Inside Plano’s Outlaw Music Festival
This spring, KHYI 95.3 The Range, in partnership with the City of Plano, will present the 21st annual Toyota Texas Music Revolution festival featuring fan-favorite headliner — drum roll, please — Kacey Musgraves. Your guide to the good stuff, Plano Magazine, is media sponsor of this year’s event. We’re here to take fans behind the scenes with the lineup low-down and history of the TTMR festival and a TTMR 21 cheat sheet featuring an exclusive KHYI pre-show playlist.
Michelle Hawkins, the arts, culture and heritage manager for the City of Plano, couldn’t be more excited about the city’s second year collaborating on the festival. “I believe our community really wants a music festival to call our own,” Michelle says. “TTMR is already a well-established event. It celebrates the alternative country music movement that is organic to our region.”
Like last year, TTMR 21 will take place at Oak Point Park & Nature Preserve. The leafy oasis in the heart of suburbia not only allows enough natural space for a two-stage festival, but also offers two distinct concert experiences.
The main stage is designed for bigger productions and standing, sitting and dancing crowds. The viewing area is a sweeping field of blanket- and lawn chair-friendly grass. The second stage, the Amphitheater at Oak Point, offers an intimate alternative with natural acoustics, stone seating and a panorama of towering trees that hug the stage. With this year’s lineup, attendees will surely make the short walk between the two stages more than a couple of times.
Joshua Jones, general manager at KHYI 95.3, is definitely not the kind of guy who just draws names out of a hat when signing up bands. Toyota Texas Music Revolution is his baby. He’s been hosting this festival for 21 of his 42 years. That’s half of his life making sure that the TTMR festival is just as outlaw-cool as the KHYI radio station.
“Over 20 years ago, I had just finished my undergrad degree, and I wanted a way to bring KHYI artists and listeners together. And now it’s sort of been this child that I’ve raised, and it has become something bigger than I thought it would be. It’s evolved,” Joshua says. “I have a deep, personal, emotional connection to the event. It’s not just another music festival to me.”
KHYI is proud to be called an “outlaw” and “Texas country” radio station. Therefore, bands that play at TTMR need to jive well with that reputation. Sorry kids, no Kanye for the ticket sales. If the bands don’t actually play on KHYI, they won’t make the cut to stage.
“For the headliner and the big stage, we look for that wow factor, but we also want to stay true to who we are as a radio station,” Joshua says.
This year’s headliner is pretty much all wow factor. Kacey Musgraves is a Grammy-winning singer/songwriter at the height of her career. But, more importantly, she’s a true original. Her songs are an evocative combination of throwback instrumentals and progressive lyrics. If it helps, think of her as a modern mix of Willie and Dolly. She sings about whatever she wants (everyone’s favorite herbal remedy, gay rights), strums a mean chord and has an iconic presence. Kacey Musgraves is a rebel songbird. This of course, makes her a perfect fit for KHYI’s maverick music festival.
“First of all, she’s from Texas,” Joshua says, when asked why Kacey was his first-round draft pick for this year’s festival. Kacey grew up in Golden, Texas, about 90 miles southeast of Dallas. He adds, “Also, she hasn’t had to sell out to achieve commercial success. She’s been able to maintain musical integrity, be edgy and still sell a ton of albums. She’s the dream headliner for us. She has commercial appeal, and she’s a KHYI artist.”
Another stand-out name on this year’s lineup is Hollywood institution Kiefer Sutherland. “It’s not just that he’s a big Hollywood name who would like to play,” Joshua says. “It might seem like that, but in reality, he’s got an unbelievable band and an unbelievable album. We’ve had ‘Down in a Hole’ in rotation for a couple of months.”
Regarding the amphitheater, Joshua says, “For the small stage, we look for buzzworthy bands. We want people to see tomorrow’s stars today.” That’s good news for acts like Vandoliers and Paul Cauthen who will both play Saturday.
What you’ll need at TTMR 21
The 21st annual Toyota Texas Music Revolution is set for March 24 and 25. General admission tickets and VIP packages go on sale Friday, Jan. 6 at 10 a.m.Purchase TTMR 21 Tickets >