September 24, 2016 was the first annual Texas Mutiny Festival in Fort Worth Texas. The line-up caught my attention immediately! I purchased a set of VIP tickets ($159.50 each) that I thought were going to give me a better view of the stage but I was mistaken. Single tickets were $59.50 which will be my selection next year.
“Be a part of the exclusive Pabst 1844 VIP Lounge and enjoy shade, seating areas, premium bar and food for purchase and private restroom access! Those who select this option will also have access to VIP Parking and an exclusive festival entrance. VIP Access also include access to the Friday Night Campground Party. Must be 21 or older for adult beverage purchase. “
Cons of VIP Tickets
Let me break down what the VIP tickets were really about. The “VIP Lounge” was a tent far away from the stages. There were some places to sit or stand with your “premium bar food” which consisted of over priced hamburgers and hotdogs. The one beer selection of Pabst was also overpriced. Sure, there were nicer bathrooms in the VIP area, but I never used them. The VIP parking was okay, but for what I paid, I expected more. “Exclusive festival entrance” must have been something that I missed because we were in line with everyone else. We opted out of the “Friday Night Campground Party” because the bands playing were some that I had not heard of.
The venue was outside in a grassy section next to the Texas Motor Speedway and consisted of 3 large stages. The stages were color coded with banners to assist us with the schedule posted on-line to follow. There were merch booths, food/drink stations, porta-potties, a locker tent, and a few shade tents set up. After each show, some of the bands directed us to the merch booth for a short meet and greet. Unfortunately, if you wanted to see the next band coming to the stage, you needed to keep your spot in the crowd. My friends and I did not make it to the merch booth…
The heat was almost unbearable. I didn’t think that I would be uncovered for so much of the day so I did not wear sun shades or sunscreen. Lesson learned! The heat was short-lived though because around 4:00 p.m., a thunderstorm came through. Fans were asked to evacuate and go to gtheir vehicles until it was safe. My friends and I opted out of that option and took cover under the locker tent. Luckily, my friend read the weather report and packed some ponchos. I shared one with my bestie.
Let the Shows Begin
The first band that my friends and I chose to see was Starset. Although I’d only heard one of their songs on Sirius XM, I was very pleased with how good the band was live. Their costumes were very neat that consisted of space-like helmets and backpacks over top of what looked like SWAT gear. Lead singer Dustin Bates had on a white button up shirt and a black tie which made him stand out. I enjoyed watching the band.
The scheduled set-up time between each band was very lengthy. Most of us walked around meanwhile. I heard Shaman’s Harvest from a distance and they sounded great. I recognized a song that I love called “Dragonfly”. The next band that I got close enough to enjoy was Avatar. There was a stage full of long-haired rockers slinging their beautiful locks in the wind. The band also had a very powerful sound and rocked it! They were dressed in costumes that resembled military uniforms from the 1800’s in the color red. It was a very nice touch.
We walked over to listen to Skindred for a moment but I was more interested in seeing Islander. I’d already seen Skindred twice in my hometown and have pictures with the band members. I went over to the Renegade Stage to get a good spot up front so that I could see members of Islander better. As they were setting up their equipment, the rain began to sprinkle. I said hello to a couple members from the band by calling their names and grabbing their attention. Lead guitarist JR Bareis , also from the band Love And Death, was very nice and waved back with a smile. Lead singer Mikey Carvajal looked over obviously confused and gave an uncomfortable wave.
Just as Islander was getting ready to start, the venue was evacuated. Once the rain subsided, my friends and I grabbed a better spot up front. We watched as thousands of people were trying to get back into the venue. While I was standing in front, one of the security guards went on about my hair. I’d made my own set of faux dreads that were over 22 inches long. He was in disbelief that my dreads were not human hair and suggested that I start a business making them. If he only knew how big of a pain in the ass they were to make, he’d understand why I didn’t think it was a good idea.
Islander took the stage and slayed! At one point, a girl hopped over my head and rushed the stage. Mikey told the security guards to let her stay then welcomed more fans up on stage. I was kicked in the head a few times as people climbed right over me. My friend, Lori, went up on stage and wanted me to come with her but I decided to take pictures instead. Lori looked like she was having a blast even though she didn’t know a lot of the words, she stood by the bassist and sang into the mic. It was awesome.
