By AMANDA KIMBLE
STEPHENVILLE (September 28, 2016) – What do you get when you take two hometown boys, a group of music-loving traveling companions and a lineup of singer-songwriters, and send them to London, England? A good time.
Texas Music Takeover is a seven-day adventure set for November 28 – December 5 with an experience that includes travel abroad and an itinerary that’s packed full of live entertainment at venues across London, as well as after parties, day excursions and more.
The best part, for music lovers, is everyone who embarks on the Rival Entertainment-hosted event is treated like a VIP.
“These trips make sure everyone enjoys the same experience,” organizer Stephen “Stevie Ray” Bethea said. “The whole point is to have fun.”
It isn’t every day music lovers get to see the sights and explore new lands alongside Texas Music talents and up and coming artists. But crafting tour experiences that include such excursions, plenty of pub time and performances throughout are what Bethea and Rival Entertainment are all about.
Bethea and Jon Reedy, best friends turned business partners, have spent the last few months finalizing plans for Texas Music Takeover, Rival’s first UK-based event. The whirlwind effort has brought together a lineup of Bethea’s contacts and a number of friends with ties to Stephenville area who have helped organize and promote the event, plus an artist or two with local ties as well.
“The lineup is super strong,” Reedy said. “They are all great people with great stories. They’re each at a different place in their careers and are excited to play with each other.”
The Texas Music Takeover London lineup includes Jack Ingram, Jason Boland & The Stragglers, Sean McConnell, Luke Wade, Austin Allsup, The Randy Brown Show, Eric Middleton of/ Midnight River Choir, Aaron Sandoval Band, Joey Green, Sarah Hobbs and Donice Morace.
The event will include an UK release for McConnell’s latest album, and Rival Entertainment expects to have other British releases in the future.
Bethea plenty of experience planning and successfully executing parties. Lots of parties. From hometown shindigs back in the good old days (he and Reedy are members of Stephenville High School Class of 1993) to excursions to Mexico, the Dominican Republic and Jamaica to a well-attended annual musical festival that took a number of Texas Music talents to Ireland, Bethea’s friends and clients know he has a knack for organizing a good time.
“At this point, I am very well versed in these trips,” Bethea said, adding he sought out a fresh, new backdrop for his latest endeavor.
London offers a new destination, but Bethea said Texas Music Takeover has already established a presence in the city. He said the event is getting “an insane amount of publicity” in England, where venue managers didn’t hesitate to book the shows.
“It’s definitely worth it for the establishments, which could see as much as $50,000 in bar sales in a single night,” Bethea said, adding that prior to booking the tour, the venue manager called on Irish colleagues to inquiry about the Texas-based tours.
“They’re rolling out the red carpet,” he said.
The Texas Music scene has exploded across the United States the last few years. And, the duo explained now is the perfect time to take the sound 5,000 miles from home.
“The UK is such a big market for country music, and when they hear ‘Texas Music,’ they think of country,” Bethea said.
“Texas Music” may stir images of country crooners and 10-gallon cowboy hats. But the tour’s organizers know Londoners and other attendees not versed in everything the scene offers will be pleasantly surprised by a soundscape that’s vast and varied.
“We are in the sweet spot (the UK and Europe) for the genre, no matter what you call it,” Reedy added. “We have a unique period of time when both artists and fans are in a period of expansion and looking for something new, and we have people traveling from Germany and France to take part in this.”
Rival Entertainment has forged a bond with London area organizations that helped Texas Music Takeover book venues that will hold as many as 500 people and expects to sell out every show, allowing American who embark on the tour to party alongside locals and other travelers who are enjoying a night out.
There is no set itinerary outside of the shows and venues, but Bethea said the group will experience it all together.
“We could end up in Paris or have an impromptu show at Stonehenge,” he said.
All travel packages include non-stop flights on American Airlines, accommodations in a four-star hotel, an English breakfast, transportation to and from the airport and entry into all of the shows on the Texas Music Takeover tour. Other meals and excursions are separate expenses.
“We want everyone to experience the experience,” Bethea said. “Five nights of live music, pass the guitar after parties and excursions in between.”