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Viva Big Bend kicks off 6th year tonight

July 27th, 2017 under Top Stories
Aarron Watson

Aarron Watson

By JOHN DANIEL GARCIA

johndaniel@bigbendnow.com

MARFA, ALPINE, FORT DAVIS, MARATHON – Viva Big Bend kicks off its 6th year tonight with a diverse roster, which includes country singer/songwriter Aaron Watson, Tejano star Ruben Ramos and The Mexican Revolution, and Americana group Shinyribs joining nearly fifty more groups performing throughout the weekend.

“One thing I try to do with the festival is to be as diverse as possible,” said festival organizer Stewart Ramser. “I’ve run Texas Music Magazine for about 18 years now, and we cover all genres of Texas music. The fest is modeled after that.”

Although the festival has attracted some of the bigger names in Texas music, Ramser hopes the festival will spark interest in the lesser-known groups.

“We don’t look at how big an artist is, but how they’ll fit in the festival. What you think are the biggest names aren’t always the most popular,” he said. “Whenever I go to a festival, I see that bands that I don’t know. I’ve been blown away so many times and I hope people at the festival do the same. I want people to walk away from the festival with something new.”

Among first-timers to the festival are The Bluebonnets, who were scheduled to perform at the festival’s second year, but were sidelined by an accident en route to Viva Big Bend.

Though one aspect is to introduce new music to the audiences, some bands have been invited back into the fold due to popular demand.

“Every year, I get inundated with people asking me to bring certain bands back. When that happens, I’m know I’m doing something right,” he said, adding that Peterson Brothers are returning after many requests.

Ruben Ramos

Ruben Ramos

A major part of the festival, however, is the focus on the venues as well as the music.

“To me, it’s important to showcase the venues and experience the atmosphere of each one,” he said, adding that free daytime shows assist in allowing people to discover new places. “There’s a lot of stuff to do during the day that you don’t need a wristband to see. We’ve got some free shows in Fort Davis and Marathon, and We have the Holland Hotel hosting some shows. Having free shows is an important part of Viva Big Bend. We want to give everyone a chance to participate.”

Viva Big Bend will also be providing a Tipsy Taxi shuttle service free of charge between the cities.

“The shuttles are being used more and more each year. People like it and it helps keep drunk drivers off the roads,” Ramser said, adding that the shuttle schedule will be available on printed material found at the box office and participating retailers in the area.

Viva Big Bend begins tonight with Graham Wilkinson opening up at the Railroad Blues at 6pm and The Swifts at Come and Take It BBQ at 6:30pm in Alpine, and Go Fever at Planet Marfa at 6:30pm.

The O’s and Summer Dean will also kick off shows at The Granada Theater in Alpine and The Lost Horse Saloon in Marfa, respectively.

“I wish I could just go and be part of the crowd,” said Ramser. “I don’t get to see a lot of the shows, but it’s always rewarding to see people enjoying themselves.”

For ticket information and the full schedule, please visit www.vivabigbend.com.

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