The Experience | Bands in the Backyard – Country Sweat, Tires & Dirt

I was just glad to have a night off from my serving job. I honestly didn’t see why everyone was making a big deal about Bands in the Backyard, musicians are people for goodness sake they just have big wallets. Nonetheless, I was going to go. It was a nice warm day out, but the haze from the Colorado fires hid the blue sky. I could still make out the sun though. 

Shirtless cowboys and cowgirls in dresses walked passed me in their cowboy boots. I waited eagerly in line for what felt like two hours. I people watched for a while before I wondered what was taking so long to get all these people in. As I neared the gate, I found that only four staff members were scanning tickets. The crowd bottlenecked through the entrance like cattle through a chute, appropriate since we are in the county. I was agitated. Eventually, a staff member instructed us to proceed to the shorter line intended for purchasing tickets at the door. As I moved from the long line, a lady rudely reminded me that she was in line in front of me. Psh, like it mattered, we’re all going the same route lady.

Once I was in, the arena was splendid. I let curiosity guide me and I thought, I want a beer. All the lines were long and I didn’t feel like waiting. Around me, there were men with dips deep in the corner of their mouths holding an ice-cold beer, women holding cowboy hats on their heads and shaking their hips to the tunes, others sat around on bales of hay and lawn chairs. Everyone’s boots and skin were caked in a thin layer of dust. 

It smelled like sweat, tires, and dirt. Tailgaters lined either side of the concert area. Mud pits were randomly placed and people gladly got rowdy in them. Beyond the tailgates, there was volleyball, a mechanical bull, horseshoes, a zipline, and a giant inflatable water slide, all stuff I didn’t feel like trying. I walked further in and found a shorter line where I bought a beer and margarita. The drinks cooled me down and kept my sweating at bay. 

I made my way to the front pretending there was someone up there waiting for me. I got as close as general admission would allow that didn’t alarm security. I stood behind a man who fought anyone who tried to steal his spot next to the fence. 

Honestly, I was here for Florida Georgia Line. Ya, Gary Allen you were good. I guess I need to catch up on what Parmalee has been doing. Sorry Overton Road, between leaving work and standing in line, I missed, you but congratulations on opening a line-up like this. But I was here for FGL. I was impressed with their live performance, not many can pull off pitch like that. No one told me that Florida Georgia Line’s lead singers looked like Chris Hemsworth and Christian Kane. They definitely weren’t the ordinary ruggedly handsome country men all the women desire, but then again, I don’t think too many women look at Blake Shelton and think, “He’s got that wide-eyed alarmed look going on, I would so have his babies.” For Florida Georgia Line being country, they sure had some tattoos, especially drummer Vin Diesel. They were handsome no doubt and the ladies loved them. I think I even saw a girl try to flash them. Once Cruise came on, everyone sang in unison and we all realized why we were there. 

Music brings everyone together using just one emotion, love. It’s what everyone sings about and what everyone is searching for, whether it’s your love for a truck or a person. The bass rumbled in my throat and I sang along, aware that the all other voices combined overpowered mine. The wind picked up the dust and mixed it with the haze from the fire making the sky that much gloomier. There was enough dust, haze, cigarette and marijuana smoke to make you crave real oxygen. The moon came up and turned a bright red. The colored lights from the set lit up the sky and thousands of faces. I swung my hips to the beat and I thought it would be great if there were a place for everyone to dance together.

— Kelly Branyik


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