At 5:30 PM, music from the Main Stage at the Lake Whitney Music Fest began playing through the small town of Whitney,TX. A new event for the Lake Whitney Chamber of Commerce, the Music Fest brought touring bands from across the country, to perform for local residents, giving a flavor of new music from different regions.
Sponsored by the Lake Whitney Chamber of Commerce, Hitmusiclink.com, The Great Texas Country Cafe & Pie Pantry, Hilco, and Hill County Title Co., the first annual event brought in music fans for an evening of live entertainment. Before the show began, everyone rose for the Pledge of Allegiance, followed by the National Anthem, sung by Emmeline, one of the performers for the night.
At 6pm, County Road 5 (CR5) took the stage and kicked off the 1st annual event, performing original songs along with a few popular covers. It was hot, 95 degrees, but CR5, led by Lead Vocalist, Dusty Sharp, performed an incredible set, packed with energy. Their stage performance and showmanship was exciting to watch, and their music resembled mainstream country music with some Kansas City flare.
After CR5 ended their 1 hour set, they loaded up and headed further south, to perform at 11:30 in Spicewood,TX. Immediately after they headed out, Emmeline, a Singer/Songwriter from Dallas, stepped on the stage and began setting up her keyboard, doing her sound check.
In less than 15-20 minutes, the second Artist began her performance. Emmeline’s music contains thought provoking, emotionally charged lyrics that get you thinking about life and love. Her confidence on stage, combined with her ability to connect with the audience, made her one of the crowd favorites.
She mixed her set with fast-paced musical jams and slower, emotional songs written from her life’s experiences. About 1/4 way through her set, she switched to the acoustic guitar, and began playing new original songs, while continuing to interact with the crowd. After a few songs on the guitar, she went back to the keyboard and finished out her set, mingled with the crowd, and headed over to Nate’s Colorado Street Grille, for a second performance. (I think she sold several CD’s …my wife bought 2!)
During the next transition, Los Angeles based band, Back Up Sun, began setting up. Lead Vocalist, Mark Lazar, along with his entire band, is dedicated to chasing their dream of being a successful rock band. They’ve performed at major venues in California, and came to Texas to showcase their original music to Texas music fans. After a short sound-check, Back Up Sun began their set.
Immediately, their Cello player began a quick rhythm followed by the full band. With a mixture of Alternative and Rock, Back Up Sun (B.U.S.) rocked the night, playing their anthem song, “Time 4 Freedom,” drawing a great response. The Lead Guitarist was incredible, as he hit some awesome solo’s and ripped the Texas air with his sounds. The band performed a few covers as well, including a sing-along, which got the crowd involved. During their performance, the sun officially went down, and night was upon us. The lights and audio were incredible, providing a great atmosphere for listening to new live bands.
As their set ended, and the breeze began to blow, we had one remaining Artist to perform…Stewart Ray, from Manhattan,KS. A solo performer and talented songwriter, Stewart Ray had been preparing to come to Texas and show Texans what he’s made of. When he took the stage, he set up his rug and lit some incense sticks to get his mind right.
With the lights on, and the crowd ready, Stewart delivered an incredible performance, playing tons of original music, some of which were first-time debuts, saved for the Lake Whitney Music Fest. Without a doubt, he was a hit in Whitney. He went from one song to another, drawing cheers and whistles after each one. Occasionally, he’d sing a classic Waylon Jennings song and get everyone fired up, and settle into another original song.
As I was in the crowd, a young man (Nathan Johnson) approached me and said, “I know you had a cancellation in the line-up, and I was wondering if me and my brother could play a few songs? We brought our guitars with us.” Thinking of the many times I had tried to convince stage managers to allow bands I had managed to do the exact same thing, I replied, “Sure…you’ll have 15 minutes.” They left, went back stage, and prepared for their performance.
Back to Stewart Ray. As his set came to an end, I approached the stage, and as his last song was over, I walked to the microphone to thank him and ask the crowd to give him one more round of applause. But, they were already cheering, whistling, and began shouting, “Play one more!! – One more!!! ” So, I looked at Stewart and said, “Looks like they want an encore…can you give them a few more?” ”Sure can,” he replied, and he sang a few more for the crowd.
After Stewart left the stage, the Johnson brothers entered, tuned up a little, tested out the mics, and began their performance. The local Whitney brothers were awesome! They added a final touch to the night, and ended the series of performances at 11:15pm. We didn’t capture any footage from the Johnson brothers, but here’s a song they performed that night. “Johnson Brothers – I am Through Loving You“
It was an experience putting this event together, and a pleasure working with Diana Reed, of the Lake Whitney Chamber of Commerce. She is an incredible force in Whitney, and the Chamber’s fortunate to have her representing the businesses in the area.
We recorded audio from the soundboard, directly into our Macbook, and will be releasing a compilation CD soon. Also, we shot video with 3 cameras, and videos will be coming soon as well. All in all, it was a great 1st event, and we look forward to making this an annual event… Please visit the band’s facebook pages and “like” them to keep in touch! Next year, we’ll have a new round of bands, and maybe some from this year will return!