Top Ten SXSW Kid-Friendly Events 2013

SXSW 2013

South by Southwest (SXSW), Austin’s world-famous music, film and interactive conference, is almost here. You might be thinking – SXSW is about loud music in crowded bars late at night, requiring an expensive wristband or badge, with no parking and long lines – so why mention it on a parenting blog? But, if SXSW has about six million events that are not kid-friendly, who cares, if it has at least one? And they don’t have just one, they have ten. These options don’t require a SXSW wristband or badge, are sometimes/mostly free, are during the day and (mostly) easy to get to. My SXSW for Moms-with-kids tips – pick one or two events, stay just one or two hours, get home for dinner and drink water instead of beer. If you are ready to take it on, here is the info…

NASA’s James Webb Telescope Exhibit
FIRST week of SXSW, during SXSW Interactive! Friday – Sunday, March 8-10, 12:00pm – 11:00pm
Long Center lawn, 701 W. Riverside Drive
The music portion of SXSW (March 12-17) gets all the girls, right? But the Interactive (March 8-12) and Film (March 8-16) conferences are pretty sexy too. NASA is playing a large role in the Interactive conference this year, with exhibits, panels and speakers. Most important, the James Webb Telescope Exhibit outside of the Long Center is free and open to the public. The exhibit includes a life-size model of the successor to the Hubble Telescope that is 100 times more powerful. The telescope will study how the universe was formed, if our solar system is unique and if we are alone in the cosmos. Imagine that! The model is the size of a tennis court, is four stories high and weighs 12,000 pounds. The NASA Experience Tent features displays, videos, multimedia products and hands-on activities. The model and the tent are designed to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers to push the boundaries of science and technology. That is pretty darn sexy!

Texas M.I.L.K.’s Mom Rocks
Sunday, March 10, 11:00am-5:00pm
Freddie’s Place1703 South First Street
Mom Rocks is back this year and it is one of my favorite events, because it is FOR Moms and FOR kids, on purpose. Live music is provided by Mom musicians including Sara HickmanThe Jitterbug Vipers and Shelley King. Kid’s activities are music related, pretty fun and free. Vendors from local businesses have some not-so-free options that I enjoyed very much last year.  The event moved to Freddie’s, one of Austin’s best kid-friendly live music venues, and they will have food available.  The event is hosted by Texas M.I.L.K. (Mothers I’d Like to Know), a growing collection of conversations with the Lone Star State’s most fascinating Texas Moms.

SXSW International Showcases at City Hall Plaza
Wednesday – Friday, March 13-15, 3:00pm-7:00pm
City Hall Plaza, 301 West 2nd Street
The City of Austin is hosting SXSW 2013 showcasing artists from around the world to play free for the public at Austin City Hall. How about this for a music-hiking-art combo – check out the art installation and music at Austin City Hall, then walk a few hundred feet south and walk the trails around Lady Bird Lake. This is a Growing Up Austin trifecta that doesn’t happen every day. The art exhibit is a rotating exhibit of local Austin artists that have won a juried competition. Rumor is that there is a lot of variety in style and mediums.  Paid parking is available at the city hall parking garage. UPDATE: The stage is outside, in front of City Hall, and close to very busy streets. This option is best for 5+ years old and babies, unless your toddlers are easy to manage.

School of Rock’s SXSW Showcase
Wednesday, March 13, 1:00pm – 6:00pm
Scholz Garten1607 San Jacinto
The School of Rock is an music school that combines traditional music lessons and ‘band’ lessons, like how to how to get along with your band mates and how to play in front of people. I take my kids to see grown-ups play music, so why not take them to see music made by people closer to their own size? Their house band, The B Team, and other kid bands will play music for free and food and drinks will be available. Parking shouldn’t be bad for this event, since it is a bit north of the action and there are several parking garages close by.

