San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

May 13th, 2010
Western Swing Hall of Fame swings this weekend

051210mataBilly Mata and The Texas Tradition are one of the 2010 Western Swing Hall of Fame inductees.

Scene Editor

The 18th Texas Natural and Western Swing Festival arrives Saturday with an extraordinary line-up of talent and activities. It is only fitting that an event celebrating Texas history, goods and traditions would also feature Texas music, which is an essential part of the state’s energy.

The celebration starts on the courthouse square in downtown San Marcos at 10 a.m. with a cornucopia of food, activities, merchandise and made-in-Texas goods. Since the event is both for the Texas Western Swing Hall of Fame and the Texas Natural Festival, the music will be western swingin’ throughout the day.

Admission is free to wander around the square, look at the antique stagecoach, browse the booths, check out the farmer’s market, marvel at the Buffalo soldiers encampment and listen to the music.

And what music!

During the day, there will be performances by Still Swinging, Jerry Lightsey and the Pick-up Band, Sweet Bunch of Daisy’s, 2010 Hall of Fame inductee Billy Mata and the Texas Tradition and Al Dressen’s Super Swing Revue with Dixie Reel.

From 12:30- 1:40 p.m., the Playboy Reunion will play with Bob Wills Texas Playboys alum Johnny Cuviello, Casey Dicken, Louise Rowe, Gene Niven, Danny Mathis, Bill Dessens, Billy McBay, Charlie McBay, Jim Gough, Dayna Wills, Gene Gimble and Tom Holmes.

All of the music will showcase Western Swing and its many facets which include the sweet, the buoyant and the sorrowful. For example, Sweet Bunch of Daisy’s is Western Swing played by fiddles and an oboe, which is an interesting way to come at it. Billy Mata is the Western Swing sound at its biggest and most traditional.

The festivities at the courthouse will end at 5:30 p.m. but, there is more music — and catfish — to be had.

There will be an all-you-can-eat catfish dinner served from 7-9 p.m. at San Marcos Plaza, 205 South C. M. Allen Parkway. Tickets for the meal are $12 and must be purchased for in advance. Tickets are available from the Main Street Office, 202 East Hopkins Street. For information and reservations call (512) 393-8430.

The Texas Western Swing Hall of Fame show will be San Marcos Plaza Park starting at 7:30 p.m. Tickets for limited reserved table seating is $20. If you want the catfish dinner and reserved seating, the price is $26.

However, if you bring your own lawn chair, you can attend the concert free of charge.

The concert begins with the Hall of Fame band at 7:30 p.m.  The band includes  the hall’s founder bandleader/vocalist Al Dressen, Mary Ann Price, Janet Lynn, singer Dayna Wills (she’s Bob’s niece), Haley Harris,  Paul Glasse, master of the pedal steel Herb Remington, Rick McRae, fiddle player and 2010 inductee Jason Roberts, Billy Curtis, piano/keyboard whiz Floyd Domino, Phoebe Hunt, Mark Kazanoff, drummer Neal Clausnitzer and Brent Wilson.

From 9:45 until midnight, 2010 Texas Western Swing Hall of Fame inductee Billy Mata and the Texas Tradition take the stage. The band has a big, bold Western Swing style. Billy Mata was  twice named the Academy of Western Artists (AWA),  “Western Swing Male Vocalist of the Year,” and in 2005 he was awarded the AWA’s prestigious Will Rogers Entertainer of the Year title.

If it rains (as it did last year), don’t fret. The rain site for the concert will be the San Marcos Activity Center, 501 East Hopkins Street. The concert was just as swinging there in 2009.

Free parking and a free shuttle will be available from the Bobcat Stadium parking lot, Aquarena Springs Drive, to all the events of the day.

The Texas Natural Trail Ride begins at the Freeman Ranch, 2100 Freeman Ranch Road, on Friday evening and ends with a Sunday morning trail ride. The event is sponsored by the GRA Trailriders of San Antonio. For more information on the trail ride, visit

In addition to Billy Mata and The Texas Tradition, inductees for the Texas Western Swing Hall of Fame for 2010 include fiddle-player Jason Roberts and bandleader Buck Roberts. Steel guitarists Steve Niven and Denny Mathis are honorees, as is fiddle-player Alvin Crow.

The world-famous Broken Spoke Dance Hall in Austin will be inducted, as will proprietors James and Annetta White. They have brought the Honky Tonk dance hall experience to folks since 1964 and have seen the likes of George Strait, Ernest Tubb, Roy Acuff, and even Bob Wills.

Also inducted this year is Dr. Charles Townsend, Western Swing historian and author of the definitive book about Bob Wills, San Antonio Rose: The Life and Music of Bob Wills.

The Texas Western Swing Hall of Fame and Texas Natural Festival is sponsored by the City of San Marcos, Hays County, Hays County Sheriff’s Office, Main Street Board, Texas State University, Freeman Ranch, Grande Communications, San Marcos Daily Record, GRA Trails, McCreary, Veselka, Bragg & Allen, Attorneys at Law, Cafe on the Square, Carbajal & Associates, Ted Breihan Electric, Sysco Foods, Ben E. Keith Foods, McCoy’s Building Supply, Austin Budweiser and Bud Light and the Texas Western Swing Hall of Fame.

For more information on the Texas Natural Festival, call the San Marcos Main Street Program at (512) 393-8430.

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