When you get a chance to see Willie Nelson, you drop what you are doing and go to see him.
The original plan was to make it to Merritt, BC on Friday and stay all weekend and check out all the music. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen due to a combination of BC wildfires closing some roads and then some trouble with our transportation breaking down.
After all those hurdles we finally made it to the festival grounds on Sunday morning.
The event is very friendly and all the staff involved are helpful, courteous, and just plain lovely.
It really felt like I was just walking around at a family BBQ or something.
Throughout the day I walked over to the main stage and watched the bevvy of musicians serve up their set.
American country music singer Kacey Musgraves was one of the best of the day. She worked through her set with ease and delivered each song with power and grace. It is no wonder she has such a cult-like following, she was completely wonderful.
The big highlight of the day, however, was Willie Nelson. I have been waiting about ten years to see him. Throughout that time it has been a game of cat and mouse. I would wait patiently for a new string of tour dates from Willie and then I would frantically look at my calendar only to find out I wouldn’t be in town or would be at a wedding, or something similar. This time around though, I was ready and available to see him.
He walked out on stage with his trusty acoustic guitar, Trigger, in hand. His long braids, at around waist length, glowing from the backlight.
After a few pleseantries he began his set.
Though the power in his voice has long since gone, it has been replaced with a more delicate vocal range that was even more touching. He worked in a few songs that everyone loves to hear, like “Always on my Mind”, “If You’ve Got The Money, I’ve Got The Time”, and “Georgia On My Mind”.
Take a listen to a fan-shot video of “Always on my Mind” from the show:
I stood in awe, watching the set. This 84-year-old country music legend had the crowd eating out of the palm of his hand. He was energetic and spry and just purely amazing.
I hope to see Willie come through our neck of the woods again really soon.
Thank you to the people behind the festival, thank you to the artists, and thank you specifically to Willie Nelson for making my 2017 just perfect.
Photos of Willie Nelson + Kacey Musgraves + Kenny Hess + Trevor Panczak + Donny Grubb Band + Bees and the Bare Bones at Rockin' River Music Fest in Merritt, British Columbia by Cryptic Photography on August 6th, 2017