Imagine this - two days of eating delicious fresh boiled crawfish along with drinkin' lots of cold beer, enjoying some excellent Zydeco and country music from some very talented singer songwriters, dancin', partyin', laughin', and hangin' with a small crowd of music lovers along the bank of Lake Livingston on a sunny day and moon and star lit night! It just doesn't get much better than the March 22nd and 23rd 2013 Crawfish & Cowboys Music Festival held at Waterfront Lodge, Marina, and RV Park on Lake Livingston.
For the second year in a row, Waterfront Lodge has been host to this fun music festival and what a perfect location to enjoy some great music. Waterfront has a lodge with 24 good sized rooms that overlook the lake plus 30 full hook-up RV sites that are on a small peninsula jutting into Lake Livingston, a marina and two boat ramps, a small convenience store, a fishing pier, restaurant with a huge deck over the lake, an outstanding bar/dance hall, and a large grassy field where the festival was held. You could sit outside your room or next to your camper or in your boat and listen to the music or break out the lawn chairs or a blanket and relax in front of the stage - the stage was less than 400 yards from the Lodge and restaurant. Parking was convenient and a shuttle ran you right to the entrance gate. Read our review of Waterfront Lodge, Marina, & RV Park to learn more.
Friday's Music at Crawfish & Cowboys
Around four on Friday, the Waterfront parking lot starting getting crowded, and the fans starting filtering through the entrance to pick a grassy spot to listen to the music for the evening. The stage is set up at the end of a 300 yard grassy field with the lake on the left side and trees along the right and back of the stage. Lots of picnic tables were set up near the entrance for munching down on the crawfish and food and beer vendors were along each side of the field. Shortly after the music kicked off around 6, several jet skis, fishing and pontoon boats loaded with music fans dropped anchor just off shore to enjoy the entertainment.
The Zydeco Dots kicked it off around 6 with a lively and fun set of Zydeco music. Winners of the Houston Press Music Award as The #1 Zydeco Band. What makes the Zydeco Dots so successfully popular and enjoyable is because they are a fun-loving, hard working, and talented Houston-based group that plays a dancin', rockin', bluesiana blend of zydeco R&R, R&B, C&W, and other varieties of music. Loved it when one band member strolled through the music fans singing and strumming his washer board with spoons. A fun set and great way to kick off the music for the weekend.
Wayne Toups was the headliner for Friday's music and he was outstanding - he played for two straight hours and we wished he would have gone another two! Wayne is one of the most successful American Cajun singer songwriters as evidenced by the following: Offbeat Magazine Album of the Year recipient, Member of The Louisiana Music Hall of Fame, Gulf Coast Hall of Fame, and Cajun French Music Hall of Fame, 55th Annual Grammy Award Winner, and several number one records and albums. Dubbed the "The Cajun Springsteen" or "Le Boss" Wayne has an unmistakable spicy blend of R&B textures of Zydeco music coupled with an undeniable charisma as a rocker. Wayne combined his love of Cajun music, rock, folk, rhythm and blues, and zydeco into a genre that he call Zydecajun - and it is truly infectious. Singing in both French and English, backed by an outstanding band, and loaded with charisma and energy, Wayne had us all on our feet dancing or at least swinging our bootie!
Backseat Molly, from nearby Palestine, Texas and winners of the 2011 Rising Star Award, kicked off the music on Saturday around 2:45 with a good mixture of country and rock playing both originals and covers with a high octane foot stomping live show. Their debut album and single, "Texas Not Tennessee," which is experiencing great success speaks to their intended defiance to hold true to Texas country music. These spirited youthful rockers play and pump industrial twang, loud and hard, unafraid to push the often blurred boundaries of what is pop and what is country. With a lead vocalist who does not shy his responsibilities, a fiddle player who stokes the needed fire and a raft of guitars that can cut deep, along with a working set of songs that will not leave you alone, the band is energetic and exciting to watch and listen to.
Rosehill - wow, loved these guys (Blake Myers and Mitch McBain from Cypress, Texas) with a very good unique sound, toe tapping songs with catchy lyrics, and every song is a little different. According to Lone Star Music Magazine "The guitars are poetic, the words are intriguing, and the rock 'n' roll kinetic. These guys have real potential to make a positive impact on this scene."
Jason Cassidy is on a roll and it shows - he's been playing lots of gigs, gaining recognition and fame, and his #1 Texas single, Honky Tonk Heaven, was followed by a Top 10 single on the Texas Charts called "What If". Great stage presence, a rich and expressive tone, and a great range of traditional country “and honky-tonk with an edge" are some of the reasons we loved his set.
Stoney LaRue, one of the pioneers of "Texas Red Dirt Music" scene, has always been one of our favorites and his set at Crawfish & Cowboys was one of his best! Wow! Stoney LaRue was excellent and he is backed by a very talented group of singers and musicians that combines the rootsy, emotionally honest sound of country with the beer-drinking swagger of heartland rock and a dash of the moody undercurrents of the blues. What a show!
Each evening the music had to stop at 10, but the party people migrated over to Hookers next to the Waterfront Lodge and continued to party until the bar closed!
Crawfish & Cowboys is a Mark Taylor Production in conjunction with A-Blake Entertainment and they sponsor several music festivals with a Crawfish twist held in a number of regional areas in Texas each year. The festivals are all family and kid friendly and feature music from local music acts and featured entertainers. Our thanks go out to Dave and Blake from A-Blake Entertainment for putting together a fun festival. A well run festival, excellent line-up, great setting, and perfect acoustics.
Fans, Food, Drink, and Merch
Part of what makes Crawfish & Cowboys enjoyable are the music fans that love cajun and country music. They were friendly, outgoing, and ready to have some fun.
This is a very kid friendly festival and there were lots of them enjoying the music, running through the trees, playing frisbee, eating crawfish, or just sitting on a stump looking at the lake.
You can't have a music festival called "Crawfish & Cowboys" without lots of fresh cooked crawfish and plenty of cold beer.
In addition to the crawfish, you could purchase Turkey Legs or Sausage on a Stick from Onalaska Lions Club; thick juicy burgers, dogs, fries, and more from Little Food Shack: and funnel cake and ice cream.
Or you could walk over to Hookers at Waterfront Lodge and enjoy some of the food on their menu and sit on the deck and still enjoy the music.
And of course there were CDs, T-shirts, and more available for puchase from both festival vendors as well as several of the bands.
Bottom Line - Crawfish & Cowboys was a very pleasant surprise with an excellent award winning lineup, friendly crowd, reasonable prices, close by lodging and camping, great setting on the lake, and good times. See you there next year.