Any other day on the calendar in Dripping Springs would find this spot on the map a quaint, charming Sunday drive through. Maybe explore a couple streets to the north, a couple streets to the south. Stop at the DQ for a blizzard and then keep traveling towards Austin or Johnson City.
Not this day, not this weekend. October 18-20th 2019 Mercer Street was THE spot on the map to be.. but not for just anyone.
Much like a connoisseur swirling a glass of fine wine, this music festival of story tellers is to be savored. This is a space and time of relationship making, genre bridging, a regular story sharing reunion. Once you've been, you are in for for the long run. You wonder why you've never been and can't imagine not going back.
The difference between this festival and others is the songwriters experience. The entire 3-days of music is designed around that of the musicians who perform. Each venue that hosts the artists becomes a listening room. There is no talking during the performances, to do so is not only distracting, but disrespectful. It is preferred that you don't outwardly be recording or filming the stage activity. To do so may cause an artist to become flustered or self conscious.
Numerous businesses host a stage and viewing area. It's rain or shine. I have to say, last year I got soaked, and happily did so. This year, I fried. It isn't about my comfort. It's about absorbing the experience, becoming one with the music and letting it fill your soul. It's a free high.
Households put up the visiting artists that travel from down the street to across the ocean. Businesses sponsor their meals. The town embraces this event, rolls out the carpet and closes the street. Guests are treated to a respite from the work week, the daily grind. Merchandise that funds the authors travel to and from the event is for sale in one location on the street as well as various mementos of the festival itself. If all this isn't amazing enough, the artists that are selected to play this gig all sign the banner as well as a guitar. Both are raffled off and the money donated to the charity, Kids In A New Groove.
This was the 6th year for this incredible event, my 3rd. I wait all year for this weekend to be able to embrace friends from other places and share this common experience. To quote Nashville artist Chris Moyse, "This is what we have. This is what we do" as he gives me a hug. Every year, this is what we have. Check out their website, as well as the write ups here.
Laurie and Jim Halfpenny along with Dave Niemeyer are founders of the Dripping Springs Songwriters Festival and have every reason to be proud of this event! I love the experience and the opportunity to meet these amazing artists. 45 this year. Intimate environment, camaraderie, relationships formed and solidified, shared stories. It doesn't get better than this. Oh, and this background picture...? This is Austin artist Scott Collins doing a bucket list item trust fall. He never missed a beat.