Texas music artist Sam Riggs was kicked out of the Larry Joe Taylor Festival for lighting his guitar on fire and smashing it on stage on Wednesday night (4-26) of the annual music event. Furthermore, Saving Country Music has confirmed that the Sam Riggs camp had requested six months prior to the performance that Sam be able to incorporate fire into his show, and was expressly told by the festival “no.” Even after the denied request and concerns from the Larry Joe Taylor staff, the tour manager for Sam Riggs lied to the stage manager of the event after the stage manager became concerned fire would be used in the show.
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Arguably the largest festival in the Texas music scene, the Larry Joe Taylor Festival sees over 50,000 attendees over the week long event at the Melody Mountain Ranch in Stephenville, TX. Despite strong weather that moved through the area on Saturday, accounts from the festival are that 2017 was another successful year.
One of the most talked-about events of the week was at the end of Sam Riggs’ set Wednesday night when he doused an acoustic guitar with gasoline and lit it on fire, holding it up in the air while he flashed devil horns and beat his fist against his chest before smashing the guitar on the stage. Videos of the incident were shared far and wide via social media, and Saving Country Music criticized the event for being tasteless.
Though numerous fans and surrogates for Sam Riggs have been insisting that prior approval from the Larry Joe Taylor Fest had been secured for the guitar lighting, according to Larry Joe Taylor’s wife Sherry, this was not the case, insisting they told Sam Riggs management six months prior, “No, no fire.”
“When [Sam Riggs’] tour manager was setting up for his show, he brought a fire extinguisher on stage,” Sherry Taylor explains to Saving Country Music. “John Tadlock, our stage manager (and ironically a fireman in the Metroplex) asked what he was going to do with the fire extinguisher. The tour manager said they were having issues with their equipment and it was a safety precaution. Tadlock immediately responded, ‘Well, when I see a fire extinguisher I’m thinking there is going to be a fire.’ The tour manager promised it was just a safety measure.”
In videos of the incident, Riggs is seen carelessly dousing the acoustic guitar with an accelerant, with much of the liquid pouring out on the stage before tossing the still opened bottle to the side, liquid pouring out of it the whole time. Often fire codes, especially for live events such as Larry Joe Taylor Fest, along with insurance regulations, prohibit the use of fire in live shows, even if it is in a controlled environment and handled by professionals. In the case of Sam Riggs, the carelessness was cause for even greater concern. Sherry Taylor also confirmed that it was gasoline used to light the guitar on fire, and not a safer, more appropriate liquid for such performance uses.
“Larry Joe told [Sam Riggs] he had no respect for music, our event or our family,” says Sherry Taylor. “He was immediately thrown out of the festival by Larry Joe Taylor. Both Larry Joe and Zack [Festival Production Manager] told Riggs to get off the property. When he realized they were serious Riggs asked one of our festival managers if she could send a film crew to film them getting kicked out of the LJT Festival.”
If you ain’t at ljt.. wyd?! Part 2 pic.twitter.com/OLyDiTBZZ4
— Andrew James Chapman (@Chapstickthehic) April 27, 2017