If you’ve been following along on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook, you know by now we have been kicking up our heels at Willie Nelson’s Texas ranch at the third annual Heartbreaker Banquet music festival. The ranch is right outside Austin in a area called the Hill Country…my favorite area of Texas, with rolling hills of mesquite trees, lavender Junes and the best damn BBQ in the world (sorry Kansas). Pulling up onto Willie’s property is like something out of an old Western…which makes sense, since it was the film set for the movie “Red Headed Stranger“! Wood fences with horses everywhere grazing on the Texas grass, leading you up to a a small old Main Street with a general store, saloon and wooden store fronts. All we needed was John Wayne to ride up and say Howdy!
Squarespace, the awesome website design company whose templates make your life easier and your site look amazing, took over the old General Store giving away t-shirts, guitar picks, flasks, bandanas and more. Many of the independent bands playing the festival use Squarespace as an easy way to have a professional site without any of the time-consuming work.
I got to take over their Instagram and capture all the day’s happenings which was one amazing thing after another starting with watching the Portland Tintype man Giles Clement set up his gear to take hauntingly beautiful tintype portraits of all the musicians. I have been following his work for a while as well as the guys in New York at the Penumbra Foundation so I was crawling out of my skin to see his process… and stalking him like a true photo geek. It was also so great to see producers Electric Lady Studios and Robot Fondue at the festival as well; their work is incredible!
The night before when we arrived in Austin, we met up with a couple of the Squarespace musicians where we were introduced to Daniel and the Lion. One of the most romantic and beautiful things about being a musician is that the music comes from within you. While hanging out in the house we were sharing they broke into impromptu song and captivated our souls. They, along with our friend Matt Sucich and Lily & the Parlour Tricks, played the next day in the Squarespace General Store in-between the main stage acts which most famously ended with the man himself, Willie Nelson, taking the stage. When that moment came, I stood there under his microphone, so close to that famous guitar and braided hair, completely in awe that I was watching this Texas legend. I grew up listening to “Mama, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Cowboys” and “On the Road Again”, and now I was here with the real live thing. It was such a moment, such a reminder of where I came from and how important music is to us culturally. It was a day of creative souls coming together, of delicious BBQ, moonshine cocktails, gorgeous Texas skies and making memories with friends.
At one point, Jessica Kausen who manages events at Squarespace, looked around the room and said, “Well. We can thank the Internet for this, that’s how we all met and now we are all here, isn’t that amazing?” Yes, it is.