I’ve been on a five-day vacation to Steamboat, CO for the Texas Music Festival. Being gone on a long adventure like that…I don’t know where to begin. The Texas Music Festival is described best by their promoters: “Six days, 40 bands, a world-class ski resort, a really big tent, and more than 50 shows.” Let me add to that dear friends, no kids, and a pickle jar full of home-made Bailey’s.
Why would they have a Texas music festival in Colorado and not Texas? Not really sure but I would guess because it’s less about Texas and more about a “sound.” There are scads of Texans there to be sure but the event draws people from all over. We bumped elbows with plenty of folks from Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arizona, and even Canada.
Sadly the ski conditions this year were poop. What snow there was on the mountain was icy and there were even patches of ground showing through. The die hards made the best of it though. I’m no fan of skiing so I stayed in, read books and drank coffee or hot apple cider. In the afternoon we’d gather for lunch and then head out for concerts.
The first day we went to an acoustic set with Randy Rogers, Michael Martin Murphy, Roger Creager and another guy that, I’m embarrassed to say, I can’t recall. It was in an intimate setting and had all the fun that live shows provide like personal stories, background on the music and even some great bloopers, i.e. Creager forgetting the words to one of his most well-known songs.
That night we went to the Big Tent where multiple musicians would be playing. We went to see Creager again. He always gives a great show! The tent was jam-packed. Being only 5 ft. tall makes these sorts of arrangements rather difficult. I could kind of make out Roger if I looked in this little space sort of like a port-hole in a ship, created by the spot just above the shoulders of two guys. There was a big screen too but I couldn’t see that either. I just enjoyed the music and entertained myself by slipping into the backgrounds of other people’s pictures. I thought those two concerts would be the best I’d see.
I had no idea…
One day we did much like the other: they all skied and I stayed home to read, read, read. Lunch. Then a concert. The concert I wanted to see that night was more about the novel location then the artists being featured. It was at the top of the mountain and concert goers took the Gondola up to it. Found out, I’m kind of afraid of heights. It was so worth it though because at the top was another lovely venue with big chandeliers and huge picture windows all the way around that boast gorgeous views. It was another small type of setting so no matter where you were you would be close to the action. The first three guys performed similarly to the acoustic set we previously saw. Three different artists on stools with their instruments. Poo….I can’t remember who all performed…Kieth Gatis and two other guys. They were great. Gatis is an amazing guitarist. These three guys were followed up by a band I had never heard of: The Dirty River Boys.
They….will get their own blog entirely. Let me just say, I have not been this excited about a band in a long time. The rest of my trip was spent in anticipation of the DRB’s next concert.
A thread through out my time in Steamboat was that my sons kept calling me. Thank you Cub Scouts for teaching them my number for their safety badge. Really, all they need to know for an emergency is 911. They are much better equipped to help then I. Bug called the most; an average of twice a day. He called to tell me important things like he loved me, missed me, he scratched himself, and a count down to our return. I think Buddy called all of 2 times the whole 5 days.
Bug: Hi Mommy!
Me: Hey Bug!
Bug: Are you having fun with out me?
Me: Yep. Are you?
Bug: Yeah. Mommy?
Bug: I miss you.
That was the gist of pretty much every conversation. I’d hang up and then 5 minutes later he’d call again.
Me: Bug? Does the sitter know you are calling me?
Me: I love you and miss you a lot. Don’t call back.
I also made friends with the drivers of the shuttles and the folks at the front desk who called for the shuttle pick ups. My favorites were Jeff at the front desk and Kevin the driver.
“Front desk, this is Jeff.”
“Hello dear! It’s Michal.”
“MICHAL!! How are you? Having fun? What can I do for you?”
He would send Kevin to take me to the store.
“You are on vacation! What are you doing grocery shopping?” Kevin asked.
“It practically is a vacation when you shop with out kids.”
“Always the Mama, aren’t ya?”
From that point on every time I boarded the shuttle Kevin would greet me with “Hello Mama Michal!”
The shuttles were fun because you met so many interesting people including tour managers and band members. You also meet colorful characters such as Fire Starter who was a drunk guy decked out from head to toe with Bronco’s gear on. Or the gal from Oklahoma who apparently became an Aryan Princess after shooting Yaeger.
“We are with staying with some folks I’ve never met before so my husband told me there are three things I’m not allowed to joke about: Racials, fat people and old people! There aren’t any Mexicans in our group though so I can joke about them.”
“Well, there is a Mexican on this Gondola with you…” I laughed.
“Oh! I didn’t know! I didn’t know! Couldn’t tell there were any Racials on here. I can’t help it though. My Mama told me I was a perfect human being! Blonde haired and blue-eyed!”
It was pretty bad but I couldn’t help cracking up at the poor thing! From then on we all bragged about how we were “perfect human beings.”
It was so much fun we all want to make it an annual thing. The event made me rather homesick. It was great to be around so many Texans again. Doors were flying open for me, conversations were friendly, people were helpful. I just love Texans!
But then…we were driving home through all the mountains. The white scenery had a dusting of glitter and mist was weaving in and out of the hills. The sight was so gorgeous I cried and for the umpteenth time I wondered how a wretch like me got to be so blessed.