Ellee Fletcher & Matt Bizer on the evolution of Luck Reunion – the annual musical pilgrimage held at Willie Nelson’s Texan ranch

What started as an exclusive music event held at Willie Nelson‘s Texan ranch, the now popular Luck Reunion has turned into a musical pilgrimage for fans of country, rock, folk and Americana music. Celebrating the evolution of musicians and artists, the event also plays host to a number of pop up stalls and local food and beverage producers.

The 2017 Luck Reunion features the likes of Willie Nelson & FamilyConor Oberst & Friends (featuring M. WardThe Felice BrothersMargo Price and more), not to mention Parker Millsap and Wild Reeds. Before the March 16th celebration, we talk to festival producers Ellee Fletcher and Matt Bizer to find out more about the evolution of Luck Reunion.

From your perspective, how has The Luck Reunion evolved over the last five years?

From our perspective, the public perception of the brand and acceptance of our mission have evolved the most. We began with a small Austin audience and a group of trusting artists who really just took a chance on us, and who have continued to be our champions and spokespeople.

The early-days fans and artists have been so instrumental in putting us on the map that we’ve been able to cultivate a truly diverse and growing audience who are paying attention to what we do. It is because of that support and visibility that we’ve been able to improve production quality, attract incredible partners, and bring on a group of amazing people to help make it all happen.

The location is part of what makes this such a great event – what are you favourite aspects of putting on an event here?

Luck has a reputation as a gathering place for artists. It’s Willie’s hang. We gravitated to the location for that reason – we wanted to draw on its history and create experiences that bring people together to just jam and draw inspiration from each other. Luck is the perfect backdrop for the event we set out to create, where real appreciators of music can not only discover new talent, but also feel connected to artists they love.

A small hill country “town” with creaky old buildings lends itself to a really interactive experience: our performers and vendors are taking in and enjoying this historic location right alongside the audience. Being able to provide guests and artists with unique access to this special place is one of the best parts of the job.

There is always some excellent curation behind this event – can you tell me a bit about what goes into this process?

It honestly starts with us just passing music around to each other. Anything we hear and love. We don’t adhere to a proper method or try to chase the hottest thing. We personally listen to and love every person that steps on our stages – that’s what determines it. Plus, a lot of our performers are friends we’ve known forever or have gotten to know through Luck, and they will often throw in their own suggestions of who we should be booking. So it’s more of a cluster than a process, but it hasn’t let us down yet.

What’s Willie’s involvement in the organisation of the event, if any?

Willie is our landlord as well as a partner in Luck Productions. He’s been very supportive of our vision. And he has a hell of a backyard.

There’s a few great up and comers in the lineup – who are you most excited about? Who should everyone listen to?

Everyone on the lineup is really special – we recommend them all. We are excited to have some new “Luck Family” members…Devon Gilfillian, The Wild Reeds, The National Reserve, Big Thief…they are all great. We’re also thrilled to bring back Aaron Lee Tasjan, Valerie June and Indianola – plus Lillie Mae and Erin Rae who participated in our “Luck Mansion” series in Nashville. But seriously, listen to all of them. (Our Luck Reunion Spotify playlist is a good place to start).

Are there any remaining bucket list performers you’re hoping will play a future event?

DOLLY.

The Nashville scene is as iconic as they come – how did your event go during Americana last year and how does it compare to what you do in Austin?

Nashville was a dream – the perfect place for our first project outside of Luck. We partnered with the amazing Third Man Records, took over an old mansion for a week and brought together some of our favorite artists for a series of collaborative performances that we captured on film. We came away with some gorgeous content that will be rolling out VERY soon, as well as TMR vinyl pressings of the sessions.

The Mansion Sessions and our Americana showcase were opportunities to begin building out new content avenues and smaller scale events while staying true to our overall mission of creating somewhat rogue, out-of-the-box experiences with artists who are really contributing to the American roots music narrative.

We have a few irons in the fire – from content-driven projects to partnerships with other festivals (we will be at High Water Festival in South Carolina this April!), plus additional stand-alone events. We consider Luck Reunion to be the flagship event of what we hope will become a very full roster of Luck Productions projects.

To find out more about Luck Reunion, which will be held in Luck, Texas, next Thursday, March 16th, head HERE.