South Congress (SoCo) Walk
Wednesday, March 13 – Saturday March 16, 11am – 5pm
South Congress between Annie and Riverside
South Congress walks are free and funky and likely to be remembered. Bands play in just about any spot they can find with room for a drum set and an amp. The people-watching is world-class, since SXSW has it’s own sense of fashion, with equal parts cowboy boots and tattoos. The day time is the best because parking (mostly in neighborhoods) isn’t crazy yet, the sidewalks aren’t too packed and it is too hard to keep up with kiddos at night anyway. Bring a wagon, if the kids might get tired of walking. The walks are free, but bring a few bucks to tip the bands. If you get hungry, Guero’s is a great place for a sit-down meal indoors or a tasty snack on the patio. Indoors gets crowded, especially during SXSW, so off-peak hours are best. For Guero’s parking, head south on Congress, turn right on Elizabeth, then right into the first driveway. The parking garage on your left is free for two hours, with a validated ticket from the restaurant. UPDATE: Also good bets: South by San Jose at the San Jose Hotel and Music by the Slice at Home Slice Pizza (especially for Mother Falcon on Friday night.)

KUTX Live at the Four Seasons
Wednesday – Friday, March 13-15, 7-10:30am and Saturday, March 16, 8-11:30am
Four Seasons, 98 San Jacinto Blvd., Hotel Ballroom
KUT host live music performances at the Four Seasons downtown in the mornings during SXSW. The shows aren’t setup for kids specifically, but they are in a mostly contained space during the day, so it works. The lineup this year includes Amy Cook and Dana Falconberry, who both play way too early, unless your kids are early risers anyway. They request a $10 donation, benefiting the Seton Shivers Cancer Center, and they provide a breakfast taco, granola bar and coffee. Parking is available at the hotel at a discounted rate of $5 per car. UPDATE: Both broadcast series, KUTX and KGXR, have been especially packed this year, with reasonably close parking filling up by around 7am. This option is best if you and your kids are early birds.

KGSR SXSW Live Broadcast at the W.
Wednesday – Friday, March 13-15, 6am – 10am and Saturday, March 16, 8am – noon
W. Austin Hotel, 200 Lavaca Street, Great Room, 2nd floor
KGSR also hosts live music performances in the mornings during SXSW. This setup feels less kid-friendly, in a way I can’t define, except I called them once to ask them about it and they said it wasn’t kid-friendly. It is true that it gets crowded and very serious music fans are present, so it isn’t an option for everyone, especially certain toddlers, like my very own Buttercup. But, if you don’t have too many kids and they are babies or five+ years old, then why not head on down. The line-up is especially good, with the Divine Fits, Emmeylou Harris, Courtyard Hounds and more, so you might want to time it right, to see one of your favorites. They request a $5 donation to the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Central and South Texas and the first 300 people get a complimentary breakfast item. To enter, take the stairs at the corner of 2nd and Lavaca that lead to the ACL Live at Moody Theater, then head left towards the W Austin. Paid parking is available at the hotel and at the City Hall garage at 2nd and Ceasar Chavez. UPDATE: Both broadcast series, KUTX and KGXR, have been especially packed this year, with reasonably close parking filling up by around 7am. This option is best if you and your kids are early birds.

Roky Erickson’s Psychedelic Ice Cream Social at Threadgill’s
Friday,  March 15th, 11:30 AM – 7:00pm
Threadgill’s World Headquarters South, 301 W Riverside Dr
Threadgill’s World Headquarters is a home cooking restaurant and music venue in one. It’s hard to know which is more famous, the vegetable plate with choices like Red Beans and Rice, San Antonio Squash and Stewed Okra with Tomatoes or its musical history as home of the country+hippie mix, with legendary performers like Willie Nelson and Janis Joplin.  Threadgill’s has an outdoor stage that is self-contained for the kiddos, with seating for the grown-ups and room to dance for everyone. The parking is pretty decent, especially if you get there early. There is a $10 cover charge, but kids under twelve are free and so is the Amy’s ice cream.

SXSW at Auditorium Shores
Saturday, March 16, 1:30pm- dark
Auditorium Shores, 800 W Riverside Dr
Auditorium Shores has been the home of free music during SXSW for a long time. Sparkles saw her first SXSW here, when she was nine months old. Most of the action is in the evenings, when there are huge crowds, difficult parking and a dark skies, which makes for a lot of trouble with the kids. But, they also have Saturday afternoon shows, when the bands are still good and the younger adults are still home in bed. There are art and fashion vendors, if you want to do a little shopping. Food and drinks are available. If you get there early, the Palmer Events Center should have paid parking.

