It was another great week at Gordy’s HWY30 Fest in Filer, Idaho this year.
For those following along on socials, you probably noticed we got the team together and headed to the Gem State for four days of great times and fantastic country music in the beautiful western landscape.
As we’ve come to expect from HWY30, everybody was nothing but helpful, friendly, and fun to be around, proving yet again that this festival is truly unique and special. Sure, others may pull bigger crowds, but none can compete with the combination of everyone knowing each other, support for independent music, and the amount of fun that’s had at the Twin Falls Fairgrounds.
This was the festival’s 10th anniversary and Gordy Schroeder pulled out all the stops when putting together the line up, which featured Lainey Wilson, Whiskey Myers, Shane Smith & The Saints, and of course, the one and only Koe Wetzel.
But it wasn’t just headliners that brought the heat, supporting acts like Muscadine Bloodline, Giovannie & The Hired Guns, Pecos & The Rooftops, Morgan Wade, Kat Hasty, Kolby Cooper, Palmer Anthony, Dylan Wheeler, and many more kept the crowd roaring all day and into the night.
To add a cherry on top, this festival is always loaded with local talent, which truly makes me believe that the northwest US may be due for an explosion onto the scene ala Appalachia in the next few years.
Just like last year, fans were wearing nearly as many Jesse Dayne & The Sagebrush Driftersshirts as the headliners, proving yet again that they’re a band on the rise. The Lowdown Driftersabsolutely rocked out, their set peaking with a Taylor Hunnicut duet on their most popular song “Fire In Her Eyes”. Lowdown released their latest single, “Hanging Tree”, the Friday of the festival and let me know that there’s some big things happening in the very near future for the group, something which myself and fans around the country couldn’t be happier for.
And of course, Kadden Madden was a name on everyone’s mind, as the now 21 year continues to travel the country and play tailgates for Zach Bryan while continuing to write songs that have a depth well beyond his 21 years of life.
We got the chance to speak with a number of artists and gave them a chance to open up on their music, tell some crazy stories, and answer a whole bunch of burning questions, some clips of which I’ll post below if you haven’t seen them yet, and let me tell you, they’re well worth the watch.
While all of that was great, the best part was hanging out with the fans, talking music, playing beer pong, and just enjoying the atmosphere that’s only found in that little corner of the world.
In fact, the fans were so cool that a bunch of artists took the time to come to the Whiskey Riff After Party and play acoustic sets once the headliners finished up.
A big shout to Palmer Anthonywho hosted and rounded up the artists to come play and hang out. Not only is the guy on the “about to explode” list as an artist, but he’s a genuinely great dude who was a trooper for all four nights.
Check out Palmer’s latest release, “West Texas Cloud Appreciation Society” here, it’s an absolute mood.
Word quickly spread about the afterparty, so much so that Shane Smith himself dropped by after he and the Saints headlined day two. Not only did he take pictures and crush beers with the fans, he even hopped on stage to play a few songs, including a “Pancho & Lefty” cover with Ty Smith, a 15 year old artist who showed some incredible vocal and songwriting talent.
Next up for the HWY30 crew is the much anticipated Texas Edition taking place October 19-22 of this year at the Texas Motor Speedway in Dallas.
Featuring Zach Bryan and Cody Jinks as headliners, it’s a giant step up in terms of crowd size, but if there’s one thing I know about the HWY30 crew, they’re willing and able to make anything, and I mean anything, work.
Tickets for Texas are available now at this link, so get them now before it sells out, which it’s almost guaranteed to do.
HWY30 will always have a special place in my heart, and all of us at Whiskey Riff are beyond grateful for them having us out again.