Saturday night at the Viva Terlingua Festival- rocked. My only regret was that I couldn’t be in all 3 venues at the same time. I missed some great music- and some great photos- while I was hearing great music and taking photos.
At the Boathouse, JW Louis, Matt Harlan, Patrick Green, and the Rock Bottom String Band played- a night of excellent songwriting and crowd-pleasing bluegrass.
At La Kiva, Bruce Salmon opened the show, Tahoma (with the new guitar player- even better than last year) played, followed by Penny Jo Pullus. The 7-piece John Bush Band closed the show.
The 1st Annual Viva Terlingua Music Festival is now just a fond memory, a hard-drive full of videos and photographs, and something to look back on as we plan next year’s festival.
By any standard, the fest was a success. By the standards I set out with the sponsors when we were planning it, it was a raging success.
Over 30 musical performances in two locations- performers from California, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Old Mexico, and all over Texas joined us in the beautiful Big Bend of Texas. Many of them had never been here before. They’ll be back.
There were several highlights – Joe King Carrasco on Thursday night at the Starlight Theatre was legendary. People will be talking about that show for a long time.
Andres Cantisani, Aaron Todd, and the duo, Tahoma, jamming at the Thirsty Goat Saloon in Lajitas was a magical moment.
The New Vagabonds were definite crowd pleasers.
At the top of this page there’s a menu tab that says “music videos.” Any time you want to see and hear Terlingua Music, that’s the place to go – and I’ll upload videos from the festival as I get them done.
Movies – we had movies.
The Grove, Texas, is a documentary about a ghost town, somewhat like Terlingua, and the man who kept it going – and what it was like when he got old and had to sell it.
The Road to Austin, Gary Fortin’s masterpiece about Stephen Bruton’s final musical performance, features Bonnie Raitt, Delbert McClinton, Kris Kristoffersen, Eric Johnson, and a cast of Austin’s finest pickers in a gorgeously produced film.
Local favorite, Crystal Allbright’s “Hoops For Rain,” was a trippy celebration of hula-hoops and cinematography.
We learned a lot about putting on a film festival this year, and next year’s festival will be much bigger.
Photography- Butch Hancock brought out several of his amazing photos for our exhibit. Crystal Allbright and Fran Brothers, among several others, also displayed their photos.
The last night of Viva Teringua Fest kept the momentum going. Due to a temporary casualty in the sound crew I had to run sound at Lajitas Sunday, so I didn’t get to the Starlight Theatre- we’ll round up some pics and reports from there, too.
I’m going to post pics- I have many stories to tell, and as soon as I’ve recovered from the weekend I’ll tell most of them.
Here’s a video of Jesse Brand and Butch Hancock doing a song-swap at the Thirsty Goat Saloon-
The first day of the first annual Viva Terlingua Festival was amazing.
Wednesday was all about getting ready. The Thirsty Goat Saloon at Lajitas Golf Resort and the Starlight Theatre both got new sound systems this week. I spent some time helping Buckner Cooke at the Starlight and Trevor Hickle at the Thirsty Goat dial in their new PA systems.
Then, we set up the photo exhibit. Crystal Allbright and Betsy Blaydes did the work while Butch Hancock and I “supervised” while talking of fractals and eating peanuts.
Thursday, the music started. I was at the Starlight – we’ll have pics from the Thirsty Goat later…
Jeff Haislip started the show, with Griff on national steel guitar. Griff stayed on stage and played with Collie Ryan.
Carlos Maxwell brought the whole band: George Womack on drums, Ted Arbogast on guitar, Neil Trammel on bass, and Robin on interpretive dance and flute. They rocked.
Then, Mexican rock star Andres Cantisani played… lots of “who is this guy?” conversation ensued. Andres and I used to kick around Monterrey, Mexico together playing bars and exploring. Andres also played with me when I toured around Texas in the 90’s and early 2000’s. He’s just gotten better and better…
Joe King Carrasco closed out the show. He’s got a rocking band and man, does he put on a show. Joe danced on the bar, ran through the crowd playing guitar, and just generally blew our minds.
And that was day one. Tonight we crank up with day 2.
When you get to Terlingua – Thursday there will be a check-in table in the lobby of the Lajitas Golf Resort. Check in there to get your wrist band, program, and other goodies.
Fri-Sunday check-ins will probably be at the venues but we’ll announce that later.
Where to stay- the best hotel options in the Big Bend.
1. Lajitas Golf Resort– The town of Lajitas and the Lajitas Golf Resort are basically the same thing. Over half the events at the festival- half the music and all of the films – will be held in Lajitas at the resort.
Also, your best option for breakfast and lunch is the Candalilla restaurant at the resort. There will be special meal deals for attendees in the $10 range.
Normally, Lajitas is pricey – $250 – $500/night for rooms. Since you’re coming to the festival, you get your room for just $99/night – but you have to tell them you’re coming for the festival to get the deal.
All rooms are air conditioned, and are very cowboy-chic. There are two pools. And you can walk to the Thirsty Goat Saloon and the Flat Rock Theatre from your room.
There are only 100 rooms available and they’re filling up fast.
Lajitas also has an RV park with full hook-ups and spaces for tent camping.
2. The Holiday Hotel – Another option is the Holiday Hotel in the Terlingua Ghost Town. 12 rooms within easy walking distance to the Starlight Theatre, where the other half of the music will be. Very hip Sant-Fe style air conditioned rooms- but there are only 12 of them.
Where to eat.
Breakfast and Lunch
1. Candelilla Cafe at Lajitas. We’ve arranged special breakfast and lunch deals for Viva Terlingua Festival attendees. The cafe is about 10 feet from the Thirsty Goat Saloon where the music will be and you can bring your food into the bar so you don’t miss anything.
