Mayor Andy Ogles Reflects on the Success of MuleFest Memorial Day Weekend with over 20,000 in Attendance

Mayor Andy Ogles Reflects on the Success of MuleFest Memorial Day Weekend with over 20,000 in Attendance


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 to reflect on the success of MuleFest Memorial Day weekend.

Leahy: In studio, our good friend, strong, conservative mayor, freedom lover, mayor of Maury County, Andy Ogles.  Good morning Andy.

Ogles: Good morning. How are you today?

Leahy: I am delighted to have you in the studio. We haven’t had a chance to talk since the great success of MuleFest a couple of weekends ago. We covered it at The Tennessee Star. Our great reporters were there and we had some great pictures.

I don’t know if you saw the pictures that we had from that but we had some fabulous pictures of Trace Adkins and of the crowd and of one Andy Ogles there.

Ogles: We knew it was going to be successful. I guess you hope it’s going to be successful. Friday night for the concert we had 20,000 people show up Friday night. It was one of the largest crowds and in recent history for downtown Columbia.

And then Saturday morning, we had all the vendors. We had two stages. It was a music festival. We had another 12,000 show up Saturday morning for the parade. It was exhausting planning something like that?

We had set up a nonprofit 501 (c) (3) that ran the organization so it can live on in perpetuity. But it was trace Adkins is one of the coolest people that you’ll ever meet, and he’s just a good guy.

Leahy: Well, what I found very interesting about it is that sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good. (Ogles chuckles) And the weather!

Ogles: Oh, my goodness.

Leahy: Just walk us through that Friday. This is what, Friday, May 29 I think it was? I’m here in the morning on the program and thunder and lightning and rain. And I’m thinking, oh, my goodness, this is not a good sign here for my friend Andy Ogles and MuleFest. Walk us through the weather that day and how your planning was influenced by it.

Ogles: It was full steam ahead. We had been watching the forecast carefully with emergency management. He was keeping tabs on the weather for us. And they get reports anyway, anytime bad weather is coming in, they’re getting hourly updates from the National Weather Service.

And so we just watched it and looked like it was gonna break for us. And at the last minute, it basically went around Columbia. The sun shined down on the square, and we had a brief sprinkle for about five minutes, which dropped the temperature.

But actually, it was a blessing, because when you get 20,000 people in a small area, it gets warm fast. And in fact, I walked to the back of the crowd and took some photos, which were just amazing to see that many people at a concert, especially post COVID.

We’ve been shutting down, locked down. We’ve been lied to. We’ve been crammed into our homes, jobs lost, et cetera. And just to be able to get out and say to not only my community, but to Tennessee, it’s time to put this to rest and to open up.

It was amazing. But once you got past the crowd, the temperature was 10 degrees cooler just because of all the people.

Leahy: We had a photographer there and the crowd was huge. And what I found interesting was the main event started at 6 p.m. It was raining, raining and raining until about 4 pm? And then it stopped raining. It’s like you hear the clouds part. The sun comes out, you hear the Angels sing! (Laughs)

Ogles: Unlike our ungrateful vice-president and president, this was to memorialize those who have served our country and fallen. And we just took a moment to celebrate our community and say yes and take a stand and say, enough with this COVID crap. But we were honoring our Gold Star families.

Leahy: Who died from Maury County.

Ogles: We read the names of those who have died from Maury County.

Leahy: In Afghanistan and Iraq, going all the way back to WWII and Vietnam.

Ogles: The Korean War. But it was just one of those moments where you could have heard a pin drop. So you’ve got 20,000 people in this space. We’ve had music leading up to it. We kind of took a break in the middle to honor our military and you could have just heard a pin drop.

It was amazing. But it was unique and that we had a presentation of the colors and the flag. I actually got caught off guard because the Gold Star families presented me a flag in appreciation for being but an advocate for our military and our veterans and those who have fallen to service.

Because, again, you’ve got Armed Services Day, Veterans Day, and Memorial Day and they’re all slightly different. But Memorial Day is about those who have died serving our country. And shame on the President for not acknowledging it.

Leahy: Or not even acknowledging D-Day.

Ogles: That’s right.

Leahy: Unbelievable. The Vice-President calls Memorial Day a long weekend and the President misses D-Day. Unbelievable.

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











Mayor Andy Ogles on Moving Past COVID with Trace Adkins and MuleFest

Mayor Andy Ogles on Moving Past COVID with Trace Adkins and MuleFest


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.

Leahy: Really?

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.

Leahy: Absolutely.

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.











Andy Ogles Highlights Events in Upcoming MuleFest to be Held in Downtown Columbia, Tennessee Memorial Day Weekend

Andy Ogles Highlights Events in Upcoming MuleFest to be Held in Downtown Columbia, Tennessee Memorial Day Weekend


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 more of the events and sponsors for MuleFest in downtown Columbia, Tennessee this Memorial Day weekend.

Leahy: In studio with us good friend, Mayor of Maury County, Andy Ogles. I want to talk about just the details of Mule Fest coming up in downtown Columbia on the square this Friday, May 28, and then Saturday, May 29. The music will start in the square at 6 p.m.?

