…literally! (fact: winds reached 85km)
This was my first time experiencing the legendary country music hoe down in Merritt B.C. I had read about previous years and the recent absence of 2010’s offering due to various financial reasons. I like to think that I am an open minded person with a pretty good attitude towards life in general. Upon first impression I was struck by the very friendly front of house staff who greeted us with smiles and enthusiasm. We drove in and passed several volunteers who were huddled in parkas, toques and mittens that still mustered a friendly smile for us. There was a bit of confusion when we were trying to figure out where exactly we were designated to camp. We stood in the middle of the field peppered with tents and RV’s and in the vicious wind we tried to find a spot where we could nestle in between a couple big wind blocking RV’s. I was scheduled to perform in a showcase shortly after we arrived so we opted to hold off pitching our tent until after the show in hopes the wind would settle a bit.
The showcase had a nice gathering even though the wicked winds were kicking up dust and hay. I actually had to hold onto my hat and slightly lean forward to become aero dynamic or risk becoming a sail. This was the only performance I was scheduled to give so to my knowledge at that time I was free to begin diggin’ into the cold beers and chill (pun intended) for the remainder of the fest…but this is when the weekend got a super upgrade for me, my wife and my sister in-law.
My publisher approached me and in a whisper said: “I think we need you to play the main stage on Saturday, Montgomery Gentry’s plane is broken down” At that point there was a split personality moment, the exterior me calmly responded: “oh ok, sure no problem” while my interior began to plummet down a massive roller coaster. I nonchalantly walked over to my wife and whispered: “Lukie’s playing the mainstage tomorrow” My wife gave me her stealthy smiling eyes and we waited to talk about it any further until after we moved away form the crowd. So needless to say our weekend got a whole lot better. I won’t go into the whole days events because frankly it all seems a bit of a blur, autographs, media tent, kissing babies, I even made The Province Newspaper! The group of singer/songwriters I got to perform along side were inspiring! I know I did my job, nailed it in fact! This all happened entirely because of our friends and publishers Ron & Sue Irving at SueCo Publishing. We owe so much to those two, they work miracles and I always just hope that I can rise to the occasion, that day I did.
All in all, if we had not had the whole main stage upgrade experience, we still would have had an enjoyable time, we had extra clothes, good beer and good company, what else do you possibly need to have a good time!? As I like to say: “It doesn’t matter where you are, it’s who you’re with” and although Merritt has seen higher caliber acts and larger turnouts, I can’t complain. Merritt, you can count on seeing us next year…just try not to blow me away so much!