LJT 2019

LJT is nigh upon us once more.  For twenty years it was my home each April.  Now, I stand on the sidelines like a proud coach and watch all the crazy college kids following in our footsteps.  I personally retired from LJT a couple years back.  But, Galleywinter remains a presence on the grounds. We’re sending our photographers out there to document all of it this year.  If you see Tim Murphy, give him something good in front of the glass.For me, the moment that cemented it was time to hang it up was when a young lady walked up to our group on the walk back from the mainstage with a beer funnel and said to her friends, “Hey guys! Let’s shotgun a beer with the dads.”  It was at that moment that I realized it was time to pass the baton.  No Dirk-style tributes or Witten going to Monday Night Football offers required.  It was just time.  

LJT is a special place.  What was started around a small campfire guitar pull gathering has blossomed into the biggest festival in the state each year. The Taylor family are some of the best I’ve ever encountered in the music industry.  They have grown and adapted each year with the needs of an event this size.  It’s hard to make everyone happy, but they certainly try.  In the early days, the music was the sole focus.  Then, some knuckleheaded college kids from San Marcos and many like them from across the state started crashing the party.  We upped the testosterone and adrenaline levels.  It was pre-Jackass Jackass style stunts, drinking more than our fill and rowdy carousing for about 21 hours out of each day we were there. Our first forays happened in Meridian.  That site still holds my favorite memories of the festival.  Be it, Jack Ingram crashing in our RV.  Ragweed playing acoustic in front of a flaming teepee. Watching folks skinnydip in the North Bosque River like they actually were at Woodstock. Conversations with deputies on horseback. Wallet on fishing line trick. Guitar pulls to sunrise.  “Borrowing” LJT’s ATV with Josh Grider and Drew Kennedy to drag race Randy Rogers on bicycle.  Campsite hopping with Josh Abbott, Evan Felker, Courtney Patton, LJT and more.   Doug Moreland doing chainsaw art at our campsite.  Using a state of the art camcorder to record all the debauchery to watch when we got back home.  Flying RRB’s “Wendy” from a flagpole.  A barely out of grade school Maren Morris jamming campsites alongside Johnny Cooper. Emptying our RV’s dirty water into an old cooler we found and putting a free beer sign on it.  Somebody lighting approximately 6,000 blackcats in our campsite vicinity at 5am. And plenty other things that still aren’t fit to print and probably never will be.  Let’s just say many of our early to mid LJT experiences made Motley Crue look like boy scouts.But, much like the Crue, the music was always at the centerpiece of our adventures and misadventures.  That was the main reason we went.  And each year, the music kept us coming back.  It’s still the alluring vixen we can’t get enough of. As we transitioned from shotgunning college kids into shotgunning dads our vantage point from the mainstage has moved further back.  What was once the mosh pit is now the front from of the Chicken on a Stick stand.  Casual observers to the rowdiness all around.  It’s a new generation’s time for exploits, memories and Caligula level partying.We used to have to take everything we’d need for 5 days.  The only things we purchased on site were ice, fried chicken and burritos.  Now, there’s a bar, beer store, and enough vendors to fill up a county fair.  The transformation has been amazing.  What was once a barren landscape is now full of good times infrastructure.I’ve seen hundreds of artists perform at Melody Mountain Ranch over the years.  Some have played each year since the inception, some are debuting this year.  When we first began going and people would ask where we were going each April it was hard to describe.  What in 2001 was “Uh, it’s this music festival that’s kind of like a Redneck Woodstock.  Pat Green type bands play there.  It’s really rowdy.”  Became “LJT” by 2009. The name is synonymous with songs, good times, Spring Break level rowdiness and completely Texan.  It’s an experience to be certain.  It’s one I’m glad I took part in for so long.  But, now I watch it from a Jerry Jones luxury box a la Tony Romo at a Cowboys game.  Chase your dreams, kids.  Be nice to one another.  Share some food with your neighbors. Hit up that late night guitar pull. Try to take care of one another out there. Keep it loose, lit and loud…but always have someone in the group in control. Erath County Jail thanks you in advance.

Here are the sets we’ll be especially tuned in to. Where will we see you?

Mon April 22
Josh Grider
Six Market BlvdTue April 23
Wade Bowen
Pat GreenWed April 24 
Max Stalling
Adam Hood
Shane Smith and the Saints

Thur April 25Kylie Rae Harris
The Damn Quails
Jason Eady/Courtney Patton
Kaitlinn Butts
John Baumann
Flatland Cavalry
William Clark Green
Randy Rogers BandFri April 26Steve Helms
Chris Colston
Coby Wier
Dirty River Boys
Kody West
Read Southall
Koe WetzelSat April 271100 Springs
Walt Wilkins
Jarrod Morris
Prophets and Outlaws
Roger Creager
Josh Abbott BandReplyForward

Brad Beheler

Raised in Waco, refined in the Hill Country, escaped from DFW. I've worked in just about every facet of the music business for 20 years. I like to write about it all. e-mail Brad Editor-in-Chief

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