Thursday, August 8, 2013
“Dubstep grandpa” celebrated 100th concert at Granada Theater
The 71-year-old retiree is often in the front row, koozied beer in hand.
LOWER GREENVILLE At the ripe age of 71, John Ferguson doesn’t have any intentions of slowing down. "J Ferg" thrives in the world of live music as a devout fan, regular concert attendee, and active music promoter.
On August 2, Ferguson notched an impressive milestone: It was his 100th show at Granada Theater. He went to see tribute bands Forgotten Space and A Live One at the historic movie-theater-turned-music-venue.
“[John] has been a great support to Granada,” said Tim Ziegler, manager of Granada Theater. “100 shows is a lot to see over the course of most people’s lives, much less at one venue. He’s one of us.”
Ferguson remembers his very first show at Granada, down to the date. It was January 29, 2005. Austin guitar virtuoso Eric Johnson was headlining and, as always, Ferguson arrived as the doors opened to claim his place front and center. That night, he witnessed opener Willy Porter play guitar and simultaneously loop tracks as if an entire band was playing. It’s a common practice now -- made popular by musicians like Keller Williams and possible by ever-growing technologies -- but at the time, Ferguson was mesmerized.
“He was doing something I had never seen before,” Ferguson said.
The following March, as he waited for Texas blues rocker Ian Moore to take the Granada stage, Ferguson overheard some patrons talking about the Bonnaroo arts and music festival.
“They were throwing out names like Umphrey’s McGee, Gov’t Mule, Widespread Panic, so I turned around and introduced myself,” Ferguson said. A few days later, he bought a four-day pass to Bonnaroo.
This chance conversation thrust Ferguson into a nearly decade-long venture to parts of the United States in search of killer lineups on the festival scene. Since his first Bonnaroo, Ferguson has raged more than 40 festivals, including Electric Forest in Rothbury, Michigan, and Vegoose Music Festival in Las Vegas. As a romantic tradition, he and his wife Roseann hop aboard Jam Cruise every January and get groovy with the performing artists in a more personal setting.
Ferguson’s 2013 schedule is stocked with plans to rock UtopiaFest (Utopia, Texas) in September, Bear Creek Music Festival (Live Oak, Florida) in November, and Dallas’ own Lights All Night in December.
Ferguson’s grandson, Max, was in tow for his 100th Granada concert last weekend. Max shook hands with “so many” people of varying ages that called his grandfather a friend, he said. And while Max was producing electronic music on his computer this summer, Ferguson delightfully took notes over his shoulder.
“My friends think I’m lucky to have a dubstep grandpa,” Max said.
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