I keep getting asked if I'm going to any of the Fan Fair stuff going on this week. I keep answering "No and hell no."
Don't misunderstand...I love Fan Fair (or whatever it's name is now). I think it's a great thing and unlike a lot of people, am glad that the Event has grown and evolved through the years. I just don't have any desire to get in the middle of it, although Mr. Smiff is this week smack dab there.
I've done lots of Fan Fairing in my time. As a kid, I was down there with the Dad and I'd roam around the Municipal Auditorium and take in all the sights, sounds and smells of Fan Fair. Smells you say? What smells? Two letters.....B.O. One thing you could count on then and I'm sure can still count on now is da body odor. Hot, sweaty country music fans all in a tizzy, trying to get to see Dave of Dave & Sugar was serious business.
People stood in lines hoping to get autographs of the Mandrell Girls and Marty Robbins. Marty Robbins never failed to have a line at least 2 miles long. It was something else. He drew the people like flies. Even as a little kid, I could see his magnetism and charisma even though I had yet to discover the beauty of "El Paso" and "Don't Worry." Marty could hold an audience in the palm of his hand like nobody else could before or since. Marty had it going on.
I am the first to admit that I don't get the Chesney Phenomena or Rascal Flatts or Miz Armpits of Sugarland, but, I do get what keeps the most dedicated of country fans coming back to Nashville year after year and that is the music itself. The country fans of today connect with Kenny Chesney the same way those people did with Marty Robbins in 1973. I could give a myriad of reasons why Kenny Chesney sucks, musically, but, the spirit of it all is still the same and that's good.
I get irritated when Nashvillians roll their eyes and talk about our Fan Fair visitors like they are inferior beings DJ's will warn their listeners of the "Polyester Patrol" like country music fans are second class citizens. They come here, year after year, taking their vacation time, eating at our restaurants, staying in our motels...we should be very nice to them.
I just don't want to be in the middle of all of them.
Take a whiff of Sista Smiff and you'll come back for more, that's fo sho!
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