At the time of recording, this was still something of a developing story, as the ripples from a fairly major event snafu were rippling outwards.
The press stories from Lexington Kentucky can tell the story better than a middle-aged music press writer from Sydney can. But put simply, there was a Luke Bryan concert at the Talon Winery and Vineyards in October 2015 that probably needed a better risk management plan.
To say the least.
Risk: half or more of the audience stay stuck in traffic at the time the concert starts, throughout the concert, after the concert, and as late as up to 4am the next morning.
Severity/outcome: parody songs are written in the event’s honour.
And so it transpired.
Cut forward a few days later and the parody song (that Melissa Deaton-Johnathon wrote in her head in the car and then committed to Youtube posterity) was starting to go viral.
In stepped Lex-18 again, and the face and voice that launched several dozen Woodsongs Old Time Music Hour episodes was moving up to the majors.
Video and story from Lex-18: http://www.lex18.com/Clip/11920177/luke-bryan-fan-writes-parody
Very early one morning in Sydney, and later in the day only it was yesterday the day before in Lexington Kentucky (paging Dr Who to the TARDIS, Dr Who) Melissa spoke with Bill Quinn about the whole shooting match:
*** Audio file will be removed by the end of March 2020 ***
*** Audio file will be removed by the end of March 2020 ***
Text of the interview with Melissa Deaton-Johnathon:
Bill Quinn: Melissa Deaton-Johnathon, good afternoon.
Melissa Deaton-Johnathon: Hi, thanks for having me.
BQ: Melissa, there’s a story that I could not help but notice on social media, a performer’s name I don’t know: Luke Bryan. Maybe you can help us out here: what happened when Luke Bryan tried to play a concert near you?
MD-J: Well, they brought Luke Bryan to a local vineyard called Talon Winery. It is down a little two-lane country road, and at the time when we bought the tickets, we didn’t realise they’d sold 20 000 tickets. Which for Lexington, Kentucky and the venue where it was being held was an extraordinary amount of people.
They tried to bring them down the little country road, there was really no planning involved – the city was not involved, it was just the venue and Luke Bryan’s team, and they weren’t very familiar with the venue and how people were going to get in and out.
So the concert was supposed to start at, I think, 7pm or 7.30pm. We headed out about 5pm, and hit traffic on a little country road, and proceeded to sit in traffic for three and a half hours and only moved a couple of miles. And it was backed up almost all the way into downtown Lexington. It was the middle of rush hour and it was backed up eight to 10 miles.
People were getting out of their cars and walking down this little emergency lane with cars also driving down the emergency lane. It was quickly getting out of hand. It was not expected.
We didn’t end up making it to the concert. We had to turn around, we were running out of gas. We still had miles to go. The concert had already started as far as we knew, and some people walked eight to 10 miles one way to get to this concert.
People who did get in didn’t get out until 4am and it was on a work night.
So it was totally unexpected. You go to any concert and you think you’ll get in, you’ll have a great time, you’ll get out, you’ll go home, go to work the next day, and it just didn’t work out that way. It was quite the debacle that will go down in Lexington history.
BQ: What night of the week was it?
MD-J: It was a Tuesday evening. It was on a weekday originally and it rained for days so they had to reschedule it. So people had gotten a day off from work had to reschedule – most people can’t get off work, and you can’t take two days off for a concert. I’ve got twins at home and a grandmother watching the twins. And most people are in that situation with babysitters and you don’t think that you have to plan a two-day vacation just to go to a concert.
We had to turn around. We couldn’t risk getting stuck in there and not getting home to the children. That’s a really bad situation. People were running out of gas and having to be towed out. It was not a good situation.
BQ: So at some point after that, you’ve decided to pick up your guitar and tell us about what happened next.
MD-J: While we were sitting in line, I started joking around with one of Luke Bryan’s songs. It’s called I Don’t Want This Night To End. And I said, “You know? He might not want this night to end, but I definitely want this night to end at this point.”
As I started thinking about it, the next day I started listening to the song and I thought, Oh my gosh; I have the perfect parody for this. And I just wrote it right there that morning. All the words just came to me, all about our experience of our traffic incident and not getting in to see him and just wanting the night to end.
BQ: Now you’re a songwriter of long standing and so’s your husband Michael. Is that a regular thing where you have an experience and the song pretty much writes itself?
MD-J: I’m not as talented a songwriter as my husband. He’s just brilliant and they just come to him. He can just write songs, sit down and amazing songs just come out. I have a lot harder time writing songs. I’ve only written about three songs. I’ve thought of little joke parodies and one-liners, but no situation has really come together perfectly to come out. It was [Bryan’s] song, it fit exactly to what happened, so it was just a perfect storm, really, for the parody to be created.
BQ: After you wrote that song, you did a little clip and then you got some attention from the media.
MD-J: Yes, I did. Everyone would love for that to happen, but you never think that it really will or anyone will really hear it. I put it on Youtube and shared it on Facebook with some of my friends. And everyone started sharing it. 20 000 other people experienced this so it started getting shared with people I didn’t even know. “Oh, you gotta watch this; this is what happened to you!”
It got shared on our local news station, and a few days later they contacted me and they wanted to come and do a story on it. They came out to my house and did a big news story on me on LEX-18, and it was a really fun. The video went a little viral, over 8 000 views. So it was really fun; it was something that could kind of turn a negative experience into something you could laugh about, and everyone could relate to.
And that’s what I would hope that he could see the humour in it because he doesn’t want people to pay to see him and not get to see him. He doesn’t want that to happen either, and so he can say, Hey, we’re just going to laugh about it. And hopefully we can see him next time he comes in. We can all look back and remember it with laughter instead of thinking negatively about it.
BQ: Melissa, thank you so much for joining us tonight… this morning… wherever we are. Thanks so much.
MD-J: Thanks for having me.
Here’s Melissa’s parody song on Youtube:
Be sure to catch both Melissa Deaton-Johnathon and her media conglomerate husband Michael Johnathon for Woodsongs Old Time Music Hour on Monday nights at 8pm ET in the USA, streamed live on www.folk-book.org for members, and syndicated around the world on eleventy bazillion radio stations and television devices.
Back editions of the Woodsongs Old Time Music Hour show in MP4 and audio formats are available at www.woodsongs.com
And it wouldn’t be fair if we didn’t give a tip of the wide-brimmed hat to the merry muse of this piece of Kentucky folklore, Mr Luke Bryan. May he ascend Phoenix-like from the ashes of this particular night, and may the whole experience just give a little boost to his rising star. We love it when that happens. It’s the folk (and country) process at work.
The audio of the interview has been accessed 639 times as of Monday 24 February 2020.