Keith Urban: ‘Festivals Were Part of My Raising’
When Keith Urban's recent set at New Orleans Jazz Fest was threatened by rain and storms the singer didn't miss a beat, segueing into covers of Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Who'll Stop the Rain" without the benefit of his band. He's a festival pro, born into an outdoor music scene that included fierce competition in Australia.
Urban tells Taste of Country that summer festivals have long been a tradition throughout his home country, although there's a twist. Growing up he would compete at them as a member of a country music club.
“We’d all go to whatever chosen town or city it was in Australia and everyone would converge and they’d do a two or three day festival,” the 2015 Taste of Country Music Festival headliner says.
During the fests, two clubs would compete against each other. Urban didn't say how his club did, but if he was half the guitarist he is today, one figures Team Keith more than held its own.
Urban — who'll also headline Country Jam Colorado June 18-21 — also attended festivals as a fan, so he can relate to fans who kind of freak out when he's nearby.
“Definitely had a Chris Farley moment when I first met Don (Williams)," he shares. "Just asking stupid questions because I was just such an uber-fan.”
Many of Urban's festival fans can keep their cool, including one woman who asked him to sign her leg during a show. “Then this girl … disappeared for second and I thought she was just making her way to the stage," the star recalls. "She popped back up and threw her leg onto the stage. She had a prosthetic leg!”
“How do you pass back a prosthetic leg?” he asks. “Do you say, 'hop on up here'?”