Mansfield Music & Arts Festival spreads out

Posted Wednesday, Jun. 05, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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More information Festival Week in Mansfield Oct. 14-20 www.MansfieldFestival.com

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Bands and business will be booming at this year’s Music & Arts Festival. The festivities, which stretched to a week-long event last year, spreads out even further this October, rolling three festivals into one, renamed Festival Week in Mansfield with 24 bands over seven days.

From nationally known headliner the Old 97’s to a bigger children’s area, more stages and more concerts, the word for this year is expansion.

Beginning Oct. 14, the Monday through Thursday celebration will be called Hot Beats & Cold Brews Concerts, featuring bands in different downtown businesses every night.

“We did this last year in one venue (each night),” said Steve Cosio, president of Discover Historic Mansfield, producer of the seven-year-old event. “This year we will have two venues each night, except Monday, with a band in each, all on Main Street: Daydream Photography, Mary Lou’s Sandwich Shoppe, Farr Best Theater, Sequel. The historical museum will host two this year.”

The music at the different sites will vary to make it easier for people to choose, with a blues acoustic duo in one business and a jazz duo in another Wednesday night and pop/rock vs. a country duo on Thursday night, Cosio said.

The oompah returns to downtown on Friday, Oct. 18, with the third annual Wurst Fest, featuring funk and rhythm & blues from the Buster Brown Band.

“The opening act is to be determined, but the rest of the evening will be German themed,” Cosio said. “We will have a beer garden and all things German. Wurst Fest carries on.”

The Historic Mansfield Music & Arts Festival kicks off Saturday and Sunday with 15 bands over two days. Headlining Saturday night will be alternative country band, the Old 97’s, who take the main stage at Broad and Main streets. The group, which started as a Dallas bar band in the early 1990s, gained national acclaim after touring to promote their first album “Hitchhike to Rhome.”

“Having seen the Old 97’s just last week (in Arlington), I am pumped,” Cosio said. “I cannot wait to see them on Main Street. The excitement level between the band and the audience was awe inspiring. You could tell that both the band and the audience were feeding off each other throughout the show.”

While there will be a lot of favorites returning -- restaurant row with no food item over $3, art vendors -- there will be a lot of changes.

“Last year we had two stages, this year we have four,” Cosio said. “We realized that the mid-day hours tend to get pretty hot, so we’re going to move two of our bands indoors. Between 1:30-5 p.m. Saturday, our music will be presented on the Farr Best stage.

“Over the past few years, we’ve heard that when our festival closes at 10 or 10:30 p.m., people still want to boogie,” he continued. “We’ve added an off-site stage at Fat Daddy’s, which will carry on to the wee hours. Anyone from the festival who goes to Fat Daddy’s with a festival wristband will be able to get in without paying a cover charge.”

When the bands move inside on Saturday afternoon, the stage at Oak Street will turn into a community stage, with acts from A Step in Time dance studio and Music Place Mansfield, Cosio said.

The children’s area will also be larger and be focused on kids, said Ann Smith, a Discover Historic Mansfield board member.

“We always offered businesses the opportunity to set up a kid-oriented booth and offer them a chance to present their business to parents,” Smith said. “This year we will have a business (expo) for businesses and a kids area for kids.”

The main attraction in the children’s area is expected to be the Hippo Slide, the “World’s Largest Inflatable Slide,” which “doesn’t look like a hippo,” Smith said.

The Citizens Fire Academy Alumni will be back with a chili cook-off and the car show will also return.

Some familiar faces will also be taking the stage, including electric polka Grammy winner Brave Combo, Jim Suhler & Monkey Beat (back for its fourth appearance) and indie rock band Good Shive Low. Bands will be doing longer sets, too, Cosio said, stretching to 90 minutes this year.

On Sunday, Buddy Whittington will wrap up the event with the blues. His opening act, though, won’t be known until that day.

“On Sunday, we’re doing a battle of the bands,” Cosio said. “Bands will be able to enter the competition at www.MansfieldFestival.com. Judges will whittle the entries to three finalists, which will perform on Sunday, doing half-hour sets. Winner of the entire battle of the bands will move to the main stage and open for Buddy Whittington, in addition to a $2,000 prize.”

Amanda Rogers, 817-473-4451 Twitter: @AmandaRogersNM

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