"There's a lot of resentment still in the community from that," Cullen reports. "They don't like the idea that the government is swooping in there and taking somebody's property. They could have gone in with an investigative team and just busted people actually accused of selling drugs. Jimmy got a bum rap on that. But they have to blame somebody, and since he owned the place, there it was."

Cullen adds that he was disappointed other concert venues and music festivals in Missouri and beyond did not speak up in support of Tebeau.

In reality, most festivals and venues want to distance themselves as much as possible from drug use. Representatives from several major festivals (including Coachella, Bonnaroo and Sasquatch) declined to comment for this story when asked about drug use at their events. It seems ignoring the issue entirely is a safer strategy than reproaching law enforcement for making an example of someone.

Photograph by Jennifer Silverberg

Location Info


Zoe Campground & Amphitheater

Highway 19 at Sinking Creek
Salem, MO 65560

Category: Music Venues

Region: Outstate MO

On May 25, Tebeau played a farewell show with the Schwag at 2720 Cherokee in St. Louis. A mélange of hippies old and young lined up around the block before the doors opened. Despite a thorough security check, the aroma of smoldering weed wafted through the venue. The occasion was somber, but the atmosphere was playful and boozy. When it came time for the encore, the band played the Grateful Dead songs "Row Jimmy" and "Touch of Grey." It was an emotional moment for Tebeau.

"I noticed during 'Row Jimmy' that [Jimmy] was starting to struggle with singing the lines," recounts Schwag guitarist Sean Allen Canan. "His hat was down low over his eyes, and I could see he was swollen and choking out the lyrics by the time he began to sing 'Touch of Grey.' Not to mention all the hardcore fans in the front who were crying, as well as his wife and our crew on the side of the stage.

"It was very surreal and bittersweet for everyone."

Three days later Tebeau reported to a minimum-security prison in Yankton, South Dakota, to begin serving his 30-month sentence. The facility is 600 miles away from his family in St. Louis, but he's buoyed by a rumor that well-behaved inmates have access to a music room where he might be able to practice playing guitar.

"Hopefully I'll keep my chops up and come out a better musician than when I went in," Tebeau says. "I've played 3,000 gigs in my life, and I want to play 3,000 more. They said people weren't coming [to Schwagstock] for the music, but when we were playing there was quite a few people in front of the stage there to see the show. Some people go for wrong reasons, but I think the vast majority were there for the music." 

See Also:
- Best Old Band - 2006 - The Schwag

- Schwag frontman Jimmy Tebeau says Camp Zoe is an idyllic campground for weekend hippie jam fests. Federal prosecutors beg to differ. (February 2011)

- Schwag Frontman Jimmy Tebeau Faces 30-Month Sentence on Guilty Plea (June 2012)

- Schwagstock's Jimmy Tebeau Gets 30-Month Sentence for "Drug-Involved Premises" (October 2012)

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