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Outstanding MHS Alumni makes Ozarks appearance

Justin David talks Reunion Fest, the return of live shows

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Marshfield High School graduate Justin David will be honored as this year’s Outstanding MHS Alumni at the town’s Reunion Fest celebration this Saturday. The 11th annual event will be held at the Marshfield Community Center from 5-11 p.m. on July 2, in lieu with the 4th of July celebrations. 

While David is unable to attend due to weekends shows in Billings and Great Falls, Montana, his family will return home to recognize this accolade.

“My family will all be at the event. My wife, Abby, and my daughters Molly and Mylea,” he said. “My girls are going to accept the award for me and I’m really excited for them to be in town to do that. “

The Outstanding MHS Alumni award recognizes just what it implies – a Marshfield graduate who has gone on to make a positive impact after graduation and stands out amongst the masses. David joins the ranks of previous winners Doctor Tommy Macdonnell, Senator Dan Clemons, Lt. Generals Neal T. Jaco, Marty Robinson and Jerry Ragsdale and more. 

“Marshfield has so many great people that are still in the community and I can think of a lot of classmates and Marshfield alumni in general who have had successful careers and great lives,” David said. “I’m just happy to be a part of that and so proud to receive this award.”

A special show a few weeks ago offered me the chance to reconnect with fellow MHS graduate, Justin David. David has been the band leader and tour manager for country artist Colt Ford for the past 10 years. During the pandemic, he and every other musicians world was turned upside down with the mass cancellations of live shows.

“It was kind of rough for a little while but we were fortunate enough to be working so much before the pandemic that when everything opened back up, we were kind of just shot out of a gun again,” he said.

With just over 100 concerts scheduled this year, the band hasn’t missed a beat when it comes to getting back on the road. The June show at Shady Gators at the Lake of the Ozarks was no exception. Ford had the crowd in the palm of his hands at the outdoor venue, a place they’ve frequented in the past few years. 

“Even during the pandemic, this was one of the venues that we were able to still play. They said ‘hey, we’re going to try to stay open and keep everything going, and of course… we wanted to work,” he explained. “It’s been a blast and it’s such a beautiful venue with the stage overlooking the crowd and a beautiful pool area.”

Everything is pretty much back to normal in the music industry, with crowds seemingly more thankful than ever to have the chance to hear their favorite songs in a live setting. 

“The shows are absolutely phenomenal,” David added. “It’s strange that everything just snapped right back to normal but we’re loving the crowds, loving the energy and we couldn’t be happier to be back out on the road full-time.”

When things were looking bleak for live performers, Colt Ford was one of the bands that took advantage of the drive-in movie style concerts. 

“Those were great. Everybody either stayed in their car or just right on the outside of their vehicles. It was the perfect way to distance and still enjoy live music. It was a fun time while we were waiting for things to kind of open back up. When they did, we jumped right into festival season. So we did a lot of outdoor stuff, which was fortunate,” he said. “But right now the industry is kind of wide open, whether it’s festivals, arenas, honkeytonks… you name it, we’re playing it.”

The show at Shady Gators was the last show currently scheduled for this year in Missouri, but fans can still catch them within a few hour drive at the Country Stampede music festival in Topeka, KS this July. 

“The Country Stampede is a huge event and we’re so excited to be there the first night kicking everything off,” David said. “It’s always a huge festival and it’s the closest we’ll be to Missouri until 2023.”

The Country Stampede is a 3-day outdoor music and camping festival with some the biggest names in country music taking the stage July 14-16. Full ticket information can be found by visiting countrystampede.com.

“Music is alive and well, and we’re happy to be back doing what we love… playing music and having a good time with people,” he added. “Colt has a lot of new music getting ready to be released. So we've we've got to we got high hopes for 2022 and then moving forward to next year too, of course.”

David said the group always enjoys their time at the Lake of the Ozarks and they took full advantage of the beautiful weather while they were in town, playing a round of golf at The Club at Porto Cima and spending some time on the water.

“We have so many great friends up in this area, we played golf, went out on a nice boat ride enjoyed the lake and went to a couple nice restaurants while we were in town. They're always great to us at that venue so we always have a good time,” he said. “We’re just thankful for everybody and hope they continue to get out and support live music.”

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