With all the fears about bluegrass festivals being unable to recover from two years of COVID shutdowns, it is wonderful news whenever we see a new festival getting started.
And that is exactly the story of the new Big Bend Bluegrass Festival, launching this fall in Alpine, a small town in west Texas not far from the Mexican border. It is managed by the Big Bend Bluegrass Association, a volunteer operated non-profit organization dedicated to the furtherance of bluegrass music in west Texas.
The story of the Association, and the festival, is a good one, showing how much passion for the music can accomplish. It starts more than 20 years ago when Harold Ferguson, Mayor of Wickett, TX (near Pecos) decided that his town needed a bluegrass festival. A bluegrass lover since he was a child in Arkansas, Harold had been playing bluegrass for years, simply for his and other people’s enjoyment. His wife, Carol, and daughter, Cyndi, regularly performed with him on stage.
The festival in Wickett was successful, and ran for 21 years, keeping on even after Harold passed away in 2016. Carol and Cyndi ran it in his absence for two more years until the COVID restrictions shut them down. The festival was not to return.
But Cyndi, now living in the Big Bend region, has big plans for the new festival in Alpine. It will be held October 7-8, 2022 at the Alpine Civic Center with music from The Kody Norris Show, Edgar Loudermilk Band, Bluegrass Express, The Old Rugged Choir, and Second Time Around. Food and drink will be available from concessions in the Civic Center, and space will be set aside for jamming.
The Hotel Parker is serving as a host hotel, with special rates for festival attendees, and AirBNB has them as well.
Best of luck to the Big Bend Bluegrass Association with the launch of the Big Bend Bluegrass Festival.