Live music has long been a touchstone here in the Frio River Canyon—from guitar-and-cajón camp songs at Roundup to spirited performances at Laity Lodge’s Cody Center; from bonfire sing-alongs at Windsong to late-night song swaps at the Lodge’s storied Waterfall Patio.
One of the more recent traditions is a mid-week “parents night out” concert at Laity Lodge Family Camp. The camp bell rings and counselors whisk away kids for a night of shenanigans while parents gather under the Back Porch for hors d’oeuvres and colorful aguas frescas. Later, following a chef-prepared meal (“Steak or salmon?”), the grown-ups kick back in the Welcome House for an intimate evening of live music performed by that session’s musical guest. No need for an opening act to warm up the crowd: these audience members have already been hanging out with the artist and the artist’s family, eating and talking and playing together all week.
Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter Claire Holley (shown above) and her husband Chad brought their two children, Jack and Nate, out for the week and ended up pulling double-duty—in addition to playing music all week at Family Camp, she led an all-ages songwriting workshop at Headwaters, then gave a concert with her collaborator and friend Dan Phelps at the Cody Center down the river at the Lodge.
“Of all the times I’ve been to the Frio River Canyon, this was the first time I actually got in the river,” Claire explained. “Early Sunday morning, as the sun was barely showing itself, as the bird watchers were quietly gathering near the Lodge, I got up the courage to go paddleboarding by myself. It was a rare moment of quiet meditation—if left to my own devices, I prefer staying busy with others around. As I listened to the sound of the oars moving through the water, I thought back on the very full, very rich week—how grateful I was for new friendships, new musical discoveries. I felt my fear dissipating, and hope coming to the surface, like some of those little fish that poked their heads out at Headwaters earlier that week. Laity nurtures and invites these soul-restoring moments and gives us the permission to have them.”
Family Camp’s Summer 2018 musical lineup also included Daniel Makins, Jenny and Tyler Somers, Jonah Werner, and Andy Gullahorn and Jill Phillips.