For those tired of being holed up all week because of the cold, rainy weather, there’s a big party happening Saturday in Fort Worth.
Fort Worth’s music scene continues to blossom, and at the center is a little radio station nestled in Sundance Square. For 15 years, 95.9 FM The Ranch has unapologetically shunned mainstream country while championing Texas country, red dirt and Americana music. Its passion for supporting regional music has garnered a loyal fan base, and every fall the station hosts Ranch Bash, the largest single-day music festival in North Texas.
“This is a way for us to give back to our listeners," Shayne Hollinger, Ranch music director, says. "We try to put together a mix of acts that you normally don’t see together at the same show. Overall it’s a big party that lets us get together and celebrate Texas music.”
Hollinger speaks affectionately of the event as if it were a family reunion.
“It’s unreal to see everyone connect, people making new best friends, artists that never see each other on the same bill get to meet up and end up writing songs together," he says. "It really is a Texas music family atmosphere.”
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To accommodate the weather, the station has moved the festivities to The Shack at Panther Island. In addition to the indoor venue with two stages, there will be a 10,000-square-foot tent to help shield folks from the elements. Food trucks and beverages of all ilk will be available to fuel Ranch fans throughout the day and evening.
Headlining this year’s Ranch Bash is Stephenville’s own Koe Wetzel, whose rise to Texas music stardom in the last 18 months is unparalleled among his contemporaries. If you want to spark a party, Wetzel will light the fuse with a flamethrower. His band’s 2016 release, appropriately titled Noise Complaint, ushered in the next generation of Texas hell-raising party anthems in “February 28, 2016” and “Something to Talk About.” It’s the rock ’n’ roll debauchery of youth that we all know, delivered with the piss and vinegar not seen around these parts since Cross Canadian Ragweed crossed the Red River in the late '90s. It’s raw, honest and bleeds bravado.
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Wetzel’s songwriting is deceptively good, with lyrics and melodies that cause crowds to not only succumb to the euphoria of partying with the bad boy but to feel the hangover and consequences of all the bad choices made pursuing an epic evening. Songs like “Honey Pain” and “Austin” show off his writing prowess, proving he can dig deeper than songs of DWIs and one-night stands.
Also headlining Ranch Bash is Shooter Jennings, the son of legendary country outlaw Waylon Jennings. Despite the country music pedigree, Shooter has never limited himself to the outlaw genre. Over the course of 20 years, Jennings has dabbled in Nine Inch Nails-style electronica, industrial rock ’n’ roll and Southern rock. This August he released his seventh record, titled Shooter, on which Jennings collaborated with Nashville’s hottest producer, Dave Cobb, to create something resembling his outlaw country roots.
The Ranch Bash lineup also includes Sam Riggs, Asleep At The Wheel, Shotgun Rider, The Buffalo Ruckus, Mason Lively, Shea Abshier & The Nighthowlers, Summer Dean and Jon Stork. Fans might also get a surprise or two from artists who decide to crash the party.
Tickets start at $20, free admission for active duty and first responders. Gates open at 1 p.m. For details go to ranchbash.com.