Colten Sneed

News Editor

Some of the biggest names and rising stars in the Texas Country music scene and some of the state’s best barbecue restaurants will gather in downtown Tyler on May 6 for the fourth annual Red Dirt BBQ and Music Festival.

“We have sold out every year, and this year we sold out about a week or two ago. So we sold out this year almost a month in advance,” said host of Radio Texas, Live Buddy Logan.

Logan’s nationally radio syndicated show, which is recorded at KNUE in Tyler, is one of the main components of putting the festival together locally. On a national level, Townsquare Media, which owns KNUE, is also a big contributor to the event.

Chase Colston with KNUE came up with the idea of hosting the festival and the first one was hosted in 2014 with headliner Randy Rogers Band. The first year sold out as almost 4,000 were on hand.

“The biggest difference I’ve seen since the beginning is more bathrooms as crazy as that seems. We also added Bud Light to our already large beer selection and more barbeque joints are seeing the success and want to be a part of it,” Logan said.

This year’s music lineup is bringing in one of the biggest names out there to headline in Cody Johnson. The other artists’ to perform at the festival include Wade Bowen, Cody Canada and the Departed, Shane Smith and the Saints and Flatland Calvary. The 2017 lineup is one of the biggest regarding popularity, but it also adds a variety of music as well.

“It’s not all country music. There is some soul, some rock. Cody Johnson who is headlining is definitely country. Cody Canada who was with Cross Canadian Ragweed is more rock than country,” said Logan. “I think Flatland Calvary has got more of a folk sound to them. Shane Smith is an amazing band, they will be huge, and I’d say they’re also more of a folk sound too. Wade Bowen is somewhere in the middle of all of that. It is really a cross-sampling of the scene, really.”

The Texas Country music scene over the past few years has started making an impact on a national level. Acts such as Cody Johnson, Cody Jinks, Granger Smith, Aaron Watson, and Josh Abbott Band have gained popularity across the nation after being huge name groups in Texas. Many bands now are following in those steps to make it big.

“With Texas music, it’s more independent. Most of these guys still do a lot of writing and collaborating in Nashville. But what sets them apart from mainstream is they have more freedom to do what they want and how they want. People connect with that a little differently because it is more genuine,” said Logan. “Not saying that the mainstream stuff is bad, it’s just these guys more often than not write their own songs and they sing and travel to perform them.”

While music is a huge part of the festival, many people come for the barbeque as well. 23 local and statewide favorites like Stanley’s, Country Tavern and Bodacious Bar-B-Q are going to be represented. Other famous barbeque joints across the state of Texas will be there as well including Louis Mueller from the Austin area and Opie’s Barbecue.

“The fact these major barbecue joints keeping back speaks volume to the team around us. They don’t come and make money off of this. They get to hang out with all their friends and talk barbecue and spread their barbecue to this area,” said Logan.

This year’s festival will be May 6 in downtown Tyler and next year’s festival is already in the works. For more information on the festival go to www.reddirtbbqfest.com.

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