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cowboy poet

From Rory’s daily blog series “a few of my favorite things about the Festival this year”…

Well darn, I wasn’t able to share a blog post yesterday, as it was Sunday and all of our team was busy at their homes with their families, and my nephew Mikel, who usually takes what I write and posts it, was processing chickens all day. But today, even though it’s a holiday, most of us are back to work and busy getting ready for the big weekend.

One of my favorite performers on the big stage at this year’s Homestead Festival isn’t a singer or musician, he’s a cowboy named Waddie Mitchell.

Last year we were blessed to have Kevin Costner with his band and a number of other wonderful artists perform. We knew that was going to be hard to top, so we decided not to even try. Instead, we chose to curate two nights of music that I personally love and want to share with everyone. To try to create a line-up of singers, songwriters, musicians and talent that I think would make the ending of each day of learning special. And so this year we have some incredible folks on the bill. On Friday night Wynn Varble, Clint Daniels, and I doing a songwriters-in-the-round (much like the Bluebird Cafe if you ever watched the tv series Nashville). Then we have the show-stopping retro band The Malpass Brothers followed by country legend Paul Overstreet… then on Saturday night, crooner Craig Campbell and hit maker Collin Raye perform, plus a few other special guests, it’s going to be a weekend filled with lots of wonderful entertainment.

But to bring it all together, and to make this year’s big stage even more memorable, I asked our friend Waddie Mitchell if he would come in and help me emcee the concerts... and thankfully he agreed to come.

Joey and I first met Waddie when we were performing at the Heber Valley Cowboy Gathering in Utah about ten years ago, and he has remained one of our favorite entertainers and people we’ve ever met, ever since. Everything about him, from his handlebar mustache, kind smile, lightning quick wit, and genius writing knocked us out. And through the years, we looked forward to each time we’d get to cross paths with him at other events. Always making sure we snuck in time to listen to him perform.

Waddie is a legendary cowboy poet. Instead of singing songs, he shares cowboy poetry that he’s written and he’s one of the greatest in the world at it. For decades (besides being a full-time cowboy at his ranch) he’s been traveling all over the country, telling profound stories of western life using rhyme and verse, for sold-out crowds everywhere he goes.

These days, as he’s getting older, he’s not traveling or performing as much as he once did, but thankfully his wife Lisa (her father is Buddy Hackett, who lots of folks remember from the Rat Pack days and also as the voice of Scuttle on the Disney classic The Little Mermaid) helped to make it happen, schedule wise, so Waddie could be here with us.

If you’ve never heard cowboy poetry or of Waddie Mitchell before, you’re in for a big treat. Be sure to go to purchase your passes, and to learn about all the speakers, music, demonstrations, and more that is going to be going on. It’s going to be an incredible weekend of not just learning how to grow your own food, but how to grow a life filled with meaning and purpose.

Hope to see you here in four days.

- rory



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