From mishap to magic: Del McCoury, rain cancellations & the beauty of live music

Written by ROMP chair & IBMM Treasurer, Chris Love

Live music…..the first live concert that I remember was Billy Joel in 1978.  I was 12 and I was hooked!  There’s simply nothing like the experience, and often times, the magic happens when you least expect it.

That was the case during the 2007 ROMP.  To say that I was excited to have The Del McCoury Band playing in Yellow Creek Park would be the understatement of that year.  I couldn’t wait.  But as the day went on, the weather got progressively worse.  It rained and rained, and when you thought it might actually stop, it rained more.  Finally, just before Del and the boys were set to come on stage, it had rained so much that the show just couldn’t go on.  Crushed…..that’s the only word that could describe how I felt when the announcement came that the show would have to be canceled.  It was far too dangerous for the musicians to take the stage.

The next few moments are a blur to me, but all I remember is coming out of the bathroom, dejected and seeing a mad rush of people running up the hill towards the area where the food vendors are now set up.  My wife, Michelle, yelled at me, “Get up here now!  They are going to play under the tent.”  I took off in a sprint!

For the next hour and half or so, the 100 people who were lucky enough to gather under that tent, on that horribly rainy night, got a show they will never forget.  Del McCoury and his band were joined by Marty Stuart and his band, and they played under that tent as the rain poured all around us.  For safety reasons, most of the electricity had been turned off.  Michelle, was given a flashlight, and she was one of three people who pointed those flashlights at the performers so they could see their instruments.  It was magical and I will never forget that night.  Del, Marty and their bands played and laughed, and gave us all something that was totally unexpected, amazingly powerful and truly unforgettable.  They were able to turn something so awful into something so memorable for those of us lucky enough to weather out that rain on that awful night in June in Yellow Creek Park 8 years ago.   

That’s what live music is to me, and ROMP never ceases to provide these experiences.  You cannot predict when it will happen, but it will happen.

Posted on May 20, 2015 .