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Cover photo by: Raphael Fernandez

The Big As Texas Music Festival continues to prove it’s more than just a name. Following a foot-stomping opening night with Thomas Rhett, yesterday’s lineup offered a delightful genre-bend, showcasing the wide spectrum of Texas music in all its glory.

The early afternoon buzzed with a mix of rising stars. A highlight for many music lovers was a lunchtime set by The Fearless Flyers, a side project featuring guitar virtuoso Cory Wong and fellow shredder Mark Lettieri, a Texas Christian University alumnus. At the end of their performance, Lettieri would throw up the TCU hand sign to show his school spirit. The Flyers’ high-octane instrumental funk proved the perfect midday pick-me-up and had the crowd primed for the diverse lineup to come.

Three live muralists were on site creating a three-piece mural. Artists Whiteney Hayden, Floyd Mendoza and Rebecca Steele came together to create a summary of what Big As Texas is all about.  

“I did Billy Strings, of course with the Texas flag in the back for the festival,” Mendoza said.

Steele’s piece featured a snake coiled around a guitar, while Hayden’s work included a longhorn in a patch of bluebonnets.

While the artists were moving their brushes and rattling their spray cans, Swifty Swine Productions came out to host several rounds of pig racing.

The sizable crowd that formed were introduced to three pig races against four sets of pigs, each given pig-based pun names. The audience was then divided into sections for each pig and instructed to be the cheerleaders for their champion. The pigs that won and the group that cheered the loudest received a pack of Oreos for their hard work.

In the first round, pig number two dashed ahead. In the following round, pig number four claimed the lead. The main event provided a display of aquatic ability in between rounds, swimming through a trough of water to reach their Oreo prize. The final round had the pigs represent several Texas colleges, with Texas A&HAM beating out the competition.

Texas A&M had further representation through the performances put on by the Lil’ Wranglers.  

“We are the youth version of the Aggie wranglers, we go around places like this and try to spread country dancing and get kids to join us, it’s pretty fun,” Captain of the College Station team Mason Zahn said. “We teach kids how to Two Step, Polka and just a bunch of Jit moves… like a lot of flips and stuff.” 

Lil’ Wranglers started back in 1999 and is still going strong teaching the youth of the community a variety of dances. The aforementioned Jit moves were the highlight of their semi-hourly performances as they jumped great heights and swung around at incredible speeds. From their show, Zahn points out the Shoulder Sit and “Dancing in the Country” as his favorite segments.

Texas music legend Tracy Byrd brought his signature sound to the stage while rising star Warren Zeiders charmed the audience with his heartfelt songwriting. National touring artists Drew Ryn and Alana Springsteen also impressed with their unique styles. But as the day wore on, anticipation grew for the evening’s headliners.

The legendary Los Lobos, known for their genre-bending blend of rock, soul and traditional Mexican music, took center stage later, captivating the audience with their unique sound. Los Lobos’ vibrant energy and timeless music had the crowd dancing and singing along, proving once again the power of their musical fusion.

Billy Strings, the bluegrass wunderkind, didn’t disappoint. His mastery of the guitar and improvisational prowess had the audience captivated. Traditional bluegrass tunes morphed into electrifying jams, with the band feeding off each other’s energy to create a sonic tapestry unlike anything else. His genuine passion for music was contagious, and it wasn’t long before the entire field was swaying and singing along. For those unfamiliar with bluegrass, Strings’ talent and showmanship were undeniable.

Billy Strings closed out the night with a triumphant show, leaving the crowd wanting more. But with Dierks Bentley, Midland, Morgan Wade, Drake Milligan and a slew of other talented artists on tap for tomorrow, one thing’s for sure: Big As Texas is just getting warmed up. If the first two days are any indication, music fans are in for a treat. This festival is a must-visit for any fan of music, or anyone who simply enjoys a good time under the Texas sun.

The coolest part of yesterday? The sheer variety of musical styles on display. Big As Texas is living up to its name, offering a musical gumbo that’s both delicious and satisfying.

Gallery

Photos by: Oscar Herrera

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