Austin Rodeo
Friday, March 8 – Saturday, March 23, 11:00am – 8:00pm
Travis County Expo Center7311 Decker Lane
This might not seem like part of SXSW, but most of the events in this post aren’t official SXSW events and the rodeo meets all the criteria for grown-up live music in a kid-friendly venue.  Rodeo Austin is held for two weeks every March, always overlapping with SXSW. They have mostly country and classic rock concerts on multiple stages; this year includes Restless Heart, Three Dog Night and Merle Haggard. They have a pro rodeo competition with steer wrestling, barrel racing and bull riding. The fairgrounds remind me of the last scene in the movie Grease, with fun houses, carnival games and cotton candy. They also have mini-roller-coasters, which were a big hit with niece and nephew when they were elementary-school-age. There is also a Kid’s Town where kids can ride a pony, visit a petting zoo and be a farmer for a day. The rodeo is an long-term commitment, because it is a bit of a drive out of town and parking takes a while. It can get pricey too. General admission is just $8 for adults and $5 for kids (under 2 are free), but parking is another $10 and the food, games, rides and concerts cost more.

Your Favorite Babysitter and Threadgill’s World Headquarters
Wednesday – Saturday, March 13-16, 9:00pm-ish, check lineup for exact times
Threadgill’s World Headquarters South, 301 W Riverside Dr
Your Favorite Babysitter isn’t a new indie band, it is literally, your favorite babysitter. Because, why should the kids have all the fun? Why not get a night out and enjoy the big event in our great city? It is a bit of a trick, with the wristbands and badges and all, but here is an option – check out the evening shows at Threadgill’s World Headquarters. During SXSW they have a great lineup of some of Austin’s most established musicians, including Marcia Ball, Jimmy LaFave and Del Castillo. (I would also mention Bob Schneider, but he doesn’t start until 11pm. What is up with that?) It isn’t exactly a daring lineup and it might be old news for people who see live music all the time, but hey, I don’t see live music all the time, so why not see some of Austin’s best? And there are the practical considerations as well. If you get to Threadgill’s early to have dinner first, you will most likely find parking at the restaurant. And, the show in the outside stage has a dirt floor and seating, unlike some indoor places with concrete floors that are impossible to stand on for long if you aren’t twenty-five anymore. The cover charges are a bit pricey, between $12 and $25, but the music and the venue are worth it.

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Well, shoot, that was eleven, not ten. Remember that AustinKidsDance.com provides information about grown-up live music in kid-friendly venues year-round, so check that out. Also check out AustinKidsHike.com (kid-friendly hikes right in town) and AustinKidsDraw.com (places for kids to see and do art). If you LIKE Growing Up Austin on Facebook (see button on the top, right of the page) or subscribe to an RSS feed (just below that), you will get regular updates. Have a great time!


In Search of ACL Musician Moms

Austin City Limits Music Festival

I wondered if the lady rock star atop an oddly orange capital dome was a Mom. She was on top of the highest hill in Zilker Park during the Austin City Limits Music Festival (ACL). But, my numbers show that she is six times more likely to have a felony record than to be an ACL musician that is also a Mom.

When I thought about how I would cover ACL this year, I decided not to interview musicians about their music or review their shows because there were plenty of other people doing that and that isn’t what I do best. I know Moms, so I looked for ACL musician Moms. Using the press contact list, Wikipedia and email, I found that out of 396 individuals playing on ACL stages, four were Moms: Elizabeth McQueen with Asleep at the Wheel, Jill Pierce and Tamsen Fynn with Orange Sherbet and Ruthie Foster. There was also one rumored-but-could-not-be-confirmed Mom, Yo-Landi Vi$$er with Die Antwoord.

In one way, it made sense. ACL features touring musicians and the out-of-town, late-night, usually-in-a-night-club scene isn’t a natural fit for the kids.

But, at the same time, surely there are women who play music and surely these women are in relationships and/or have sex at least some of the time and that some times leads to kids. And men musicians seem to be Dads without too much trouble. Where are the women musicians and their kids? Is it really that impossible to be a Mom and a musician at the same time?  Is there a way to have it all?

I decided to ask the experts, the proud and the few, the ACL Musician Moms. I talked with Elizabeth McQueen, Jill Pierce and Tamsen Fynn. There were two different interviews, but the questions were the same. I compiled them for an easier read. Here is what they had to say.

Carol: What are the unique challenges for a woman who wants to play music and also be a Mom?

