Cigar Festival: CATSfest. San Antonio TX. May 2016 as told by T Foxxx, and transcribed by Truestogies.
I am an entertainer, a musician, many people refer to what I do as an artist, a producer and some simply as a DJ. I don’t use a ghost producer I create my own music. With that being said, I am not a writer, but fortunately my husband is.
The following account is a “cleanup” of my thoughts memories, and emotions through the hands and artistry of a ghost writer. This is a first for me, but I thought about the importance of my experience and what it would mean to people. Those of you who have never been to a Cigar fest, thinking about going, or changed their mind and decided not to go.
I wanted to make sure that what I tell you is told in a way that evokes the same emotions, and conveys the experiences that I had so you feel just what it’s like, and understand what this can do for you and what it did for me.
Day 1. The Start
The event officially did not start until Friday, but the “unofficial activities and spontaneous pre-pre-parties had already started. On Thursday night there was a small get together at Redlands Cigar Company. I went there with my friend Jason and walked in around 6:30 we walked through the store in front to the lounge in back where the Herf had started. I looked around for a familiar face. I spotted Chris Preetorius who I had been conversing with over several months in preparation for performing at the event. I immediately felt like I was with friends and family, after a few minutes I knew I was. I went on to meet his wife Kerri who is heavily involved in CATS, the organization of CATS fest, and Operation Cigars for warriors. I looked around and spotted more people like Robin T Rushalo, Storm Boen, Shorty, and many others. I got excited every time I saw another person I recognized like I was seeing family. You know that cousin from Iowa that moved away when you were 2 you’ve been hearing about your entire life and finally got to meet after 25 years, yeah that was the feeling. I truly felt welcome and part of the gang. Since it was a last minute decision to go to this mini-herf pre-pre-party, I had already made plans and very unfortunately had to cut my stay short.
Day 2. Providing Music at the registration; Parking lot of The La Quinta Inn San Antonio.
The next morning around 10am I arrived at The La Quinta Inn. Gear in hand, proudly wearing my “Property of iROBUSTO” shirt I started setting up under the tent. I taped my iROBUSTO sign up on the front of the table in view of everyone entering, and plugged in, did a quick sound check and started rockin! I’ve never felt more relaxed playing a set. This was a far cry from 5000db of electronic music pumping into a crowd of thousands of crazed ravers dancing endlessly in a sea of darkness interrupted only by flashing lights and lasers or their own glowing paraphernalia. I felt more like a designer, carefully laying out sounds and familiar riffs that made the attendants feel comfortable smile, evoke good memories and generally feel good hearing some classics, mixed with some cigar themed songs, and a good selection of Texas born artists. Coincidentally Stevie Ray Vaughn’s “Texas Flood” was very appropriate. I knew I had nailed it when I saw people look over and smile, give a thumbs up, start singing, or just simply nodding their head to the beat. While playing I lit up an Asylum Schizo and sat for a minute (This doesn’t happen at a nightclub!).
There was instant camaraderie, I spoke with many people, about myself, them, music, iROBUSTO, and the amazing SmokeSetter which I so cleverly used in plain view and then happily demonstrated its versatility, which of course I then directed them to the iROBUSTO website in order to purchase. A few people sat with me, Posed for pics, some even got autographs. A few hours into it I lit up a 5 Vegas A, this brought me to the End of my set over 5 hours later. The place was nearly empty as most people had already either headed to the VIP dinner, or out and about San Antonio.
Day 3. CIGAR ROUNDUP, at the Tejas Rodeo Company.
Yes this was a genuine authentic western rodeo company. We have them in NY and this was just like it, except this was Texas so it was big, no, HUGE! I immediately started to look for the organizers to present the very generous donations from iROBUSTO, Buffalo Cigars, and Tinder Box Buffalo. The donations from Tinder Box were cigars, cutters and matches, these went directly to the Operations Cigars for Warriors to be sent to our deployed troops. The donations from IROBUSTO which was a good selection of premium cigars went to the auction block. The donation from Buffalo Cigars consisted of a glass top humidor with “Buffalo Cigars” etched in the top and autographed by Football Hall of Famer Thurman Thomas. Inside was a Buffalo Cigars golf towel, a cigar travel case, matches ,a hygrometer and a 5 pack of limited edition Thurman Thomas cigars with an autographed picture. This was put into a raffle which drew quite a bit of attention.
I was called up to draw the winning ticket, I drew it, Shorty announced the winner then I was handed the microphone. I proudly and enthusiastically addressed the crowd telling them all about Buffalo Cigars, Thurman Thomas and the Buffalo Bills, the cigar blend and the contents of the humidor before handing the prize over to the winner who was obviously elated and in an almost state of shock.
The roundup consisted of a large tent, several other smaller tents and outbuildings each housing a brand or brands, accessories and their representatives along with other vendors selling various items of possible interest to the cigar enthusiast lifestyle, whatever that is? As we all know cigar smokers are a diverse people. The grounds were covered with people from all walks of life. The days of stereotypical thought assuming the only people that smoke cigars are fat old rich men, are long, way long gone. Everyone was enjoying a Cigar chatting smiling in a Cigar lovers nirvana.
As I walked around I found myself easily chatting to the representatives, owners and leaders in the industry. Something I never expected to do so matter of factly, but they were just hanging out relaxing and enjoying it like the rest of us.
Unfortunately I had my camera stolen, not at the event, and I lost almost all of the photos.
What are shown with this article are all I have left.
Last but not least… The Haul.
I didn’t have a VIP pass, this was for charity, and there was quite a few companies without reps there, yet the generous haul of fine cigars and bits of swag were still plentiful. There’s a few that aren’t in this pic that were sent to three people to see if they could “Meet in the Middle” on them *wink! So watch for those in the near future.
If you ever get a chance, No, I’ll rephrase that. If you love cigars, you need to get yourself to a cigar festival. Get the VIP pass it will be well worth it. I am definitely looking forward to my next festival. Hmmm, Barn Burner, THE BIG SMOKE!? All of the above.