Another big consideration is that the Candilla is the ONLY air conditioned eating establishment near the Festival.
2. La Posada Milagro. This is a very cool open-air breakfast and lunch (only) taco stand in the Terlingua Ghost Town. They have the best coffee for 100’s of miles in any direction, breakfast tacos and plates and sandwiches. Excellent food reasonably priced.
Not air conditioned.
1. The Starlight Theatre in the Terlingua Ghost Town. Full menu, featuring chicken fried Antelope, gourmet burgers, Chipotle Pork Loins and a full bar. Half the music shows will be held in the Starlight, so you can chow down, grab a cold beer or a boutique margarita and enjoy.
2. Candelilla Cafe – Lajitas. Steaks, Mexican food, Seafood, and burgers. 10 feet from the music at the Thirsty Goat Saloon.
Where’s the music?
We’ll be running two locations simultaneously: The Starlight Theatre in Terlingua and The Thirsty Goat Saloon in Lajitas. Terlingua and Lajitas are 12 miles apart. Some of the acts are playing both locations, so keep your Festival program handy.
It’s an easy drive from Terlingua to Lajitas on a nice paved road through some gorgeous scenery BUT there are some surprises. If you’re going to be partying, take advantage of the shuttle service that will be running regular circuits from venue to venue.
Where are the films?
The Flat Rock Theatre is a one-minute walk from the Thirsty Goat Saloon in Lajitas. We’ve got some great films scheduled, including “The Road to Austin” and “Trash Dance.” The filmmakers will be at the screenings. Bottom line – you don’t want to skip the films.
There will be local short films and the finalists from the Viva Terlingua Festival’s film contest will be screened.
Yep. Rock star photographer, Rodney Bursiel is bringing music and surf photos. There is a strong possibility that Butch Hancock will be displaying his work. And there will be a gallery of Terlingua Musicians photos.
Also, the finalists from the Viva Terlingua Festival photography contest will be showing their work.
Enjoying the desert.
1. Although it’s generally cooler in Terlingua than it is in Austin in the summer, it’s a dry heat, which can be confusing if you’re not used to it. Always keep a few liters of water in the car if you’re driving. As you’re enjoying the festival remember to augment your partying with plenty of water. A liter an hour is a reasonable minimum.
2. The Big Bend National Park and Big Bend Ranch State Park are both nearby. The drive West from Lajitas on Hwy 170 is one of the top rides in the country. There are bike trails, hiking trails, horse-back riding, gun range… before the music starts, you won’t get bored.
3. The Terlingua area is home to many musicians, songwriters, artists, etc. There will be lots of jamming opportunities. I recommend that you travel with your guitar (or other instrument) because you never know… the porch in Terlingua is famous world-wide for the impromptu music that happens there. The after-show parties in Lajitas… well, Reckless Kelly, Mike and the Moonpies, and many other touring acts are still recovering and talking about it.
If you’re playing the festival-
1. If your act is all acoustic, let us know how many mics and DI’s you need.
2. If you’re using amps and/or drums: there will be guitar amps on the stage at the Starlight Theatre, where most of the electric shows will be held. You’re welcome to use ’em. There is also a sort of drum kit. You’re welcome to use that, too- you might want to bring your snare, hi-hat, and any cymbals you’re especially fond of. There will also be a bass amp.
We encourage you to use as much of the existing gear as possible so that you’ll get the most stage time possible.
3. We’ve got a lot of entertainers coming, and most sets are 45 minutes or so. This time INCLUDES SET-UP. If you walk on stage with your acoustic guitars (tuned!), plug in and play, you’ll get smiles from the staff and also get to play your whole set.
If you’re a full electric band with drums, work with us to get as much set-up done as possible before your set.
4. The schedule is going to change. There are some last minute additions and cancellations. Check with us when you pick up your bracelets to find out when you’re really going to play. It will be the same day as your slot on the schedule. Be prepared to play two sets, just in case.
5. The Lajitas General Store is the only place South of Alpine where you can find strings, picks, etc. You might want to stop at Trans-Pecos Guitars in Alpine on your way down. Say “hi” to Mark Pollock, the proprietor, and tell him I sent you.
6. The Starlight Theatre is offering some specials for participating musicians. Drink and possibly food discounts. Check with the Starlight when you get here.
7. Performers will get “all access” wristbands. You’re encouraged to support the other acts. Also, there are some amazing Indie Films being shown. Take advantage of the whole festival.
People from all over are entering the Film, Photo and Songwriting contests… We’ll know which walls will be used for photos once we know how many photos we’ve got to work with… we’re not going to run out of walls. We’ve got an entire resort to work with. We’ve also got a few high-profile films that will be showing – “The Road to Austin” by Gary Fortin
The music line-up is starting to come together. I’m still talking with some potential headliners, but we’ve already got an amazing show lined up.
There’s so much local talent- I’m so looking forward to showing the world the quality of singer/songwriter we’ve got down here. Here are a few that we’ll be seeing. Remember that musicians live interesting lives and this is the first festival we’ve put on out here… this line-up will expand and change between now and the day of the show.
Jesse Brand is going to take a break from writing sessions for Garth Brooks’ latest CD to join us!
NEW!! The Bottom Dollar String Band just signed on to play the Fest!
One of my favorite people, who just happens to be a huge star in Mexico, will be playing the fest. Welcome Andres Cantisani!
Grammy Award and Will Rogers Award winning songwriter Gill Prather will be there.
Local Favorites, Los Pinche Gringos, will be rocking the stage.