There was no stronger supporter of the Terlingua Music scene than Glenn Felts, the owner of La Kiva bar and restaurant.
When Glenn died Monday night, it left a huge, Texan leprechaun-sized hole in our community. Glenn and his friendly grin had presided at La Kiva for years, overseeing some amazing parties, out-door concerts, and 17 years of Wednesday open mics. He could always be counted on to slip a musician a plate of his prize-winning BBQ or a beer. He loved music and musicians, and every player who had the privilege to play his stage knew it.
On a personal note, last Wednesday’s open mic was pretty magical. Butch Hancock, Laird Considine, Charlotte Teer, Trevor Hickle and I played the first set to a full house. After our set, Glenn called me over. He had heard about my efforts to raise money for the local food bank. He offered to contribute $420 a month to buy groceries for the food bank to distribute. He had some great ideas, including opening up his restaurant once a month for a free meal for his hungry neighbors.
Since the food bank only needs $400 a month to meet it’s minimum goals, Glenn basically offered to fund the food bank by himself. I couldn’t help myself- I gave him a big hug and teared up. Terlingua people are a proud bunch. The people who need the food bank are predominantly children and disabled adults. Glenn was not going to allow hungry children in his town.
That was the last time I saw him.
Tonight, the community gathered in the parking lot of La Kiva to honor and celebrate Glenn. There had been music at La Kiva every Wednesday night for 17 years. Although the club was closed, musicians and friends braved the cold to sing, hug, cry, and tell stories about their time with Glenn outside the club.
The Sheriff’s department had cordoned off the parking lot. The crowd gathered on the shoulder of the road across the street from La Kiva. A decision was made, and the gathering walked across the parking lot and gathered outside the club. It was cold and windy, but soon that chilly wind was carrying the sounds of guitars, mandolins, bass, saxophone, viola and voices that weren’t quite ready to say a final good-bye to 17 years of music on Wednesdays – or to Glenn.
21 Replies to “Remembering Glenn Felts –”
My Thoughts and prayers are with you all in Terlingua i know Glenn will be soo missed he was a good man…!
magical energy is a common response to trying times.
Always to be and never forgotten. Glen will shine over Terlingua Texas always…
Randi and I are there in spirit. These can be trying times, but love will always rule the day. Glen will be sorely missed. Our prayers go out to the universe. Thanks for the photos.
When pain and heartache are passed around between such a vibrant and loving bunch of folks, it is more easily absorbed and our burden becomes a shared one. From what I have seen and felt lately, the people who knew and appreciated Glenn will pull through and become an even more strongly bonded group. We’ll keep his fire burning.
I never met Glen. I have never even been to the legendary La Kiva Bar. Yet I find myself compelled to write this, as I cry, over a strangers death.
I was lucky enough to visit Terlingua once, about 8 years ago, to see my good friend Mark Kneeskern. I know how special of a place it is. Not just because it looks like another planet, but all of the extremely unique people that are lucky enough to have ended up there.
La Kiva is as big as The Starlight Theater, is as big as the sky, is as big as ther hearts of Terlingua. I just hope there is a way to keep it open. If that isn’t in the cards, I’m sure you all will continue in the incredible spirit that you all share.
Thank you Glen; wish I could have met you.
Frank Hansen – Des Moines
Frank from Des Moines, thank you for your wonderfully accurate description of Terlingua and the folks who have ended up here. Thank you for you kind words that reach out to us at this tragic time.
My husband and I visited Terlingua 4 times over the last 6 years and we never missed once to visit La Kiva. Last time I saw him was at the Cottonwood Market where we hug and exchanged New Year wishes before we got back on the road. I will cherish that moment. He was a warm and gentle creature and I will miss him and his funny straw hat.
My deepest condolences to his family and to the community of Terlingua for their loss.
Irene Quirion and Michael Waldman from Quebec and Vermont
Glenn was my cousin. We grew up in Sabinal, Texas, a small town located at the base of the Texas Hill Country. He was so amazing and I cherished him not only as a cousin but as a friend. His sister, Molly, and parents have the same wonderful, loving and caring personality, as did Glenn. Classmates and upper/lower classmen of his are absolutely shocked. Rest in peace, Glenn. You taught us to look at life from another perspective. Thank you!
This is just to let the whole Terlingua community know that my heart is with you all. There aren’t any words that suffice, it is a tragedy, and just the kind of thing you never would expect to happen in in the fine community of Terlingua. Of course he would want the music to continue as exuberant and eclectic as ever, a description that fairly closely described Glenn as well.
Not a local, but a Big Bend Desert Dog for the last 35 years.
My sister and I went to visit my son Moses last summer and fell in love with Terlingua. Glenn was out of town during my visit and didn’t get a chance to meet him but my son spoke highly of him. We visited the Great La Kiva Bar and loved it. Even though we never met I felt a connection to him and I was very saddened to hear of his death. My prayers go out to his family and friends. Terlingua does have a strong force that terlinguans talk about. Terlingua has been calling my name since my visit. I felt the love and closeness of the people and I loved the porch. God Bless everyone and I hope the legacy goes on.
Glenn you will be sorely missed my friend.
Visions of your crocked smiles will always remain. Sadly, a story that is told it would seam. Threaded through years of memories to the countless millions of adventures passing Terlingua Texas. Where few could pass La Kiva sight unseen. A place like none other a legend full of wanderer’s dreams, lost lyrics, and laughs. Always a comfortable feeling to find shelter, live entertainment in a peaceful place, always someone there feeding the hungry with food and libation.
Rest in Peace my brother you gave strength to us who must carry on.
It’s been a long time since I have visited south county. Glenn and La Kiva were a person and a place that had become one . Wearing his straw hat and sporting a huge friendly smile , everyone was someone special to him . Terlingua has lost a special man but I know because of the strength of all those living there he will forever endure in their hearts as well as all those that had the chance to sit , have a drink , and just talk with Glenn .
Glenn will surely be missed. Get together’s like this will help us heal.
Glenn was a student of mine. He was a great guitar player and singer. May he rest in peace .
I have been with some cousins to Big Bend 3 times, staying in easter egg valley and love the Chisos. So sorry to hear the man responsible for LaKiva is gone to not with us. His was a place we always looked forward to for a good meal and a great time.
Inspiration. Many inspiring people in Terlingua. Glenn I never knew, gumby yes, you all are blessed. You will work through this as you folks are resilient. Hope to see you all again. I hope Ring is well. God Bless, Bob in Baytown, Texas.
I have been watching the series about Glenn Felts murder and I have to say I can’t believe Tony Flint walked away a free man. Someone that beat a man as bad as he did needs to be put somewhere. I can’t believe the jury on this one. The mans face was beat to a pulp and I could see a boot print on Glenn’s body. I mean what else did they need? This Tony guy was a big bully and yes a man that size could have done this damage. I mean it is like a elephant stomping a mouse. GEEZ! What was wrong with that jury?? Glenn did not get the justice he should have. Tony Flint should be behind bars. This Tony took this mans happy life away and destroyed a town with his brutal temper. I blame this one on the jury and I bet they all had that gut instinct that Tony beat this man do death but failed to admit it. Poor Glenn he seemed to be a good soul who thought this big bully of a man was his friend. Probably let him borrow money and drink for free. Shame on you Tony Flint you will get yours. Karma always comes around.
again – don’t try to make sense of real life using information you got from a reality show.
the “reality” of this situation is a lot more interesting and complex than the simplistic morality play they showed on tv.
Having a difficult time with this reality, show.. Touched my soul grieving for someone and people you have never met is not everyday occurrence! Understanding the meaning of no closure