Best Of Dallas

15 Reasons Why You Should Go to the Gritznic Backyard Jam Music Festival

RC Williams curated the festival.
RC Williams curated the festival. Gloria Levario

We told you about the Gritznic Backyard Jam back in June, but if you drank to forget every Dallas news item of the last few months, we got you. Now that the weekend is coming up and you’re trying to make impressive plans, here’s your reminder of why you should make it out to Gritznic, which is Saturday, Sept. 15. The jam-type concert was inspired by the Roots’ yearly Picnic Festival, and it spotlights Dallas neo-soul band The Gritz.

1. Quality
The Gritznic Festival promises nonstop musical miracles, as it was curated by RC Williams, someone with proven distinguished taste. Williams, the festival’s creator, is Erykah Badu’s longtime musical director and band member, a former Kirk Franklin alum and one of the most prominent names in neo-soul. Pharrell himself once called him “The best keyboard player I’ve ever seen." Fight him.

2. History
It takes place at the legendary Longhorn Ballroom, which was owned first by cowboy-swing icon Bob Wills, later by Jack Ruby (the guy who shot Lee Harvey Oswald, the guy who shot JFK), and it’s also the place where Sid Vicious was head-butted by a female fan, and not Nancy, during a Sex Pistols show.

3. Celebrity sightings
We can’t guarantee that she’ll be in the audience, but there’s a solid chance that your view could be blocked by one of Queen Badu’s outlandish hats. We can’t think of a higher honor.

4. Put your money where your hashtags are and truly #supportlocalmusic
This is the chance to check out bands you can actually stalk really easily. Get down with the Big Ass Brass Band, soul hip-hop fusion Cure for Paranoia and watch Kirk Thurmond and Medicine Man out-soul each other with their velvet vocals. Where do you think Leon Bridges and St. Vincent came from? They came from the local scene, which you missed while you were paying outrageous resell ticket prices to see acts that came up on TRL.

5. National acts
Including chart-topping jazz singer Chantae Cann and Teedra Moses, who’s written songs for the likes of Mary J. Blige.

6. It’ll go long and hard
Starting at 4 p.m., the jam will run until 2 a.m., giving functional day people and night owls alike a chance to come through, assuming you don’t have all day to hang.

7. Leave your stupid potato salad at home
The event will offer food trucks and catered, bougie picnic baskets, so you won’t have to worry about bringing any picnic food.

8. There will be an Aretha Franklin tribute
Show your respect to the late Queen of Soul, like we did by not spelling out “Respect,” which would be trite and obvious.

9. Earn cool points
This is a chance to see local rapper Bobby Sessions (who got signed earlier this year to Def Jam Records) before he gets matching face tattoos with Post Malone and becomes too big to play Dallas again any time soon.

10. Them jams
Williams is the king of jams; his legendary Wednesday night Prophet Bar open-ish jam in Deep Ellum has been running for the past 10 years, and everyone from Leon Bridges to George Clinton has popped up on his stage.

11. No cancellations
Many festivals of late have broken our hearts by canceling events at the last minute. Gritznic is scheduled to take place outdoors, but it will be moved indoors in case of rain, so you won’t get mud on your Nikes.

12. Banjos and Stetson hats
The Texas Gentlemen, whose sweet flavor of honky Americana rock was solidified with last year’s critically acclaimed album Texas Jelly, are quickly becoming a more quintessential Southern backing band than Muscle Shoals’ The Swampers. Always unmissable, the Gents have played alongside Shakey Graves and stood tall next to country giants George Strait and Kris Kristofferson.

13. Earn bonus cool points
Williams’ projects are known for their staying power, so chances are that this festival will continue yearly through the centuries with his grandchildren’s children, so you’ll want to be a good hipster and say that you were there first.

14. Save on babysitters
This is a family-friendly event, and children ages 9 and younger get in for free. This is a good chance to expose them to the fine arts, but, pro tip: If they’re also accidentally exposed to the smell of weed, just say there’s a skunk nearby.

15. All the Grammy nominees
There was a time when a Grammy award meant something — specifically, before Justin Timberlake’s God-awful “Can't Stop the Feeling” was inexplicably bestowed an award. Like three-time Grammy nominee Williams, the lineup includes fellow nominees like R&B singer Eric Roberson and Snarky Puppy’s Shaun Martin.

Ultimately, one thing we can guarantee is that this festival will not be worse than Fyre Fest. Nothing could be.

Tickets start at $25.
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Eva Raggio is the Dallas Observer's music and arts editor, a job she took after several years of writing about local culture and music for the paper. Eva supports the arts by rarely asking to be put on "the list" and always replies to emails, unless the word "pimp" makes up part of the artist's name.
Contact: Eva Raggio