Spring at the Silos

A glimpse into the daily routine of a touring band

Staff, Contributor

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For many, the fantasy of joining a band and hitting the open road is simply a daydream. For the members of Dawson Hollow it is a reality. Their lives on the road, however, aren’t always about the picture perfect instagram moments. Cold early mornings, expert trailer maneuvering skills, heavy lifting, switching modes from introvert to extrovert, and even unexpected sunburns are all part of the job. This series follows the band through a day at The Silos in Waco, TX.


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  • Fiddle player. Lead driver. Trailer loading expert. Mountain man: Kyle Link is the muscle behind Dawson Hollow. The band travels with a 15 passenger van that pulls the equipment trailer. Kyle is the man often found behind the steering wheel. Then, upon arriving at the venue, he kicks into unload mode. The Spring at the Silos event featured multiple bands throughout the day. Therefore, even though they didn’t play until noon, the band arrived bright and early at 8am to setup and soundcheck. It was a chilly morning in Texas, but the impending energy at The Silos helped create a buzz of excitement for the day ahead.

  • Hurry up and wait: With an 8am setup and a 12pm showtime, the band had a bit of time to unwind before taking the stage. Aaron Link (Drums, guitar, and all around mad genius) can often be found hanging out in a quiet spot backstage in preparation for shows.

  • Sometimes a rusty beam functions as a dressing room: Being the only female in the band, Rachel Starnes (Piano, mandolin cello and vocals) often has to get creative. After setup and soundcheck, the band begins their pre-show routine. Vocal warm-ups, outfit changes, and hair and makeup (mostly for Rachel). Dressing rooms aren’t available, but sometimes a steel beam backstage works just fine.

  • From the oldest to the youngest: Family friendly events bring about an atmosphere like no other. The Silos is built around an atmosphere of togetherness and attracts families from around the country. Even toddlers can enjoy the show, with the help of their tricked out protective headphones of course.

  • It’s all about the swag: The merch table sits front and center at Dawson Hollow shows. The 5 band members always travel with their tour manager, Luke Elfrink, but often bring along a few family/crew as well. For large events, like Spring at the Silos, the extra hands are essential. Between songs the band gave the crowd the chance to win a free merch pack by entering a text contest. They also gave away free Dawson Hollow stickers to anyone who followed the band on social media. The band also offers an extensive collection of merchandise for fans to purchase and take home.

  • The Main Event: Band frontman, Ben Link (Lead vocals, banjo, guitar, and drums), puts extensive thought into building setlists for their shows. For this set they had 45 minutes to take the crowd on a journey. There is a science behind how the band orders their songs. Taking the audience from a low moment to a high energy anthem creates a tension that adds excitement to the live experience. This was also the band’s first time performing with their new in-ear monitors. The monitors, from JH Audio, allow each band member to hear their own unique mix of the performance so that they can seamlessly blend their instruments and harmonies. Not to mention, the monitors are a huge investment in their long term hearing.

  • Soak it in: Sunshine and live music create the perfect atmosphere to lay back and relax in a bean bag on the lawn. The Spring at the Silos event brought guests from around the country and provided an amazing opportunity for Dawson Hollow to share their music with a new audience. This was the band’s second time playing at Magnolia. Their first trip was in October of 2018 for the Silobration event.

  • Coming alive: Dawson Hollow finishes their set with their uplifting anthem “Fire & Flood”. The song takes listeners on a journey from reminiscing about the blissfulness of youth to recognizing their struggles and moving past those struggles to an optimistic future. The song includes some symbolistic theatrics where the band lays down and slows down the tempo of the song, then comes alive as the song swells and the audience is encouraged to dance like nobody’s watching.

  • The beginning of the end: After the show is over, Kyle Link (Fiddle, guitar, and vocals) once again takes the reins. With a 15 passenger van and 18ft trailer, maneuvering parking lots can be difficult. John Link (Bass, spoons, and vocals) assists Kyle in hooking up the trailer and beginning a quick load-out so they don’t hold up traffic.

  • Locked and loaded: During load-out Kyle can most often be found stacking and strapping everything down in the trailer while everyone else hands him cases and instruments. Even with an 18ft trailer, fitting everything can be a challenge. With a 10 hour drive ahead it is important that the gear is organized and strapped in to avoid damage.

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