Featured Texas authors and musicians will present their work and celebrate their art with the Abilene community at the ninth annual West Texas Book and Music Festival next week. The festival is the second-largest yearly book festival in Texas.
The festival, sponsored by the Abilene Public Library and the Abilene Reporter-News, will take place at various locations around Abilene on Sept. 21-26. The event will give visitors an opportunity to attend book-signings, presentations and concerts at little to no cost.
“It has several purposes,” said Glenn Dromgolle, festival co-chair. “One is to call attention to literacy, [for people] to read more books by Texas writers and listen to more music by Texas singers and songwriters.”
The event will also raise money for the Abilene Public Library. Library members hope the event will raise awareness of library programs and the Friends of the Library organization, which helped promote and sponsor the event, said Ricki Brown, city librarian and festival steering committee member.
For those interested in writing books, numerous children’s authors will present their books and speak about their experiences of writing and being published, Brown said.
Several distinguished Texas authors will be present at the festival, including Bryan Burrough, best-selling author of The Big Rich: The Rise and Fall of the Greatest Texas Oil Fortunes; Newbery Honor Book author Kathi Appelt, author of The Underneath and other children’s books; and retired general James U. Cross, author of Around the World with LBJ.
“Many people don’t know about Texas authors,” said Dromgolle. “Most schools don’t offer courses in Texas literature, and a lot of them are not as well known as they should be. Texas has a lot of good writers.”
The festival will also feature two-time Grammy award-winning group Brave Combo of Denton and the Texas Swing Kings from Austin, as well as other local bands, including Happy Fat and Slim Chance.
“The Brave Combo plays a variety of music,” said Dromgolle. “It appeals to people across age groups; young people like them, middle age people like them, your grandparents like them. They are really an interesting mix of music styles.”
The band, which describes itself as “nuclear polka” with a dash of rock-and-roll, has appeared in an episode of The Simpsons and composed the theme song for Bakersfield P.D., a FOX Television series.
The Brave Combo and Texas Swing Kings will play at the Paramount Theatre on Friday at 8 p.m. Tickets can be purchased for $15 at the theatre and the library’s main branch on N. 2nd Street. Other concerts and a Gospel Hymn-Fest will be offered free of charge in Minter Park.
“It’s a good time for people who like the written word to get together and celebrate,” said Dromgolle. “We would just encourage people to come out and enjoy this. This is a pretty big thing for Abilene, and we would love to have more people participate.”