ByrdFest and a conversation with Jimmy Tebeau

Driving to Byrdfest is like meandering through God’s canvas, a jaw dropping experience amid the scenic Ozark Highlands.

The campout concert will again be hosted by Byrd’s Adventure Center. If you want adventure, between tunes, this is the place. Kayak, Raft, Canoe, Fish, Hike, Mountain Bike, Rock Climb, 4×4 and more. No shortage of outdoor adventure in this part of the country.

Byrdfest

Reserve your campsite early, because when you arrive the activity from experienced festival goers is dizzying and you’ll be somewhat confused about whether to jump right in or find and set up camp. Waterfront primitive sites, wooded seclusion, and RV/camper hookups are available. Restrooms and showers are also on site, making roughing it modern convenience.

Energy and encouragement reign at Byrdfest. People show-up, rain or shine, for a combination of music and like-minded folk. Handshakes and burdens are checked at the gate for hugs and smiles. Flying disc and early season sunburn are the only worries.

Extended family is what it’s all about. The cult following of all things good unite at Byrd’s Adventure Center deep in the Ozark Mountains, April 21 – 23 for 2 days of campsite concert experience.

Organize camp and seamlessly delve in the flow. The picturesque Mulberry River deepens aesthetics. Sounds of trickling water mix well with laughter and rhythmic Djembe. Riverside banjos and mandolins gently echo throughout the hills.

Sensory symphonies can be soul jolting. Smells of campfires surrounded by conversations from old friends and new dot your environment. Take a deep breath and be mindful of everything around you, and inside of you. You’re here, you’re safe, and you’re grinning ear to ear.

Entering the gates of musical Eden, sights, like twirling fire, acro-yoga, stilt walkers, and Hoop Dance compliment the heady bands.

Once again, Grateful Dead Experience: The Schwag will headline Friday and Saturday evenings. The four-piece ensemble are dedicated to carrying on the vibe and music of the legendary Grateful Dead.

I caught up with my friend Jimmy Tebeau this week at The Schwag’s home base in St. Louis, the old Brown Shoe Company. The building fits the Schwag’s cultural preservation of all things beautiful.

“I knew I wanted to be a musician early in life and create a different type of energy. In 1989, I was at the Grateful Dead concert in Alpine Valley. The energy and power of what a musician can do with music and interact with the crowd.”

This powerful experience led him to study Jazz and Music Theory in college and he earned an Associate in Arts degree in 1994. He founded Camp Zoe in Salem, MO – a 400-acre festival site/campground, the source of Campsite Concerts.

Jimmy has played with the best: String Cheese Incident, Vince Welnick, Chuck Berry, Butch Trucks, Devon Allman, Papa Mali, Future Man to name a few. He founded The Schwag in 1991 and toured the country with The Jerry Garcia Band for 4 years starting in 2009.

“When Jerry died, I wondered, Is it over? Is anyone else going to be able to do this?”

Jimmy immersed himself in understanding 3 chord, 9 minute intervals creating different waves of energy.

“Sometimes it’s not what we do, it’s what we didn’t do.” This is the magic of Jimmy Tebeau and The Schwag.

In parting, Jimmy Tebeau says,

“Be kind to your fellow man and watch out for each other. I paused and asked Jimmy what the one thing he’d want his fans to know about him. His answer, “I appreciate you. It’s not us and them, it’s we, no barrier.”

The walls are coming down April 21, at Byrdfest. The venue is not complete, but booked so far:

  • Old Shoe is a five-piece Americana Roots Rock band based out of Chicago, Illinois. Made up of talented songwriters from across the country.
  • Pink Floyd Tribute: Floyd Animals tend to put you in a state of daze.

And our very own pride of the Ozarks,

  • Mountain Sprout, articulating life of dry counties, turkey buzzards, and river floats.

Freelance dancing from people of all ages and race are welcomed with kind words free of judgement. Disc throwing experts teaching kids the art of frisbee, and culinary campfire chefs are always generous to the occasional passerby.

Familiar faces, sounds, smells, and sights might lead closed minded to ponder what’s really going on here. Love, this is all. A whole lot of love.