Lumberjack Fest Turns Ten: Founder Aaron Anderson on Meat, Beards and the Bar Band

Editor: Lumberjack Fest is this weekend at Dan's Silverleaf. For the first time ever, the festivities will stretch over two nights -- you can find more information on Saturday's installment on one Facebook page and the details for Sunday on another. Steve Steward had a very serious conversation with founder Aaron Anderson, which you can read right here.

Lumberjack Fest started out as a fundraiser for charity and a now-defunct literary magazine; ten years later, has it evolved into anything different or in an unexpected way?]

To be honest, I never thought it would last this long. The first year of the fest, I was worried we wouldn't draw a hundred people, and I was really thrilled when we surpassed that mark. The credit for that has to go to all the great musicians that played this show for almost nothing. We literally paid the first lineup in hot dogs.

Back in the day, there were no guest spots, and each musician got maybe a drink ticket or two. I think that speaks to the spirit of Denton. There are a lot of talented people in this town that were willing to volunteer their time to help us make a magazine. Now that The Porch is long since dead, I consider it a honor to be able to pay the bands. I know a ton of musicians, but I don't know very many who can afford to do only the music thing. Most of them have to get up and work a day job just like anyone else. It's been gratifying to watch Lumberjack take on a life of its own - and become a self-sustaining entity where everyone gets paid and goes home happy. We've even been able to book some cool out-of-town acts as we've become more successful.

See also: Jumberjack Fest IX: No Egos and Bearded Grinding

In ten years, have you noticed any kind of recurring themes, setlists, or crowd antics that are now typical of Lumberjack Fest? Should people be aware of saws?

So far we haven't had any saw-related casualties.Fingers crossed. Flannel and beards, obviously, are a recurring theme. Pinebox Serenade is the only bland to play all ten Lumberjacks, but I do believe the fest is responsible for most of the Spitfire Tumbleweeds "last shows ever." Also, BBQ. You can't have a proper Lumberjack with good BBQ. If you come to the show, you'll most likely find me next to the smoker making sure everyone gets fed.

What do lumberjacks eat?

Meat Guns BBQ and lots of it. Many large men play this show and they love smoked meats, cold beer, and whiskey.

Is a food truck a viable option after a lumberjack retires? Absolutely. Lumberjacks know a thing or two about hunger. Besides, whose food truck are you gonna order from? The big dude holding an ax and hocking ribs - or the frail guy in skinny jeans trying to sell you on his vegan spring rolls? Seems like an easy choice to me.

What do you look forward to most about Lumberjack Fest every year? Firing up the smoker and feeding all the musicians. It's really cool to be able to do something nice for all these bands that I love so much. It's also a blast to sit at the back of the room and watch the audience go crazy over what's happening on stage. I get a kick out of watching everyone have fun.

I like bars and bands, so Bar Band sounds right up my alley. What can you tell me about Bar Band?

Bar Band is badass. It's Grady Sandlin, Ryan Thomas Becker, Tony Ferraro, Scott Danbom, and Jeffrey Gruber. I've had the great pleasure of working with them a couple times. We've done Bruce Springsteen and Elvis Costello tribute shows in the past, and they blow me away every time. They are Denton's premiere cover band, and I cannot wait to see what they have in store for us this year.

Given that lumberjacks are typically associated with beards, how do you feel about the ubiquity of beards and beard-related things in pop culture right now? Does the "Keep Denton beard" slogan still mean anything? I'd say anyone who has a problem with beards probably can't grow one of their own. The slogan - originally coined by Cody Robinson - still holds true today. Come on out to the show and see if you can spot the face of the original Keep Denton Beard logo. I got a beer for the first person who does.

Has any band at Lumberjack Fest played "Lumberjack" by Jackyl? If so, how did they handle the chainsaw solo? We've not actually had anyone attempt it, but I'd love to see it happen!

See also: -The Top Ten All Time Best Replacement Lead Singers in Rock and Roll -Songs That Have Hidden Messages When Played in Reverse -The Ten Best Music Videos Banned by MTV

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Steve Steward
Contact: Steve Steward