Kopecky Family Band

This year, the Nashville-based, indie rock collective Kopecky Family Band made their way to Manchester for not one, not two, but three debut performances.

The “family” members of this six-piece ensemble include Gabe Simon, Steven Holmes, Corey Oxendine, Markus Midkiff, David Krohn and last, but certainly not least, Queen of “The War Wagon,” Kelsey Kopecky.

Friday afternoon, KFB was scheduled to deliver their closing Bonnaroo performance at the Ford Focus drive-in area. Everything seemed to be going fine, high-spirited fans coming and going, and then all of a sudden—BOOM—the power in the tent suddenly went out.

Rather than stressing, worrying or making a dramatic fuss over the situation, KFB started handing out Pabst Blue Ribbon beer to their band members and the handful of other people already inside the tent (emergency problem-solving skills we could all stand to take note of).

This group of carefree, talented young musicians began their journey as a band back in 2007, straight out of Belmont University, and they’ve made touring a way of life and made many friends along the way. These guys (and one gal) have played the stages of South by Southwest and CMJ Festival, and now they can add Bonnaroo as another notch on their belts.

To get from place to place, KFB travel in a family van they’ve nicknamed “The War Wagon.” The family vehicle landed this name because, in David’s words, “Gabe’s a very aggressive driver. He’s not a bad driver. He’s just kind of got that mentality that ‘Oh, we are bigger them.’ So that’s what we call the van when Gabe’s driving, basically.”

While on the road traveling around the country, this group loves to take as much experience from every city as they can. They say they love to explore, but just in case they need some down time on the road they are prepared for that as well. Kelsey says she brings her yoga mat everywhere, Gabe enjoys doing lots of reading to help keep him “focused and not so anxious,” and David loves watching movies on the iPad his brother gave him as a graduation present.

For Kelsey, the odds are pretty good that at least one of the guys will be supportive at any given time. With one of her and five of them, she says, “There’s always a little part of each guy that is really nice at all times. There’s always someone who just really gets me.”

Gabe chimes in laughing, “For example, last night she really wanted fried Oreos. She comes running to me.”

“And if she wants to pick someone for the Kelsey’s Choice Award to go get a beer, she picks me,” says David.

Kelsey adds, “Yes, the Kelsey’s Choice Award is my favorite. You get to go get a beer!”

“We all have our special little relationship with Kelsey,” says Gabe.

For those who haven’t had the chance to catch a KFB show, Kelsey describes what they try and give their audience: “Our live show is pretty high energy, and we hope that it is an emotional connection with the audience. It is for us.”

“It’s really meaty,” Gabe adds. “We just try and throw it all out there and be intense, but still be sensitive and as honest as we can. Whether that’s screaming our heads off or dancing all around, that’s something we like to embody.”

KFB may not meet the genealogical requirements of an immediate family—they don’t share the same parents—but they do have the dynamic of what a family should be down to a T. Held together by the glue of their love for listening to and creating music, they do share something that no one else is a part of. And that’s not so different from sharing a last name.