By Mitch Holt, Copy Editor
The Abilene Reporter-News and Friends of the Abilene Public Library will host the Sixth Annual West Texas Book and Music Festival, which will take place Tuesday through Saturday in downtown Abilene in a festival of writers, readers, musicians and anyone interested in those things.
Janis Test, publicity chairperson for Friends of the Abilene Public Library, said the purpose of the event is to promote the love of reading and writing books and music.
“There is something for everyone at the festival,” Test said. “If college students don’t want to spend money, they can still have just as much fun as those who do.”
The five-day festival is mainly a free event, but several of the events at the festival cost money and require tickets, including the Texas Cookbook Gala and the Boots and Books Luncheon. The Gala has been sold out for a while, but the luncheon still has tickets available.
“[The Cookbook Gala] is really a lot of fun,” Test said. “We ask four cooks from Texas who have published a cookbook in the past year to collaborate on a dinner.”
The dinner is $100 a plate and is a “fancy sit-down dinner,” Test said.
The Boots and Books Luncheon costs $25 per plate and will take place noon on Saturday at the Abilene Civic Center.
“This event is a little more accessible,” she said. “You get to meet a lot of authors and interact with them.”
According to the West Texas Book and Music Festival Web site, the festival was created as a way to promote literacy, raise awareness of books being written and published in Texas, raise funds to support the Abilene Public Library and improve quality of life in Abilene and West Texas.
Test said although the event serves the interest of the public, the festival provides an opportunity for aspiring writers to network with more established writers and publishing companies.
“You can sit down and chat with the most exalted writers and the writers still trying to get their foot in the door,” she said. “People network a lot, and authors go from table to table, talking to people about writing.”
Festival planners made a last-minute decision to incorporate music into the festival. Test said that’s the reason there are no huge musical acts at the event this year, but several popular local acts will perform throughout the event.
“We expanded to music because writing music is such a creative process like writing books,” Test said. “We’ve got so much talent in this area that people don’t know about. We want to spotlight that and celebrate it together.”