Elizabeth: The accepted way of being a musician, and being a road musician especially, is that you leave everything at home including your family and that is just expected and accepted. And for men, it’s not that it’s not hard for guys, but if you are expected to be a provider and the way you provide for your family is through making music, and the way that you can make the most money is to go out on the road, then you’re going to do that, you’re going to make that sacrifice. I think women are much less likely to see that as a viable option.

Tamsen: I think the touring schedule is brutal and it’s very hard when you have children.

Jill: I think what is nice about the music we play together is that it’s kids music and our children have grown up coming to the gigs and it’s been appropriate for them so far. I have a memory of putting my daughter down for a nap in my guitar case. It was very exhausting though.

Tamsen: I think it is the touring and to be at this festival, it’s for touring musicians. It’s interesting, because we have had different experiences, going to the shows doesn’t work for my daughter. Jill’s kids are much more flexible and they are able to be there but I leave my daughter with my Mom or my brother.

Carol: For women in general, a person-to-person count of the women and men who are playing on an ACL stage, only 12% are women. Why do you think fewer women become professional musicians?

Elizabeth: I’d be interested to see with the next generation if that is true. I think the kids who are coming up now, the girls who I see in music or in the arts tend to be a lot more fearless than the women that I knew. Typically the stereotype is that women are mostly singers and guys are instrumentalists and I think that is changing a lot. I think a lot of younger girls are just not afraid to go after learning an instrument…And these girls, even though they may not identify as feminists, they were born into a world where equality is an accepted notion, so that is really empowering.

Tamsen: This might come back to the first issue of having it be hard to tour when you are a parent. The men I know who tour with bands go without their families. But the women I know who tour bring their kids with them or they stop touring or they never start.

Jill: I feel like this is also why the Lilith Fair was started because there wasn’t a lot of women represented. There were women playing, but maybe not as well represented at festivals. But we just saw some great women playing music, First Aid Kit, they were great.

Tamsen: They were amazing.

Carol: I had emailed them, because I emailed everybody to see if they were Moms, and their manager wrote back and said they are only 19 and 21.

Jill: Well, you never know, you have to see.

Carol: Women who work and have a family, there is always a balance between work and the family. And it maybe even a little more difficult a working musician who has a family. What ways have you found to balance the two?

Elizabeth: First of all, I don’t think it is any more difficult for us that it is for other parents. I think it’s difficult in different ways. I think it’s also just as difficult to be a stay-at-home parent. Let’s not kid ourselves, everyone is making sacrifices. Everyone is having to upend their own ideas of who they are and what they do. For us, it’s mostly a logistical game. It’s mostly because we don’t have a schedule that is set the same every week so for every tour, for ever gig, we have to figure out what we are going to do to get to that gig, whose going to watch the kids, how we are going to get there,  what it’s going to take and it can take some real mental and physical gymnastics… But at the same time, Dave and I get to co-parent our kids all the time. We get to be with our kids a ton. We have four and five days in a row without any gigs and we can live our lives, be with our kids and rest up.

Tamsen: A lot of support from other people, especially my husband. He has been amazingly supportive.

Jill: Steve plays with us and we have family, but not close by, so it’s by necessity that we have to bring our kids to the gigs. We just do it. Some times you have to bring your kids.

Carol: Are there ways that the music industry could be more flexible to make it easier for Moms?

Elizabeth: I don’t know if it’s that the music industry could be more flexible for moms… Its’ a weird upside down business. I guess, more than the music industry changing, it’s more of individual women deciding what kind of career they want to have. If you want to play music, there are ways to do it where you don’t have to leave all the time, if you want to have kids. If you are going to have kids, deciding what that’s going to look like for you because it might not look like what it looks like for someone else. That’s the only way to do it.

Tamsen: There is always room for any industry to be more conscious of how many women they are booking and making a concerted effort to make space for women musicians and to seek out female performers.

Jill: And to take it a step further, they are so thoughtful here [ACL]. It has been so great. Every base is covered as far as anything you could want. But, if you do have a baby, it would be nice to have a quiet chill tent where you could nurse. They have baby-changing stations now.  It seems like it is moving in that direction.

Carol: How has being a Mom influenced your music?

Elizabeth: It’s totally changed what I think is important to write about. And it still remains to be seen. I have a desire, I don’t know if this comes from being a Mother or just from where I’m at in my life, to be more collaborative with the whole process. I’m doing Kick Starter with my friends Brothers Lazaroff.  We are working together to create stuff, opposed to it just being me and my thing. Also, I think being a Mom makes you focus whatever energy you have left at the end of the day pretty efficiently doing whatever it is you want to do.

