Ink Life tour returns with ink slingers and Kentucky Headhunters
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By Chip Chandler — Digital Content Producer
The Ink Life Tattoo & Music Festival may be winding down elsewhere, but it's still going strong in Amarillo.
Founder Ragen St. Peter said the tour will hit only four cities in this, its eighth year, but he never hesitated to schedule an Amarillo stop.
"We love the town of Amarillo. The people are very welcoming, and a lot of the artists who come every year have repeat clientele," St. Peter said. "It's a great town for us."
The tour returns to town for three days of tats and tunes: Noon to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday and noon to 9 p.m. Sunday in the Amarillo Civic Center Complex North Exhibit Hall, 401 S. Buchanan St. Tickets are $25 daily, $50 for daily VIP access and $75 for weekend pass, plus fees.
About 200 tattoo artists will be on the floor, inking customers and entering a series of tattoo contests.
Sideshow perfomers and human suspension artists will entertain throughout the afternoon daily, followed by illusionist Dan Sperry on Friday and Saturday. Each day ends in a concert:
- Friday: Rock band Fuel performs at 9:30 p.m., with Amarillo rock band OddFellas opening at 8:30 p.m.
- Saturday: Country band The Kentucky Headhunters performs at 9:45 p.m., with Canyon country band The RagTown Chiefs opening at 9 p.m.
- Sunday: Country band Texas Hippie Coalition performs at 8 p.m.
According to Headhunters' co-founder Richard Young, having ink wasn't a requirement for getting booked for the festival.
"We don't have any tattoos," Young said. "I got poked with a pencil in first grade, though.
"But we're very much a people's band, so I think we're going to go over real well."
Young and brother Fred are celebrating 50 years of making music together, first as Itchy Brother beginning in 1968, then as the Headhunters from 1986 on. The band is best known for hit country singles like "Dumas Walker," "Walk Softly on This Heart of Mine" and "Oh Lonesome Me," but Richard Young said the band is working more in the blues arena these days.
"That's where our true love is," he said.
The Headhunters and THC are the the first country-blues bands booked on the Ink Life tour, which generally has featured rock and metal bands.
"I was wanting to mix it up a little bit," St. Peter said.
Other changes are forthcoming, as well.
"I'm trying to get off the road as much as possible," St. Peter said. "I don't know if it will be next year or what, but there will be a time when I get off the road (completely). ... I'll transfer (Ink Life) to somebody and teach them everything I know."