Viva Terlingua Festival Survival Guide

Viva Terlingua Festival Survival Guide – how to have the most fun possible at the Fest.


Before you come to the Viva Terlingua Festival, there are a few things you should know.

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.

Dinner Options

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.

 Jamming on the porch - Terlingua

Jamming on the porch – Terlingua

Viva Big Bend Festival 2014

For the very first time, the Viva Big Bend Festival came to South Brewster County.


Trevor Hickle and I found out a few days before the shows that we were going to be the sound crew for the festival. This involved some scrambling and long days, but allowed us to meet and hear some new friends and hang out with some old buddies.

It was a blast. The O’s, Butch and Rory Hancock, and Mike and the Moonpies were professional and put on amazing shows. Emilie Clepper premiered her new band and pretty much floored us all in English and French.

Wednesday night was also George Goss’s birthday, and he brought his party to Lajitas- cake and everything – so the crowd was twice as big and several times as festive. George was also celebrating the 1,000,000th view of his “Ain’t No Honky Tonks in Jail” video on YouTube. Quit a birthday present!

It was a great rehearsal for the upcoming Viva Terlingua Festival.  It was also exhausting, and it was just six bands in two days at one location. I have a suspicion that running sound and co-ordinating 30+ acts over four days at two locations is going to be an adventure.

Now we know what gear we need to acquire (mics, lights, backline, direct boxes) and have a better idea of what’s going to be involved.

Pics from Viva Big Bend Festival below- enjoy!


The Anthony Ray Wright Band

The Anthony Ray Wright Band

The O’s.

The O’s.

Butch and Rory Hancock

Emilie Clepper and new band.

Emilie Clepper band – tight fit on that stage.

Moonpie Mike – Mike and the Moonpies

MIke and the Moonpies closed the show with a very tight set.

Rory Hancock’s strat

Moonpie Mike and Trevor Hickle

Parades, Fireworks, Party at the Pool – 4th of July in Terlingua

The 4th of July celebrations in Terlingua were fun this year.

There was a parade and burger-bash on the 4th and an outdoor pool party with live blues by the Fabulous Vortexans on the 5th.

Saturday, the 4th, the American Legion post hosted a burger and hot-dog feast after the parade.

The parade itself was impressive, but held way too early in the day. The idea was that at 10:30 in the morning it would be cool enough that people would enjoy sitting on the side of the road watching the parade.

Although the concept was good, it turns out that Terlinguans would rather deal with the heat than get up early. I missed the parade, but made it to the party.

Saturday, there was a celebration and inauguration at the Lajitas Golf Resort. After a hotly contested election and run-off, Claymore Henry, the goat, beat out George Goss, local celebrity for the office of Mayor.

From the 50’s until just a few years ago Lajitas has had a goat for Mayor named Clay Henry. Previous goat/Mayors were famous for drinking beer. It’s unknown if Claymore will have a taste for the brew, but odds are that he will. It runs in the family – he’s a direct descendent of the original Clay Henry.

So, Saturday Lajitas hosted a party at the pool to introduce the new Mayor. Big Bend Brewing Company provided beer.  BBQ, burgers, and hot dogs were available. And local blues band, The Fabulous Vortexans, provided the music.

Check out the pics-


George Goss provided entertainment at the burger bash on the 4th.

Wes Abbot enjoyed the party.

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