Ten years ago, independent label Third Man Records was born in Nashville. On Saturday (April 6), the label celebrated its anniversary with its first-ever, one-day festival complete with book readings from Third Man Books’ authors in front of the famed Rolling Record Store, Blue Room performances and a main stage on which The Raconteurs headlined and marked its first live set in eight years.
Co-founded by Jack White, Ben Swank and Ben Blackwell, Third Man has become known for living out its tagline: “You’re turntable’s not dead” — the mile-long line of festival-goers waiting to get into the Third Man store to browse its vinyl proved that claim to be true. Elsewhere, local vendors were selling everything from lingerie to guitar straps and food trucks offering ice cream and hot chicken were lined up along Nashville Rescue Mission’s parking lot where the main stage was planted.
The lineup boasted DJ sets from Margo Price and Alison Mosshart, rising bluegrass artist Lillie Mae, garage rockers Detroit Cobras and both Swank and Blackwell’s respective bands Soledad Brothers and The Dirtbombs, among other acts. But no matter who took to the stage, the sentiment was always the same: “Thank you, Jack.” As Detroit Cobras’ frontwoman Rachel Nagy said, “Jack, we are so f—ing proud of you, what you’ve accomplished. We all came up together in the garage bullshit, but when you started rising, you always pulled the rest of us up.”
White himself dropped by nearly every set to watch from the sidelines with his family nearby, even walking directly through the crowd to get to and from the main stage — stopping when asked to shake the hands of gracious fans. One couldn’t help but notice the humbled smile plastered on his face (he was in such good spirits he even lightly rapped along to “Dirt Off Your Shoulder” while making his way back toward The Blue Room after The Dirtbombs’ set).