Shortly after Islander got off stage, I went over to the beverage tent to get a water. The nice security guard that I spoke to earlier came up to me and asked if he could give me something. Of all the things that went through my mind that it could be, I never though he would hand me an autographed Islander set list! I was floored! I asked him if he was sure that he wanted to give it to me and he responded with “Of course, I could tell that you like them”. How awesome is THAT?!?
If things hadn’t been awesome enough so far, I spotted JR Bareis standing by the beverage tent talking to some fan girls. I was hesitant at first, but I mustered up the courage to walk over and say hello. He was super nice and seemed grateful that I not only knew him from Islander, but his guitar skills in Love and Death as well. I mentioned the book that Brian Head Welch wrote with a section on how young JR was when he became a member of the band. JR said that he liked my dreads as I leaned over for him to touch them. I asked if I could touch his dreads too and they felt a lot softer than mine! He took a picture with me and returned to the back stage area.
The band Smashing Satellites was the next band that I was eager to see. I’d previously looked up all of the bands that would be playing the festival so that I could get a good idea of which ones I wanted to see. The song “Waterfall” by Smashing Satellites came across my radar and I binged on it for a few days. When I posted about the song on Instagram, former My Darkest Days guitarist and front man to Smashing Satellites Sal Costa posted a comment “Much love to you – Sal” which made me more eager to see the band.
“Waterfall” was the last song that Smashing Satellites played as I sang along with every word. I walked over to the security guard that gave me Islander’s set list and asked if he could get me Smashing Satellites’ as well. He nodded although I don’t think he heard me. As the band was taking their equipment off stage, I walked over to collect the set list and was surprised by a personal greeting from Sal! There was also a film crew with him that got everything on tape. I must have been 13 shades of red. I couldn’t think of what to say or do! I told him that all I wanted was a set list and that this was so unexpected! The reason he came out to meet me instead was because they didn’t actually have a set list. He asked me if I wanted a picture and if I had a camera. I looked down at my phone like it was a rock that I didn’t know how to operate. My brain finally connected and I got in a selfie. Sal hugged me and thanked me for coming to the show. I could feel sweat on his skin but I didn’t care. The moment was amazing!
Side note: Sal copied the selfie I posted of us on Instagram and re-posted it to the band’s page with a caption saying that I was the fan of the day! AHHHH!
Hellyeah was playing right around the time that my body started to shut down. I sat along the fence line that was next to the stage and listened. There were so many photographers in the way that there was no sense in trying to look over them. From what I remember, they put on a great show. I was so tired.
Nothing More was another band that I was looking forward to seeing but after taking in the obvious vanity of lead singer Jonny Hawkins, I was quickly over it. Yeah, I get it, you have abs. Whoopty-do. After leaving Nothing More, we headed over to the stage where Twelve Foot Ninja was. They were already playing by the time we got there but I was amped none-the-less. They were killing it! They all had on black “ninja” pants and played in their black socks. There were a few songs that I recognized and sang along. Honestly, they were the most impressive band that I saw that day because of their unique sound and stage presence. I look forward to seeing them again!!
We saw a little bit of Mice and Men, which were awesome, before we went to the stage were Deftones were about to start. By this time, the schedule was way off. We had to wait until the current band finished playing on another stage before they would allow any other bands to start. Deftones killed it as I knew they would. A person doing sign language next to the stage was dancing along and having herself a good ole time. She was signing so hard that she got the attention of lead singer Chino Moreno. He walked over and bobbed with her. It was such a cute moment.
Grammy winning band Ghost was up next so we walked over to the Republic Stage. We waited for what seemed like an eternity before the band began their set. While waiting, some jerks behind me were dissing Deftones. I had on a Deftones t-shirt! They were also exchanging all kinds of incorrect information about Korn’s new up coming album. I wanted to turn around and correct them, but I refrained. Ghost looked AWESOME! If you know the band, you know their costumes. Their sound was so powerful and loud. I also noticed that they had a female bassist as she was very small with a very different build. I thought that was pretty cool.
Sadly, after watching Ghost, we decided to call it a night. We’d been standing for 11 hours! The overall experience was great but I will not be purchasing VIP passes again.