“A Gathering of the Tribes”: Music Festivals and Confluence in Austin
This chapter examines the central role that Willie Nelson's Fourth of July Picnics played as a point of confluence for the wide variety of musical practices, attitudes, and people that characterized the progressive country music scene in Austin. Unlike concert halls, which perform the cultural work of a music scene in a more diffuse manner, the rarity and the intensity of music festivals bring the values and contradictions of a music scene into greater relief. This chapter demonstrates how Austin's musicians and audiences reclaimed the sounds of country music to create a safe social space that merged their love of country music and their countercultural lifestyles and to mediate the experiences of the music scene participants.
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