promise it's not worth a life of regret.
For more on the LJT experience : Click Here
Aaron Lee Bentley
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