This was a huge year for our little blog. This started as something of a fun project, a way for me to express my love of music and share it with other lovers, something that I hardly ever updated in the very beginning. But in January of 2013 I decided to start taking this seriously. I made the decision that I wanted to not only express my love of music in generalized way, but bring attention to artists and songwriters and vocalists that I was passionate about and wanted to see succeed, particularly the up-and-comers. With the help of my co-writer and photographer, Steph, we launched our first year as a serious internet publication with the intention of attending festivals and events for more than just a leisurely music-filled vacation. This year saw me with my first media pass in hand, conducting my first interviews, and figuring my way out through this social media landscape.
It’s had it’s ups-and-downs, I’ve had my good weeks and bad weeks, I’ve been rejected more times than I can count for events I was really excited about. But overall, it’s been a dream come true. I’ve had the opportunity to interview some truly talented artists, to be a part of some really great events, and I’ve seen more music than I could have imagine. Since this was our first official year launched as a true music blog, I wanted to point out our five best moments of 2013!
This was the very first event I went to specifically for blog coverage. I was super nervous and scared, made even worse by the fact that Leann Rimes was going to be there, even though I’d met her a few times before. It ended up being an absolutely fun and exciting experience, all for a great cause. It was such a big moment for me because it was the first event I decided I wanted to cover. Even without live music or an interview, it was a chance to step out of my comfort zone for the first time and have something different and fun to put up on the blog.
This event was huge for the blog. It was the first time we headed out of town with trusty press passes hanging from our necks. It was our first time, and it was for one of the biggest country music awards of the year! I was both elated and nervous and exhausted. Our first event of the weekend was this Cabela’s event, and it really became the beacon for what was to come for the blog throughout the rest of the year. Within the first few hours we met Jason Aldean and Luke Bryan, we ended up lunching in Subway next to Dustin Lynch, and that night we experienced Chris Janson take the stage for the very first time. Vegas welcomed the country community with open arms and it was awe-inspiring to be a part of it in a real way. This is one weekend I will never forget. I may have been running around like a chicken with my head cut off, trying to figure things out for the first time, standing next to country music bloggers that have been doing this for years already… but it couldn’t have been a better experience for me. It set me up and prepared me for the bigger things that were to come. Oh, and we got some pretty memorable pictures out of it.
I’d been to Stagecoach in previous years, suffering through the heat to watch acts with a cold beverage in my hand and a big smile on my face, surrounded by the eccentric community that is country music fans. This year, obviously, was different. It was my first time hitting the photo line, my first time in the press tent, and my first time seeing The Lone Bellow (and we all know how that turned out). It was an incredible experience from start to finish. This was my first true festival that I covered in 2013, and despite the heat and dehydration, despite running late to pick-up my press passes; it was beyond enjoyable. The people that run Stagecoach are organized and kindhearted and no-nonsense at the very same time. I discovered some beautifully intricate artists that have talent that radiates from their fingertips to their voices to the essence of talent that they give off. I will never forget the way it felt to be standing out in that polo field while the Zac Brown Band began to sing the chorus to “Free.” As if I was floating and the music was taking my soul along for the melodic ride. There’s also the goosebumps that broke out over my skin when The Lone Bellow began to play their first song, despite the 115 degree heat, I was shivering from the intensity of the music. Stagecoach became my reminder of what music could really be when you disengage from your daily routine and allow it to infiltrate your mind.
The best moment of the year was the one in which I found out we’d be covering CMA Fest. Our tickets had been purchased for almost a year by the time the festival finally began, but it was only weeks before that my approval for media passes was emailed to me. CMA Fest has been a ray of light in my life since the very first time I attended back in 2005, so you can imagine my elation when I realized they were allowing me to step into a new arena of country music, covering it from the sidelines. The first interview I did was with the humble and kindhearted Chris Janson. I couldn’t have asked for a better individual to sit with while I tried to ask questions without appearing nervous, or give off the vibe that it was my first time, secretly shaking while I tried to recall my questions. He gave me excellent answers, he made me feel like my research and constant search for probing questions was on point, and appreciated beyond that. Throughout the entire year, this is still my favorite interview, and I think I’ll always look back on it fondly and be grateful for the experience. We were blessed to be able to attend the City of Hope Celebrity Softball Game, The Opry, The Warner Music CMA Awards After Party, Chris Janson’s Fan party, and Music City Roots as part of our experience, making for an incredibly successful first professional CMA Fest. I am forever grateful for the lessons and memories that CMA Fest gave me in 2013. I can’t go back in 2014, but you can bet that 2015 will be welcomed with open arms and lots of love.
Jukebox Mixtape also had the opportunity to conduct their first (of hopefully many more) giveaway this year! The lovely folks over at Way Over Yonder were kind enough to supply us with two pairs of tickets to giveaway on our site. The lucky winners had a chance to take in the two day folk festival on the Santa Monica pier. We had so much fun setting this up and trying to spread the word, and while it was small in the grand scheme of internet giveaway, it was a really big deal for us. I want to sincerely thank Way Over Yonder and all the individuals that found our website and entered to win. We couldn’t have pulled something like that off without either side. It also helped that we were able to attend the festival ourselves and have an absolutely amazing time!
With the Holidays finally drawing to a close and the launch of a brand new year upon us, we are pleased to present our favorites of 2013. From our best moments and photographs, to our favorite albums and singles, or invigorating live performances.
Keep checking back this week to see Jukebox Mixtapes 2013 highlights! We’d love to hear what you loved about 2013 as well. Leave a comment below or tweet us @JukeboxMixtape!