Sam Riggs Apologizes After Fiery Guitar Stunt Gets Him Removed From Festival
If you ain't at ljt.. wyd?! Part 2 pic.twitter.com/OLyDiTBZZ4
— Andrew James Chapman (@Chapstickthehic) April 27, 2017
Rising Texas country star Sam Riggs lit up the stage at the Larry Joe Taylor Music Festival in Texas on April 26 … but he’s now apologizing for it.
The singer-songwriter is an up-and-coming artist in the Texas scene, and he was part of a five-day lineup at the Melody Mountain Ranch in Stephenville, Texas that featured other newcomers including Randall King and Caitlin Butts, Texas stars including Randy Rogers Band and Wade Bowen, and even legendary acts like Radney Foster and Asleep at the Wheel.
When Riggs took the stage on April 26, he ended his set by dousing an acoustic guitar in gasoline, then setting it on fire, holding it aloft and beating his chest to the cheers of the audience before smashing the guitar to pieces. As you can see in the fan-shot video above, the crowd went nuts … but Larry Joe Taylor was not nearly as happy afterward, since he had specifically denied Riggs permission for the stunt when asked about it in advance.
Riggs was asked to leave the festival, and Taylor’s wife, Sherry, later told Saving Country Music that Riggs’ tour manager had lied to them in order to pull off the stunt.
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“He brought a fire extinguisher on stage,” she said. “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.”
After Riggs lit the guitar on fire, Taylor reports, her husband told Riggs he had no respect for their family or their festival and ordered him off the festival property. “Riggs asked one of our festival managers if she could send a film crew to film them getting kicked out of the LJT Festival,” she claimed.
In a post to Instagram on Tuesday (May 2), Riggs gave his side of the incident and also apologized, admitting that he had been told in advance that he could not use fire as part of his show. He clarifies that “I was not escorted off the property, I peacefully left after the Taylors asked me to.”
“I have a passion for the stage and I love giving the crowd a show, so I chose to use fire during my set regardless by setting a damaged and broken guitar on fire on stage. I had a fire extinguisher standing by, and while I did not advise anyone from my staff to lie about what it was to be used for, my tour manager told the LJT stage manager that ‘it was a safety precaution because we were having issues with our sound equipment.’ So the dishonesty involving my crew did take place and I am ultimately responsible for actions they take on my behalf,” he states.
He goes on to say that he has the “utmost respect” for the Taylors and that while “I will never apologize for my passion on stage,” he takes responsibility for his actions and offers “my utmost apologies to the Taylor family for crossing a line they’d clearly drawn, for putting anyone at risk.”