By Paul Knettel
There is good news for those who think they missed out on the rain, mud and live music at Austin City Limits last weekend. The fifth annual SOLID Groove Music and Arts Festival, “Abilene’s ACL,” takes place at Play Faire Park this Saturday to benefit Big Brothers Big Sisters of Abilene.
This event features 11 local acts, as well as two Abilene groups returning from Austin. Along with the music, 13 art booths and a Kid’s Area, sponsored by local magician and balloon artist Randy Blane Naylor, will be set up.
Chris England, proprietor of Play Faire Park, said the festival is fun with a purpose, to help a nonprofit community organization and showcase local talent.
“Every year, the lineup gets better and better,” England said. He said he is looking forward to the event, which some have described as just like leaving town – without the drive.
Doors open at noon, and the music kicks off at 1 p.m. with folk group Jamison Priest leading the way. The festival lasts until 12:30 a.m., with SOLID, Abilene jam band and the festival’s namesake, concluding the evening.
The bands will be split between two stages, the “Big Grin” stage and the “Smiles” stage. Performers include “Meatball,” also known as Benny Bartek; The Kirk House Band; Bobby Deegan and Friends, Max Allen and The VooDoo Bros.; Tony Barker; Duane Ramelot; and Lance Richburg.
Also playing is Cold Shot, the high-energy rock and roll cover band made up of former Rockin’ Extensions members. One of the most prominent blues bands in the Abilene area, The Dave Hobbs Band, will take the stage as well. The Hunters and Gatherers, an Austin band that got their start in Abilene, have a new CD and a fuller sound; they will be returning to town for the show, along with Victoria Moore, an outstanding singer-songwriter and Abilene native who also relocated to Austin.
A wide variety of styles will be represented at the 11-and-a-half hour festival, from folk to Celtic to blues to jazz to rock and roll.
The show is for all ages. Tickets are $6 presale or $8 at the festival with a student ID. They can be bought at Play Faire Park or RELICS. A game of miniature golf is included in the ticket price, and all proceeds from the event will benefit Big Brothers Big Sisters of Abilene.