Festival attendees watch a performance at the La Villita Historic Arts Village as the Tower Life Building looms overhead during Maverick Music Festival 2015.
Festival attendees watch a performance at the La Villita Historic Arts Village as the Tower Life Building looms overhead. Photo by Scott Ball.

Until now, San Antonio has been the one major city in Texas skipped over countless times by touring bands and performers because of the city’s  “Goldilocks situation.”

We have venues like the Freeman Coliseum and the AT&T Center where only big name performers have the resources and potential to play in an enormous arena. We had club venues and smaller spaces like the White Rabbit and Sunset Station, which didn’t have the best sound or the best coordination.

Maverick Music Festival was the first domino to fall and send the city’s music scene moving in a new direction that tipped over in a new direction, leading to River City Rockfest, Paper Tiger, and the The Phantom Room. San Antonio is finally starting to tap into the live music world that Maverick Music Fest Coordinator Blayne Tucker said has grown to be a $7 billion industry.

Festival attendees watch a performance at the La Villita Historic Arts Village during Maverick Music Festival 2015.
Festival attendees watch a performance at the La Villita Historic Arts Village during Maverick Music Festival 2015.

The key purpose of Maverick Music Festival is to bring in performers who wouldn’t otherwise perform in San Antonio and allow local acts to share the stage with well-known musicians. It’s also an opportunity to unify the city in one location and expose the beauty and potential that the historic La Villita has for those who seldom venture downtown.

“Last year, we had bands that had never even been to San Antonio come and perform and say that they really enjoyed being here,” said Faith Radle, Maverick Music Festival coordinator.

Apart from putting San Antonio on the music scene map, Maverick Music Festival is stoking the local economy with 40% of tickets sales coming from out of town sales. Some tickets were purchased online in Alaska.

This weekend, Maverick Music Festival is having a great turn out – even on Friday, the opening day. The Saturday lineup sold out first, while lines wrapped around the street corner on Friday. Standing room at the festival was a tight squeeze, even compared to the Paper Tiger’s opening weekend when big name bands performed for free.

On Friday, a San Antonio quartet called The Bolos rocked the stage with shredded guitar rifts and a hum of distorted lyrics. Austin’s garage rock band the Heartless Bastards performed at sunset, followed by Latin funk band Brown Sabbath, also from Austin – their 2014 album of Sabbath covers, “Brownout Presents Brown Sabbath” was one of NPR’s top 50 releases of the year. Fort Worth’s Toadies rocked asymmetrical melodies before Portland’s Portugal, the Man ended the night with their swaying pop melodies.

Saturday’s lineup includes tUnE-YaRdS, an eccentric band with winding melodies; indie-rock bands Wavves and Best Coast from California; Cake, an influential ’90s rock band who half speak, half sing their complex lyrics; and Cypress Hill, a Latino hip-hop band who are notorious for endorsing marijuana.

The Toadies perform at the La Villita Historic Arts Village during Maverick Music Festival 2015.
The Toadies perform at the La Villita Historic Arts Village during Maverick Music Festival 2015. Photo by Scott Ball.

A sea of people, locals as well as those who aren’t native to the San Antonio music scene caught performances from both local and touring bands, and were allowed to carry an audible conjunctive voice singing back lyrics to the performers.

The Maverick Music Fest, which includes a couple of the stages free to the public, recognizes that San Antonio is the “heavy metal capital of Texas,” which surrounded the White Rabbit for quite some time. This year, there will be a free art show that “fuses popular, cultural, and local history, fine art, and folk art curated for a broad, non-traditional audience in a non-traditional location. The show will feature original art from San Antonio and California artists and archival materials covering the history of Heavy Metal in San Antonio.”

Festival goers also had the opportunity to catch local acts at the Juarez and Arneson Stage as well as a free admission to the art show.

Festival attendees watch a performance at the La Villita Historic Arts Village as the Tower Life Building looms overhead during Maverick Music Festival 2015.
Festival attendees watch a performance at the La Villita Historic Arts Village as the Tower Life Building looms overhead. Photo by Scott Ball.

Even with Maverick Music Festival’s potential to bring in well-known acts, coordinators are adamant about sticking with their roots and say that the local music element is something that will never go away.

“We’re all from San Antonio, we want what is best for it,” Radle said on the potential and talent that is bred here in the local music scene, “We want to see the city thrive.”

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Alyssa Bunting

Alyssa Bunting has bachelor's degree in communications and is currently working as an Advertising Director. She is also a freelance writer with a San Antonio arts and cultural column called Museworthy.