By JESSIE HORTON
ERATH COUNTY (April 12, 2015) — There’s a feeling in the air across Erath County, if you listen you can almost hear it already – it’s time for the 27th annual Larry Joe Taylor Festival!
With less than 10 days until kickoff, Stephenville and Melody Mountain Ranch are getting ready for the yearly welcome to spring event which brings more than 50,000 concert goers to town each year. But it isn’t only college students coming to Erath County, many concert goers are a little (or a lot) older than that, and make a vacation out of the event, bringing RVs and camping for the entire week.
However, county officials say, a majority of the crowd will be college students, and they’re stepping up security in the county. As they have been for several years, local law enforcement will provide off-duty officers as security at the event in addition to the security provided by DNL Security from Dallas, who’ve been hired by LJT staff. Texas DPS officers from across the region will be in Erath County to help keep the roads and highways safe, as well.
“Local law enforcement, as well as officers from all over the area, come to help us out and help the guys from DNL. They’re really all great and work really well together to keep everyone out here safe,” said event organizer Martha Taylor. “One of our main priorities is keeping everyone safe while they’re out here and these crews are excellent at helping us make sure that’s the case.”
The ranch itself, which encompasses approximately 400 acres, has more than 4,000 campsites for attendees to reserve. This, not only makes it convenient and fun for concert goers, it keeps everyone safely off the highways. Melody Mountain has spots for RVs, but they also have spots for tents and trucks, too. And showers and bathrooms for those using the more primitive camping spots.
“We try to make sure we’ve thought of everything for those who plan on coming out for the entire event,” Taylor said. “This year, concert goers will notice the added roofing to the main stage. It’s more like a pavilion now and will protect our photographers and press, security and the bands themselves, as well as those in the first few rows of the audience. It’s going to make a real big difference when we face inclement weather.”
The event is held Tuesday through Saturday and will include outstanding artists like Mark McKinney, Deryl Dodd, Bleu Edmondson, Charlie Robison, Davin James, Roger Creager, Michael Hearne, Bart Crow, Cory Morrow, William Clark Green, Stoney LaRue, Josh Abbott Band, Brandon Rhyder, Kevin Fowler, Wade Bowen, Randy Rogers Band, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Dolly Shine, Adam Hood, Luke Wade, the Tejas Brothers, Larry Joe Taylor himself, and so many more.
If you haven’t made plans yet, there are no RV spots are left, but LJT still has a few of the more primitive campsites and tickets available on their website (www.larryjoetaylor.com) or by calling them at 254.968.8505. Taylor said the website is sold out of six-day tickets and almost sold out of five-day tickets, however, she said there could still be some six-day tickets at Erath County vendors like Barefoot or Signs and Designs.