Tamsen: We play kids music now!

Jill: It has been huge. I mean, a huge percentage of songs I have written are either about my kids or loosely, directly or indirectly, about my kids.

Carol: What is your favorite part about being a Mom?

Elizabeth: It keeps evolving. First of all, being a Mom, being a parent is the ultimate mind expanding experience. If you spend your 20s searching for the meaning of things and what does it all mean, then you have a kid and you are like, oh, I get it. All the sudden everything is much bigger and broader and everything means something. It really does mean something. It’s not theoretical anymore. Now, being present with my kids as they discover the world is incredible.…Now I’m a parent and thank God I get to experience this, these moments. You know what, flying a kite, in the middle of a field, when it flies, that is awesome. That is totally awesome.

Tamsen: I think it is knowing that you are going to see this person grow up into an adult and you are going to see them grow up. They are going to become someone and you are right there to witness it. It is humbling.

Jill: Humbling is definitely the word. Especially with my nine-year-old, I’m starting to see who she is becoming.  It is so fun and unique. I can see where she is coming from, where she is me, where she is my husband and where she is just her.

Tamsen: My mom lives a few houses away and I’m very close with my Mom. I love spending time with the three of us together and they have a really sweet relationship. I love thinking about the fact that one day she and I will have a relationship like my Mom and I do.

Carol: What is your favorite thing to do with your kids?

Tamsen: Boogieboarding. My daughter loves the ocean. This summer, for the first time, we went boogieboarding. First of all, because I never would have gone boogieboarding if she hadn’t been so gung ho about it. We rented wet suits and we were away for a whole week, near San Fransisco. She is so uninhibited in the ocean, the ocean brings out and amazing side of children. That was really fun.

Carol: What is a story of when your kids made you laugh.

Elizabeth: This morning my youngest daughter discovered that she can twirl in a circle. She likes to dance, but she just learned how to walk. She has been dancing, just bouncing, but this morning she realized she can spin herself around in a circle and she was getting really dizzy and falling down which was terrifying and hilarious.

Carol: Do you have any tips you can share with other moms for getting your kids to go to sleep?

Jill: Our friend tells her friend to do the opposite of what I did. I didn’t care, I just wanted to sleep. I just did whatever it took, just get them to sleep so I can sleep. You know what, it is just for a few years and it gets easier, just try to keep that in mind, you can get through it.

Carol: Do you have anything to add?

Elizabeth: To any Mom who is considering doing any kind of alternate career path, especially a musician, because I know what that is, there are thousands of ways to do things, there are thousands of ways to have a career and there are thousands of ways to have a family and do what you want to do. If you keep spit-balling ideas, you will figure it out.

 

I wonder what it will be like when Sparkles and Buttercup are grown. I imagine there will be more Mom musicians on tour, more Dads at home, and a lot of other possibilities in-between. I can’t wait to see what happens.

Many thanks to Elizabeth McQueen, who plays with Asleep at the Wheel in Austin next on November 15 at the ACL Moody Theater, as part of The Best of Texas Music with Willie Nelson, Pat Green and many others. Many thanks to Tamsen Fynn and Jill Pierce. Orange Sherbet is harder to see live, since they play mostly in the San Fransisco area, but their latest CD, Delicious, can be found on Amazon.com.

UPDATE: Nicole Basham, Contributing Writer for LiveMom, found two more ACL Mom Musicians while doing her ACL homework: Kimbra and Amy Millan of The Stars.  Melinda McGraw of Jambo is also a Mom, but she didn’t play with the band at ACL. According to a HowStuffWorks post about criminal records, 6.5% of the American population has a felony record and 1.5% (8 of 389) of ACL musicians are Moms. It’s still pretty amazing!


ACL for Kids Review: Partly Cloudy with a Chance of Rain

Growing Up Austin - Austin Parenting

(I totally spaced on getting a good picture at ACL with Sparkles. This one looks like a serious medical procedure is taking place. No worries, she is just getting a temporary tattoo to go with her pink hair and superhero cape.)

I went to music festivals when I lived in Houston in the early 90s and this is what I remember.

  • Skimpy women’s fashion.
  • Cigarettes and pot.
  • Lots of heavy drinking that led to fights that sometimes involved the police.

