The Fort Worth Music Festival Will Rogers Memorial Center Friday, September 28
All the highways and random roads that lead from Dallas to Fort Worth throw me completely out of whack and often I end up lost and late. This happened Friday night as I braved Texas' "HOLY SHIT IT'S RAINING" traffic and "Rangers are playing the Angels" traffic to make it to the Fort Worth Music Festival.
After a two-hour drive, and getting lost trying to find parking, I found myself surrounded by music fans, as we braved the elements at the Will Rodgers Memorial Center to catch up-and-coming country star Hayes Carll and long-running local heroes the Reverend Horton Heat.
While I wouldn't call the crowds huge, the enthusiasm for each act seemed to supplement the light drizzle. At the Reverend Horton Heat stage, an assemblage of people dressed mostly in black, overwhelmingly goateed, sang along to every song as the Rev made a point to let the crowd know which album each song came from, and gave a small anecdote for each. The loyal fans ate this up, cheered with every solo, and enthusiastically applauded every final note.
Hayes Carll's stage was situated on the opposite end of the park, which seemed fitting, as the crowd was the exact opposite of the Rev's. Purple TCU polos ruled the lawn, as high heels and boots made it a point to tear up the grass. During one number, I witnessed a two-step line break out close to the merch tent, which ended when an overserved young lady took a rather rough tumble. The crowd sang along to "Down the Road Tonight," undeterred by the weather, which had started to take a turn for the worse. It seemed Fort Worth was out to have a good time on Friday, rain or no rain.
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Stray notes: This was my first time seeing Hayes Carll play a venue that wasn't Dan's Silverleaf, and his stage presence, charm and crowd size signals that the promise he's shown the last few years is about to pay off.
During the requisite break before their encore, a Reverend Horton Heat fan in a pink hoodie jumped on stage and posed for a picture with Jimbo Wallace's upright bass, sending security into a frenzy.
There was much chatter on Twitter and various social networks about the festival's early Saturday afternoon decision to cancel the second day of the fest due to rain. After several hours, it was announced that Kevin Eubanks, Dr. Dog and Charles Bradley had been moved to The Live Oak Music Hall and Lola's on a first come, first serve basis for VIPs and weekend pass holders. [Editor's note: According to festival reps, they are offering refunds to anyone who purchased general admission, VIP or Groupon tickets for Saturday. If you have questions, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.]
While not an ideal solution for the bands or fans who purchased tickets, this showed the organizers are willing to fulfill their promise of having billed acts play no matter what the situation. As someone with knowledge of how hard it is to pull off an outdoor festival, I found their determination commendable and look forward to see what they bring to the fest scene next year.