Welcome back! This week debuts writing from our second Texas music industry professional Terran Flusche, Director of Marketing at Billy Bob’s Texas and Manager for Dolly Shine.
When I asked Terran to participate in this series, I did so knowing she was key player in keeping the world’s largest honky tonk alive when live music was dead. Her story is about great time management and the positive history made during a trying time.
A Helping Hand
By Terran Flusche
When I think of the past 14 months, I am immediately overwhelmed with how much our Texas music industry has been through. We are some of the lucky ones who got back to live music quicker than others, but my entire livelihood (and the livelihood of so many people I know) came to a standstill in a matter of days.
In February of 2020, Billy Bob’s Texas held several great shows. We were riding high from back-to-back sold out shows with Whiskey Myers and Midland. The energy was great, the vibes were good, and the beer was flowing. Around the beginning of March, stories about the virus began to become more prevalent. However, we were still so naïve as to how much it would affect our lives.
I manage the band Dolly Shine and handle their marketing and booking in my free time. We had booked the Dolly Shine Reunion Tour to take place in March and early April and I was so excited to see my music family again. We made it through the first two shows on that tour on March 6 & 7, one of them being at Billy Bob’s and the other at Luckenbach. And despite the rumors, everything seemed normal, and the shows went great.
The following week my whole world changed. Billy Bob’s was set to host Read Southall’s main stage debut on March 12, 2020. With Read being one of my best pals in the music scene, I was so excited for this show. The ticket sales were great and the band was loaded in, waiting to soundcheck as the Mayor Betsy Price made an announcement discouraging gatherings of 150 people or more. With more and more uncertainty starting to surround us, and with the health and safety of our guests, staff, and artists in mind, we chose to cancel the show and closed the club until the virus was under control. I would be lying if didn’t say that we all thought we’d just get to spend two weeks at home and wait for things to return to normal… Boy, were we wrong!
The next few weeks we all worked from home, postponing shows and creating content that could be consumed from the couch. We celebrated our 39th Anniversary digitally with the help of Hear Fort Worth and some local musicians, putting together our first livestream concert. We raised over $10,000 for Hear Fort Worth’s artist relief fund. And that’s what my job consisted of for the next few months. I produced three fully remote livestream events (we did a total of four) and our team raised over $75,000 for local and state non-profits.
Billy Bob’s Texas 39th Birthday Watch Party – April 1, 2020
Benefitting the Creative Industry Relief Fund of Fort Worth with Hear Fort Worth & the United Way of Tarrant County
You’re Still Farming, We’re Still Singing – April 25, 2020
Benefitting the Texas Future Farmers of America (FFA)
Blues After Hours – May 9, 2020
Benefitting KNON 89.3
Taste of Texas Virtual Cookout – May 16, 2020
Benefitting the Texas Restaurant Association and the Texas Restaurant Relief Fund
I did all the typical quarantine things during this time – home renovations, trying new recipes, binge watching Tiger King on Netflix. Patiently waiting to be able to get back to work and get out of the house again.
We had hoped to open our doors again around the 4th of July butwere unable to do due to restrictions and guidelines set by state and local government. Instead, our team got to work on some club improvement projects. We did an overhaul of the bathrooms in our showroom, installed a 30-foot history timeline, and deep cleaned every nook and cranny in the building.
Billy Bob’s Texas reopened as a restaurant in August of 2020 with new safety protocols and procedures as well as limited capacities. Though we were operating at limited capacity – only 25% of our normal operation, we kicked things off with Flatland Cavalry and there was a glimmer of hope for our live music community.
During this time, I began writing and curating Billy Bob’s Texas 40th Anniversary Coffee Table book. This project took up most of my time during workday, I spent countless hours sifting through old photos and news articles while my team focused on concert promotions. Robert Gallagher, who has been the Entertainment Director at Billy Bob’s Texas for 30+ years, found treasure chest of old photos and documents from his tenure at the club, while going through his storage. There were envelopes of photos that had been sealed for 20+ years. Some of these photos included Johnny Cash, Alan Jackson, Merle Haggard, Tanya Tucker, Billy Joe Shaver, and many other artists who were influential on my own love for music. With all of these I was able to curate and design a book that I am so proud of.
The book was finalized and sent to print in December around the same time that the NFR came to Texas. Billy Bob’s held 10 concerts in a row and saw cowboys and cowgirls from all over the United States. This was a preview of what was to follow in the coming months, as we haven’t slowed down since.
Billy Bob’s Texas celebrated its 40th Anniversary on April 1st. We held a month-long celebration with artists like Hank Williams Jr., Midland, Dwight Yoakam, and Miranda Lambert. These celebrations have continued into May and will continue well on into the year.
While the last 14 months have been a rollercoaster of highs and lows, I can’t help but be grateful for every concert booked and ticket sold. I will not take live music for granted ever again, and I will always be ready to extend a helping hand to the hard-working men and women who make their living touring.
We are so thankful for our partnerships with Billy Bob’s Texas and shared expertise from Terran! If you’d like to preview or buy a copy of Billy Bob’s Texas 40th Anniversary coffee table book, click HERE!
If you would like to be featured as a writer in this series, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your industry credentials and topic you’d like to discuss in your piece.
See y’all next week for part three!
– Taylor Ashlynn
Western Fashion Stylist, Funky Florist, Branding Aficionado, Southwestern Painter, & a big big fan of the harmonica!
You can find me anywhere at @PinaTaylotta.