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Kyle Park headlines 5th Annual Texas Hill Country Musicfest

By Sandy Jennings BCC Staff Writer

No need to fight the Austin traffic and shell out $500 for a ticket to ACL when Bandera’s own Texas Hill Country Musicfest, this Saturday night, headlines one of Austin’s biggest names in today’s country music industry--Kyle Park.
Park, who just released his fifth album, The Blue Roof Sessions, will close out the night at the 11th Street Cowboy Bar located at 307 11th Street in Bandera’s downtown square. This will be one of Park’s last Texas concerts before heading north to Oklahoma and Kansas on his national tour.
Park’s sound has been described as, “raw, heartfelt and rooted in the honest-to-God, real country music;” and his newest album is said to let his “rootsy rock breathe through his music.”
Park’s in good company. After the doors open at 6pm, headliners in their own right, Drew Kennedy and Josh Grider will take the stage at 7pm, working simultaneous acoustic sets followed by chart-climbing, A&M Aggie Clayton Gardner .
It was THC Musicfest creators Melinda and Roger Byrd’s love for Drew Kennedy’s music that brought the festival to fruition.
“Six years ago, I surprised Roger for his birthday and hired Drew Kennedy to play at his party,” Melinda Byrd said. “When he asked me for the same gift the next year, I knew we had to get creative.”
The Bryds, both 2005 Bandera High School graduates, thought of a way to lure Kennedy back to Bandera and allow others to enjoy his “beautifully crafted, often heartbreaking songs with side-splittingly funny stories” and a way to give to those in need.
“We got to thinking about it and we thought, what if we got him to come play, sold tickets at a venue and whatever we made above his fee, we could donate to charity,” Byrd said.
That’s exactly what they did and the first Annual THC Musicfest sprouted in the basement bar of Arkey Blue’s.
“The first year was at Arkey’s and we made about $500, which we gave to Wounded Warrior,” Byrd said. “The event has progressively grown bigger and better since that first year.”
Byrd teamed up with the Bandera County Kiwanis Club and with the help of Denise Griffin, Byrd’s mom and Kiwanis Treasurer, the event became an official non-profit 5013C fundraiser hosted by the Bandera Kiwanis.
“I joined the Kiwanis and the support from the group has been awesome,” Byrd said. “Last year we raised $10,000 and this year we’re hoping to reach $15,000. It’s been amazing--I never expected it to grow so fast.”
This year’s donation recipients include the Bandera Kiwanis Scholarship fund, the Bandera Alzheimer’s Association and Warriors Heart, a PTSD, addiction and chemical dependency treatment center for Veterans and First Responders, located at 756 Purple Sage Road in Bandera.
“We’ve always tried to help at least three organizations each year,” Byrd said. “The Kiwanis scholarship drive will always be one, but moving forward we’ll allow organizations to apply to be a recipient for next year’s Musicfest.”
Byrd is receiving help for expenses from presenting sponsor Frontier Family Dentistry; platinum sponsors Buddy’s Septic and Water Well Service and Teich Construction; and gold sponsors Bricks River Cafe, BEC, AgPro in Castorville and 92.3 The Ranch Radio in Kerrville.
“The community has shown tremendous support every year and this year we will have both a silent and live auction in response to all the donations,” Byrd said.
Among the live auction items are a private tour (up to 14 people) at 290 Wine Shuttle tours in Fredericksburg; two custom mounts of a prize kill by Dakota Sowell of DGSkills in Bandera and Jets Taxidermy in Kerrville; a beautiful custom designed bracelet form HiHo Silver; and a pressure tank and storage tank from Buddy’s Septic and Water Well Services, just to name a few.
The silent auction consists of over 17 “themed” baskets, packed full of all kinds of goodies and valuable merchandise.
“The live auction will take place about half way through Clayton Gardner’s set, which should be about 9:30pm,” Bryd said. Byrd plans on Park taking the stage around 10pm.
Pre-sale tickets for THC Musicfest are still on sale for $15 and can be purchased at www.outhousetickets.com. After midnight this Friday, tickets must be purchased at the door for $20. Brick Gibson of Bricks River Cafe will be serving up some delicious Cowboy grub for $10 a plate. After expenses, Gibson will generously donate proceeds back to the cause. Dinner tickets can be bought at the bar.
“We really want people to come out and enjoy four amazing performers, at a bargain price, and great food, fun and auction items,” Byrd said. “And of course, it’s all benefitting worthy organizations.”
For more information check out The 5th Annual Texas Hill Country Musicfest on Facebook, or call Melinda Griffin at (830) 796-3878.