Music Ranch

Music Ranch

AN INTIMATE HOT SPOT FOR CONCERTS AND SPECIAL EVENTS

BY KELSEY PHILLIPS

Polk County is home to an abundance of littleknown treasures, and the Music Ranch is one of them. Located in North Lakeland, this local music venue has seen the likes of many big-named artists. The Music Ranch is also home to Phil Stevens, who’s found a way to bring his love of country and rock music and a fun atmosphere together in one amazing place.

Music Ranch Band

Stevens was introduced to the members of the Rossington Collins Band in 1998. After playing with them at a corporate picnic, he decided to open up his heart and his home to bands and artists of all kinds. He invited the band to play at his opening. The Music Ranch quickly evolved into what it is today, a place for friends and families to gather and enjoy a variety of music genres. “I always say God must have intervened and did something because I could have never dreamed of this,” said Phil.

The Music Ranch has hosted many famous bands and performers, including country artists Kellie Pickler, Trace Adkins, Jake Owen, and Billy Currington. The stage has been open to many Rock-n-Roll performers such as members of the Lynyrd Skynyrd Band, Leon Russell, Tracy Lawrence, and Big Bill Morganfield (the son of Muddy Waters). Stevens has partnered with 97 Country to help bring a high caliber of country entertainment to the Music Ranch.

Over the years, Stevens has had many unique experiences at the Music Ranch. Chris Cagle wrote a song in Stevens’ house, Kellie Pickler and her grandfather sat in his living room to relax after a performance, and he had the honor of playing “Fire on the Mountain” with songwriter and musician, George McCorkle.

music ranch photo wall

The venue holds about 300 people, with bigger concerts sometimes attracting up to 350. The Music Ranch is also a nice location for weddings, birthday and holiday parties, reunions and other private gatherings. Stevens himself can play the roles of DJ, booking agent, events coordinator, maintenance man and the technical specialist for these types of events. Additionally, he plays guitar in the Music Ranch Band, which sometimes opens for different artists or performers at events.

At the age of 59, he enjoys doing it all. When asked why, his response is simple. ¡§I do it because I love it and people are nothing but kind to me,¡¨ said Stevens. “Most of my life I’ve gotten up at 4 in the morning and gone to work. I’ve always believed in giving thanks for what I have. I believe in being kind, and being positive. People feel at peace at the Music Ranch and I am blessed because this is the kind of atmosphere I want to give them.¨ Phil does not sell alcohol at his venue but guests can bring their own food and beverages to enjoy.

Us & Kellie PicklerThe future of the Music Ranch lies in Stevens’ capable hands. While his wife, Christine, helps out with some of the events and technical aspects, Stevens runs the show. He hopes to keep things interesting, and is focused on bringing guests back to the ranch. His dream would be to have Eric Clapton perform at the Music Ranch. “He is in my era; I loved him and his music,¨ Phil said. He hopes to keep hosting shows and making people happy for as long as he is around; and he thoroughly enjoys what he does every day. Few ever get to live the way I do. I’ve realized, from different people coming in and out of my life, that all of us are the same and are just people trying to make it.¨

Mounted atop the entrance to the main building is a sign – a guitar with wings. It’s a symbol of his success in bringing musical entertainment to a higher level. Stevens’ only tattoo is of the same image. With this symbol, he maintains his roots and love for music – a reminder of what is important.

The Music Ranch is located at 1920 Banana Road, Lakeland. For more information please call 863-815- 2293, visit www.musicranch.org, or visit his Facebook page www.facebook.com/themusicranch.