One time I saw a fight with two women pulling out each others’ hair as they tumbled down a hill. I never thought that I would bring my kids one day.

But now it was twenty years later and I was a Mom and I wanted to give it a try. I brought Sparkles, who is 5-years-old, to the Austin City Limits Music Festival (ACL) last Saturday.

ACL is a long way from the festivals I went to when I was younger. Zilker Park is clean, the crowd is well-behaved and I haven’t seen any arrests in the several years that I’ve gone. And the festival welcomes kids. For one thing, kids ten and under get in free. For another, Austin Kiddie Limits is a section of the park just for kids, with temporary tattoos, pottery painting, a DJ workshop, video karaoke and more. There is a stage in Austin Kiddie Limits with kid-friendly bands.  What’s not to love?

Sparkles thought ACL was cool, because I told her you have to be five-years-old to go (my own personal rule) and that meant Buttercup had to stay home. Sparkles liked the activities and also the food (Austin Pizza‘s cheese pizza) and the treats (Coolhaus‘ ice cream sandwich). She waited a long time for H-E-Buddy‘s Alter Ego Factory, because one small part of it was face painting and she loves face painting.

Do you remember how Sparkles has declared that she doesn’t like hiking? On this day, she declared that she doesn’t like live music either. Please, no one tell her about the art section of my blog, or she might decide she doesn’t like to draw anymore too. 🙁

There were a few minor, less-kid-friendly parts of the day. Skimpy women’s fashion hasn’t gone away altogether and Sparkles screamed at one point, “I CAN SEE HER BRA!!!” She saw another person light up a cigarette and she looked at him the same as if he were completely naked. Then there was Big K.R.I.T. on the Honda stage, just feet from the entrance to Austin Kiddie Limits.  As Sparkles and I left, the announcer for the band screamed, “DO YOU WANT TO HEAR SOME MOTHER F#$%#$% MUSIC!!!!!!!?!?!?!?!”

We were leaving because Sparkles was tired. We had been there for three hours, on a hot and humid day, and she was done. We called Blue Eyes and asked him to come get us. As we walked to the pick-up spot, Sparkles said, “I wish we hadn’t come.”

I picked her up and she leaned her head on my shoulder. I got my phone out of my bag and started to record my next interview. Sparkles must have felt a little better, not having to walk anymore, because she softened her stance.

[Carol] Sparkles, how did you like ACL this year?

[Sparkles] (In a soft, tired voice.) Good.

[Carol] What was your favorite part?

[Sparkles] Um, my hair getting dyed.

[Carol] What color is your hair right now?

[Sparkles] Pink.

[Carol] What was your least favorite part?

[Sparkles] My face getting a butterfly.

[Carol] (Confusion.) Did you like that part or not like it?

[Sparkles] I liked it.

[Carol] What was your favorite thing you ate?

[Sparkles] The frozen pop.

[Carol] What would you tell other kids who were thinking about going to ACL so they could have fun?

[Sparkles] I don’t know. (Her eyes are getting droopy.)

[Carol] Would you come back next year?

[Sparkles] Yes. (Eyes close.)

As I carried her across the pedestrian bridge at Mopac, I decided that our day felt like the weather, partly cloudy with a chance of rain, not the perfect day, but not too bad either. I wondered if I would like to come back next year with one or both of my girls. The type of things Sparkles enjoyed most could be found at a community festival or Nutty Brown Cafe‘s summer kids’ nights. Those events are much easier to get to and from and they don’t require an adult-priced ACL ticket for Mom and/or Dad.

In the end, I’m neutral. I might do it again and I might not. For other kids and parents, I think it depends on you and your kid and what y’all like and don’t like. It can be fun, but there are simpler, easier ways to have fun too.

The surprise ending to this day is that Blue Eyes offered to take Sparkles home and let me stay at the festival. Thanks, Blue Eyes! I connected with some friends, I escaped from the hardest rain under a tent and I got to see Jack White after all.

The stage was bathed in blue light. Jack White felt like equal parts of brilliance and crazy. He was backed by five strong, wicked-talented, female musicians. His show was why I love live music, when you feel it in your bones and you stop thinking about anything else.

That ending wouldn’t have happened at a community festival. Hmm, maybe I’ll split the day on purpose next year. We’ll have to wait and see.

 (Stay tuned for the Meredith Walker, Smart Girls at the Party interview, coming very soon!)