Ogles: That’s right. It’s 6 p.m. this Friday. I can’t believe it’s already here.

Leahy: I mean, we were talking about this months ago. Now it’s here.

Ogles: It’s here. And there’s a bit of a relief. There’s a lot of planning that goes into this and really have to give a shout-out to the business community for the amount of business support because this is funded by sponsors. There are no taxpayer dollars.

Leahy: It’s funded by sponsors. You can tell the audience who those sponsors are.

Ogles: Some of our big sponsors, one of our great builders down in Maury County, in Williamson County is John Mayor Builders.

Leahy: John Mayer builders. I know John well. A great guy and a great builder.

Ogles: And a great family and immediately stepped up excited. Guy Land is an architect out of Williamson County. He just designed Jason Aldean’s new home. They do great work. Winsupply out of Nashville, the HVAC contractors.

Leahy: So the public wouldn’t know necessarily Winn Supply but every HVAC provider in Middle Tennessee knows them.

Ogles: That’s right. And that’s just to name a few. We have probably 60 sponsors.

Leahy: 60. Now let me just step back. How did you organize 60 sponsors?

Ogles: It’s been busy. When I decided to do this there has been a lot of festivals over the year that Maury County has had that just kind of fell by the wayside. And we’re bringing those back because immediately after this, we’re planning a huge October Fest in Maury County.

And so we’ll shift gears. We’ve got our County Fair coming up. So I’ll be help planning that. And then we have an October Fest following that up. But it’s really about Maury County is such an amazing place. It’s a historic community. We’ve long lived in the shadow of “Historic Franklin.”

Leahy: In Maury County, in Colombia, in downtown Columbia, the home of James K Polk. President of the United States 1845-1849. And so if you look at your top 10 best presidents. He was number 10.

Leahy: He’s always there because he accomplished everything he said he would. He was a very effective President.

Ogles: One of the most undercelebrated presidents in American history. But yet he’s one of the best. And he’s right there from Columbia. We’ve got a great music scene that happening in Columbia.

We’ve got this revitalization or Renaissance, if you will that was really just booming prior to COVID. And that’s why I refused to shut things down based on the data that supported my decision.

But we have small businesses that depend on the economy to pay their bills and the idea that government can say, well, you’re essential, but you’re non-essential. If you’re a working family and you’re trying to pay your mortgage and put food on the table, your job is essential, whether or not the governor or whoever thinks so.

And so this is why I really fought to keep Maury County open and to be free and to support Liberty. And it’s really culminated in this music festival that it’s going to be amazing. A couple of dozen bands. I’m excited.

Leahy: So if you’re listening right now and you want to know where to find out more details, go to And there you can see the sponsors, John Mayer Builders, Caledonian Financial, TriGreen Equipment. Guy Land. You said Winsupply also a sponsor.

Ogles: That’s right.

Leahy: It lists all the events and how to get involved. And MuleFest gear. Are you selling hats and stuff like that.

Ogles: All kinds of fun stuff.

Leahy: That sounds fun. And the parade.

Ogles: We were talking about selling things. When you’re going to have 20, 30,000 people in the downtown community one of the first things is like, where are we going to eat? And we have over 40 food trucks are going to be on hand, plus our restaurants and then another 150 or so vendors selling just a whole assortment of crafts and things.

Leahy: It’s a place to bring your kids to. It’s a lot of fun. What’s parking is going to be like?

Ogles: And we have a Kid Zone.

Leahy: There you go.

Ogles: One of our local churches has stepped up to put that on. There is going to be music. If you want to partake, we have a whole host of craft beers that you can select from. But then there’s going to be a Kids Zone too.

And then if you’re a veteran, we have a veteran section because this is about our troops. But parking, I would say come early, you’re going to have to walk a block or two because we’re going to have a lot of people in that whole area is going to be pedestrian-friendly.

We’ll have a couple of streets blocked off to create a nice safe, two and a half, three-block square for pedestrians and children. And those again, we’re going to be out and about and having fun.

Leahy: When did you come up with the concept of MuleFest? What day? When was it? September or October? When was it?

Ogles: Yeah. So I’ve been working on this for a while. I mean, it was one of those do we call it MuleFest or did we call it Mule Du Gras? There used to be a mule Du Gras festival.

Leahy: But let me just say, MuleFest sounds better than Mule Du Gras. (Laughs)

Ogles: We had a music festival that took place for a number of years. And again, it just kind of faded away. The people that organize it and whatever. And so combining Multetown USA and music festival just kind of cramming those phrases together.

Leahy: MuleFest. So my last question, before we go to the news, who was the first sponsor to say yes?

Ogles: The first was probably two Caledonian Financial and John Mayer Builders.

Leahy: You know, it’s like you got a concept. You need a sponsor. They step up.

Ogles: Our local business owners.

Leahy: Fantastic.

Ogles: They got it immediately and they stepped up to the plate.

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.
Photo “Andrew Ogles” by Andrew Ogles.


Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles Gets Back to Normal with MuleFest May 28 and 29 in Downtown Columbia, Tennessee

Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles Gets Back to Normal with MuleFest May 28 and 29 in Downtown Columbia, Tennessee


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 to give the details on the upcoming celebration called MuleFest in Downtown Columbia, Tennessee on May 28 thru 29.

Leahy: We are joined this morning by our very good friend in studio by the Mayor of Maury County, Andy Ogles. Good morning, Andy.

Ogles: Good morning. How are you?

Leahy: Well, I think that I’m not going to be walking across America like our guest in the five o’clock hour Izzy Israel. He lost 15 pounds doing that. He might start his new book, Walk With Izzy Diet Plan.

Ogles: Yeah, I’m not so sure. Hey, I’m all about being healthy, but I’m not sure I’m going to walk across America. (Leahy laughs) But I think he was trying to bring awareness to term limits was his deal.

Leahy: That’s his deal and I think he’s doing a good job making people aware of term limits. Now, I’m going to tell you something, and I think it’s time for Tennessee to get back to work and back to having fun. You’ve got something going on in Maury County that sounds like a lot of fun to me.

Ogles: We’ve got a huge and I do mean huge event coming up May 28 and 29. That’s Memorial Day weekend just to kind of put a pin in it. But that Friday night, Trace Atkins, country music legend, is performing a live concert and it’s free. It’s right there in downtown Columbia. And then the next morning, we have a parade.

And then Friday night and all day Saturday into Saturday night, we have musical acts from around Tennessee, names that you’d be familiar with, and three stages. That’s going to be amazing. But it’s time for us to get back to normal. It’s an outdoor event, so you can do it safely and socially distance and do all that kind of thing.

But Memorial Day is about honoring our veterans in particular, those who have fallen. And so we’re going to take some time to honor those who have served and fallen in service to our country. But in that, it’s an annual event we have some great sponsors. It’s sponsor-driven, but the support from the community has been amazing.

Leahy: It’s Maury County MuleFest in Columbia, Tennessee, from Friday, May 28 to Saturday, May 29. It will be held in downtown Columbia. Live music, unique arts and crafts, amazing food, and a cool parade. Call 931-375-4101 for information on how to be a vendor, a sponsor, volunteer or if you want to be in the parade.

Ogles: Absolutely. Technically, the cut-off for the parade has come and gone, but there’s a few people that want to be in the parade. During the election, there’s a lot of people that decorate their cars with Trump and American flags and that kind of thing. Or if you’ve got a tractor or a razor or whatever, if you want to be in the parade, give us a call.

At some point, we’ve got to organize and give everybody a number and do all those kinds of things. But it’s going to be a blast. And I am pumped about Trace coming.

Leahy: Trace Adkins is the lead performer.

Ogles: That’s right.

Leahy: And you have quite a few few performers, too, don’t you?

Ogles: Yes. And right now we’ve got, like I said, three stages with over 20 bands performing. If I had had a little more time, I could have had at least two more stages because there were so many acts wanting to perform. But at some point, there’s only so many hours in a day, and it’s going to be a great event. And again, come out, bring a chair. We’ve got over 150, close to 200 vendors, food trucks, arts and crafts, plus Trace and everything. It’s going to be awesome.

Leahy: Time to get back to living.

Ogles: It is. I’ve got a Black Hawk that’s going to fly in and land. (Leahy chuckles)

Leahy: How do you do all this stuff, Andy?

Ogles: You just ask right?  The National Guard has been a great partner, the Army, and the Air Force. We’re still having some logistical issues with the airplanes coming over. (Leahy laughs) But I’m begging and pleading with the Air Force to get the timing to work out. But again, same thing with Trace, we had this idea of just having a celebration celebrating our community, celebrating those who have served, celebrate those who have fallen, and thank them for their sacrifice.

But in that just reaching out to those around us and saying, hey, would you help us? Would you participate? And Trace again, I can’t speak highly enough of him and his guys and his manager and road crew. They’re amazing people. And if you want to see a an amazing night, because this all started and I think I told you this a couple of shows ago that I reached out to him and we’re thinking about an acoustic set. He’d just be kind of low key.

He’d come out to do a few songs. And he was like, you know what, if we’re going to go, let’s do it, and let’s be loud. Let’s throw down. (Leahy laughs) He’s bringing in a semi-trailer with the whole stage set up. We’ve got two giant TV monitors bigger than this office that are going to flank the stage. It’s going to be cool.

Leahy: If you want to have fun and if you’re sick and tired of just being cooped up in your house wearing a mask, you know, going, oh, the sky is falling (Ogles chuckles) and you want to get back to living, this is the event to do it.

Ogles: Absolutely.

Leahy: MuleFest in Columbia, Tennessee. Two weeks from Friday on May 28, from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. The featured act, Trace Adkins, and the following day the parade. Trace is the grand marshall of that parade.

Ogles: That’s right. He and I’ll be in the parade plus some other dignitaries.

Leahy: Oh, you’ll be in it too! Well, there you go.

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.
Photo “MuleFest Logo” by Maury County MuleFest.