The three-year-old fest takes place again in Main Street Garden in downtown Dallas and is, of course, headlined by Dallas' own alt-country forerunners the Old 97's. The tallest guest at the fest will be a 40-foot Ferris wheel, one of several markers that this County Fair has become the twangy younger sibling to the more rock-centered Homegrown Fest, produced annually each May by the same company in the same location.
Cali-based indie-folk outfit Lord Huron, no stranger to large local crowds as evidenced by packed shows at Bomb Factory and Southside Ballroom, will take the stage prior to the Old 97's. Joining them on the bill will be genre-bending country group the Mavericks, who, despite their flair for fusing Latin, rock and folk flourishes, thrived as a chart-topping, Grammy-winning country group in the mid '90s before breaking up and reuniting with arguably its strongest, most daring music ever.
It's not that last year's festival (with Lucinda Williams, Mavis Staples and the Jayhawks, among others), looked and sounded the same. But the top half of that bill carried an esteemed and established feel catering more to the over-40 type than to a younger, more adventurous or indie-rock leaning crowd.
This year's fest hits that younger demographic, at least to a certain extent. Together since only 2010, Lord Huron is a band of pups compared to legends such as Williams and Staples.
Here are other acts that give this year's lineup a refreshing mix while retaining the twangy cohesion this festival continues to employ as its identity:
- Tennessee native Valerie June, a breathtaking roots-music talent who can seemingly make any stringed instrument bend to her creative will
- Dallas-based old-school country troubadour Paul Cauthen
- Erika Wennerstrom, the lead singer of the Heartless Bastards
- The Bottle Rockets, a veteran crew that belongs with the 97's in any conversation of trailblazing alt-country acts
Also on the lineup are Jamie Wyatt and Bastards of Soul. Tickets range from $50 for general admission to $125 for VIP. Tickets are on sale now via Old97sCF.com.