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Music Festivals and Events
Larry Joe Taylor Music Festival
If you like four days of superb country music, on site camping, and 20,000 fun loving music (or partying) fans then Larry Joe Taylor’s Music Festival and Chili Cookoff is an event you don’t want to miss. This April was Larry Joe’s 18th annual event and it keeps getting bigger and better each year.
This event takes place each April at Melody Mountain Ranch which is just north of Stephenville. There is plenty of space for primitive camping but all of the water and electric sites are taken by a raffle system that took place 3 years ago. Each year, in February, you can call to reserve some sites and maybe one with water and electricity will be available -- but don't get your hopes up.
Larry Joe's festival has two stages for music. The tented stage music is typically acoustic, runs from one to five on Friday and Saturday, and features some outstanding singer songwriters. This year some of the players in the tent included: Michael Hearne, Kevin Welch, Max Stalling, Jed & Kelly, Kevin Deal, Joe Pat Hennen, Keith Sykes, and more.
The outdoor stage music usually starts around 5:00 and goes to 1:00 PM. Some of the bands at the 2006 event included: Cross Canadian Ragweed, Jason Boland, Reckless Kelly, Stoney LaRue, Randy Rogers, Django Walker, Cooder Graw, Hayes Carll, Rusty Wier, Tommy Alverson, and of course good 'ole Larry Joe Taylor.
After the main stage music event ends, there are several campfires that attract some excellent musicians and the music is still going on when the sun rises. The Uncle Bill Roach Band puts on a good show from their campsite for a large group of people Saturday morning from 10:00 to 12:00 – here you’ll hear some good music, get a few giggles, and most likely leave with a free t-shirt, CD, or other giveaway.
At Larry Joe’s event you’ll also find: free breakfast on Sunday at one of the campsites; some excellent burgers and patty melts from the food vendors; and a very lively and somewhat rowdy crowd that provides great people watching.
This year we got some rain which created some interesting mud wrestling, great people watching, and vying for the muddiest person of weekend.This is a BYOB and BYOCB (bring your own chairs/blankets) event and ticket prices in 2006 were $34 for 3 days, $22 for two day, and primitive camping was $12 per day -- you can’t beat that for a great time and excellent music.
If you can afford the time off, try to attend Tuesday nights event which is limited to a small crowd, has some of the best musicians (this year was Bruce Robison, Roger Creager, Matt Martindale, Buzz Cason, and Larry Joe Taylor) and takes place in a nice setting in the trees around a campfire. Wednesday night is also some excellent music -- Rodney Crowell, Two Tons of Steel, and Larry Joe Taylor -- and a limited number of people.