Live from Music Row Tuesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles in the studio who detailed the upcoming performance by Trace Adkins at MuleFest and moving on from COVID.
Leahy: In studio, our very good friend, the mayor of that bastion of freedom, Maury County, Andy Ogles. This is my fault because it’s just so much fun talking to you but we got a little bit off track.
We are going to start at 6:05 talking about MuleFest, and we’ve talked about it on the edges. But now let’s really talk about exactly what’s going to be happening this Friday down at the square in Columbia. Tell us everything about MuleFest.
Ogles: MuleFest is a music festival taking place in Maury County this weekend. It’s hard to believe that it’s here. But Friday and Saturday, we’ve got three stages, a couple of dozen bands.
It starts at 6 p.m. on Friday evening, and we’ll run till about 10:30 Friday night. We have a couple of hundred vendors, food vendors, crafts. I mean, it’s going to be amazing. You’ll be able to get a wristband for those who want to partake of some of the artisan beers and brews that we have.
And you’ll be able to walk around from the various stages. And then Saturday morning, we have a parade at 11 o’clock. The stages fire back up at 10 a.m. in the morning and run until four o’clock in the afternoon.
And then in the evening, all of the restaurants and the breweries and such, they all have live music as well. On Saturday you’ll be able to come starting at 10 in the morning until about 10, 11 o’clock at night and hear live music.
And you’ll have a dozen different choices as to what you might want to listen to. And, of course, the main event is Trace Adkins. He’s performing Friday evening. It’ll be huge. I’m expecting a tremendous crowd.
And then Saturday, he’s the Grand Marshal in the parade. It’s a lot of fun and a huge event. The community is pumped and our small businesses. It’s been a tough year. And this is a way to just kind of spike the football, if you will, to say, hey, we’re moving past COVID.
We’re opening our economy. Keep in mind, Maury County never shut down, but we’re ready to come together as a community and celebrate. Memorial Day is about our veterans in particular it’s about those who have fallen in service to the country.
We’ll have some time there in the middle where we will have a service to honor those who have fallen serving this great country that we have.
Leahy: Trace Adkins is at what time?
Ogles: We’ll do the ceremony for our veterans around 7:55-8 o’clock. And then he’ll be right after right after that.
Leahy: And that’s just around sunset, right?
Ogles: That’s right.
Leahy: You got all the lights in the stages set up.
Ogles: Oh, yeah. It’s going to be amazing. And this is a full production. And when we first started talking about this and planning it. I was thinking maybe scale down an acoustic type of set, but they literally bring in a tractor-trailer that’s a stage. And then on either side of the stage, there’s these, like, 10 by 22 TVs.
Ogles: Real monitors on either side.
Leahy: This is going to be something.
Ogles: This is big.
Leahy: So it seems to me, though, that this is the kind of stuff that people in the support people in the music industry have done for years and years and years are very good at it. They really haven’t been able to do it during COVID. But now I think in a way, this is a signal to the entire country live performances are back.
Ogles: When you look at some of the unintended consequences of the shutdowns and the closures, et cetera the entertainment industry has been decimated.
Ogles: Obviously, you have your big stars. They make a lot of money and have a lot of money. But you have all these layers of folks that put on these productions, from the person that rents the speakers to the guy that loads them into the back of the van, to the people that are working the concert, and everything in between.
All of that support staff, they’ve been out of work for a year. But you’re starting to see some of your more outspoken performers, like Trace and others, are getting back on the road. A lot of states have started to lift the restrictions.
They can kind of go out there, and you have now opportunities for them to perform in a stadium safely, et cetera, and put people back to work.
Leahy: And the key to all this, I think from a public health perspective, has been the widespread availability of vaccines.
Ogles: Oh, sure. Even Maury County, I refused to shut everything down. Last year, most of your county fairs, state fairs, were canceled. We had ours. That was during the summer peak. That was during September. It was an outdoor event.
There were no vaccines at the time, but with social distance, and we had hand sanitizer. And the Tennessee Department of Health said it was not a spread event. Now you had the CDC coming out and saying, oh, by the way, your chance of getting covet and an outdoor event is, like less than one percent.
And that’s basically if someone sneezes in your face. It’s one of those things that the data was there back in September when I made that decision. But the media got in the way of the truth. And the economic consequences are immeasurable.
Leahy: Absolutely. Well, here’s the thing, Andy. You use common sense and you look at the data. You are unusual for a political leader today because they all seem to be following the wind of whatever Dr. Fauci is saying at that moment in time.
Ogles: As a county mayor, I’m very active. I’m very accessible. I think I told this story before when we knew COVID was coming. It was jumped upon and then you have cases in Washington and New York, and it’s going to spread through the states.
And so you’re anticipating that first case in Tennessee or that first case in your community. And ultimately, when I made the decision to work with the Superintendent to close schools because ‘it was here.’ That evening, I went to the grocery store.
So up into that point, everything had been normal in Middle Tennessee and Maury County. So I held a press conference, and we announced that we were going to close schools and for the remainder of the year because, again, of the unknowns.
Everybody was terrified in March and April if you think back to the beginning of COVID. So that evening, I went to Kroger Walmart and all this, and it was sheer panic, literally had people just grabbing armfuls of cans and cereal, having no idea what they just picked up.
And we’re dropping it in buggies. I remember Walmart distinctly that I looked at the meat department. There were like three packages of liver on the far end. And that was it. That’s the only meat that Walmart had.
People were scared. But the data started coming in very quickly from Europe, out of Asia, not China, but out of Japan and South Korea. But the media doubled down on Fauci and they doubled down on fear, and they doubled down on just hyping this thing up.
And you hate to veer off into the conspiracy, but they had an intent to affect an election. And they did.
Leahy: Yeah, they sure did.
Ogles: Whether you believe it was stolen or not, that’s a conversation for another day. But there’s no denying that what the media did during COVID and they’re guilty, guilty as charged had an effect on the election.
Leahy: Yeah, no question about that. But now it’s May of 2021.
Ogles: And MuleFest!
Leahy: Not March 22.
Ogles: And it’s MuleFest.
Leahy: And so old Trace is ready to give an outstanding and energetic life performance Friday night, about eight o’clock.
Ogles: What’s great about Trace is he’s just a great American. And I’m not just saying that to promote the event, I’ve gotten to know him. And so even during some of this shutdown, and there weren’t a lot of venues to perform at, he was still going around to bases and performing for soldiers just because he loves our country, and he loves our troops.
So you may not be a country music fan or even a Trace fan, but if you want to come to support just someone who loves this country, believes in Liberty and freedom he’s the guy to get behind because his actions reflect what he believes and he supports our troops.
Leahy: Now, this about Trace, I did not realize this, but he’s actually done quite a bit of acting as well. He was in The Lincoln Lawyer, the Michael Connelly thriller in 2011.
Ogles: And then he has a TV show on Paramount or one of the cable networks. I think they’re looking at another season. So he’s getting some TV time.
Leahy: Very interesting. Plus, he can sing like the dickens.
Ogles: Well, he’s a great entertainer. And again, he’s a big dude. He’s a big personality. He’s got a big heart.
Leahy: He’s America! He’s American.
Ogles: He’s fun to be around. I’m so excited about the concert.
Leahy: I am, too, because Let’s get out of this COVID craziness. Let’s have some fun!
Ogles: I think for a lot of people, this is going to be one of those moments when they’re just a big sigh of relief.
Listen to the full second hour here:
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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.