Mission San José. Photo by Scott Ball.
Mission San José Credit: Scott Ball / San Antonio Report

San Antonio’s first annual World Heritage Festival will feature a Saturday that begins with hundreds taking to the Missions on bikes for a family-friendly ride, a 5k run, and a Mission Reach camino, or walk to Mission San José, while late afternoon and into the night will showcase local musicians putting on the inaugural Mission Pachanga at Mission County Park.

Doc Watkins, Black Market Club, Greg G, Fishermen, Femina X, Volcán, and Nina Diaz are the headliners confirmed for the Saturday program that runs for more than seven hours from 3:30-11 p.m. Admission is free.

San Antonio has lots to celebrate this September. The fall fiesta starts Thursday, Sept. 8 on Fox Tech High School’s former football field with a groundbreaking extravaganza for San Pedro Creek. The evening will include an original opera and ballet with an outdoor performance by the San Antonio Symphony, Opera San Antonio and Ballet San Antonio. Admission is free.

The World Heritage Festival begins Friday, Sept. 9 with the illumination of Mission San José. The festival will commemorate the designation of the four Spanish Missions and the Alamo as a UNESCO World Heritage site. This year’s events coincide with the National Park Service Centennial celebration on Aug. 25. 

Saturday’s program offers a range of events stretching from morning to evening. Just as it took many partners to shape the city’s successful World Heritage application, it’s taken many of the same individuals and organizations to organize the first annual World Heritage Festival: The City of San Antonio, Bexar County, the San Antonio River Authority, the National Park Service, Los Compadres, the San Antonio Catholic Archdiocese, and the Rivard Report.

Click here for information about Saturday’s family-friendly bike event, and registration.

Sunday will include special Masses at all four Missions, with noon mariachi masses at Missions Concepción and San José. All visitors are welcome to attend a Mass and spend time walking through the restored historical landmarks. Saturday cyclists and walkers will find educational and cultural presentations at all four Missions and the Alamo, allowing people to stop at each destination and linger before continuing on the route. All registered riders will receive a World Heritage passport that will be stamped at each destination visited.

The nascent musical nonprofit San Antonio Sound Garden assembled the lineup of local musical talent that will deliver seven hours of live performances on stage at Mission County Park. There will be food trucks, beer and beverages, vendors, and more.

The music will actually start in the morning as cyclists, runners, walkers, friends and families gather at Mission County Park for a late morning and mid-day party. There will be prize drawings, food trucks and beer, vendors, and live music, including Celebration Circle’s Rudi Harst, world musician Maya Guirao, as well as members of the Institute of Texan Culture’s Descendant Group.

There will be a two-hour break between 1:30-3:30 p.m. to set the stage for the afternoon and evening program. Here’s a closer look at the performers:

Doc Watkins

Doc Watkins and his Big Band on stage at The Empire Theatre. June 10, 2014. Photo by Iris Dimmick.
Doc Watkins and his Big Band on stage at The Empire Theatre. June 10, 2014. Photo by Iris Dimmick. Credit: Iris Dimmick / San Antonio Report

With a sterling reputation as a steward of the jazz music scene, and stock only rising with the opening of Jazz, TX at Pearl, Doc Watkins brings his classical training and jazz chops to a set that will surely pay homage to a wide-range of San Antonio’s musical story from country swing to blues and even perhaps a little Latin tinge thrown in while he’s keeping things funky.

Fender Rhodes, bass, and drums will set the stage as Watkins kicks off the main stage festivities with a taste of what you’ll find in his jazz paradise opening August 23 at the Pearl.

Black Market Club

Bringing a stage presence and ensemble choice (sartorially as well musically) that is festival worthy, the indie-rock quintet is known for their catchy melodies and driving riffs that provide high-octane waves to ride for any festival goer. Gaining traction with their latest CD release “Bad Habits,” the group is riding the wave of indie-rock love that is being passed around with fervor amongst Millennials.

Greg G

Hip-hop artist Greg G.  Photo courtesy of Lousette Saint Victor.
Hip-hop artist Greg G.  Photo courtesy of Lousette Saint Victor.

San Antonio native Greg G may have gone to the Big Apple to chase his dreams, but he knows his roots when they come a calling, which is why he’s willing to come home for the weekend to affirm his hometown love. Greg G’s soul-conscious lyricism and dynamism on the mic allow him to simultaneously flow between freestyle emcee and diaphanous voice to bring out a musicality and thoughtfulness not often seen on the SA hip-hop circuit.

Playing the keyboards and backed by drums and bass, Greg G will be a show-stopper.


Known for the faithful leadership of all six men who share the load as servants of the music scene, the humble, often-bearded men of Fishermen are watching their stars shine a year after the release of double-EP Smart Kids/Future Wives, and San Antonio couldn’t be happier for them. The indie-rock meets soul meets lets-experiment-with-electronic-stuff ensemble seamlessly blends each musician’s gifts with a message. Vocalist Edwin Stephen’s fervent falsetto will make it easy to tune out everything else.

Fishermen pose for multiple photos shot on 35mm film. Photo collage by Josh Huskin.
Fishermen pose for multiple photos shot on 35mm film. Photo collage by Josh Huskin.


Every personality of this electrifying troupe of musicians is unique and equally impressive in their music-making grounded in indigenous roots. From vocalist Daniela Riojas’ ability to lacerate or caress with her passionate voice, to Jai Roots keeping the foundational heartbeat matching that of the audience, to the dynamic interactions between violin and guitar, Femina-X is known for its on-stage transport of audiences to someplace else in the new world.

Daniela Riojas of Femina-X at Imagine Books and Records for the finale of LMW 2016. Photo courtesy of Oscar Moreno
Daniela Riojas of Femina-X at Imagine Books and Records for the finale of LMW 2016. Photo courtesy of Oscar Moreno


Recently described as San Antonio’s reincarnation of ’70s Latin music powerhouse Latin Breed, Volcán – whose first EP will be released this fall – brings a boundless approach to life as an indie orquesta Latina. The band’s appetite is insatiable. Easily the biggest ensemble of the evening with anywhere from 10-13 members on stage, the group boasts all the elements of traditional Latin sound guido, accordion, timbales, full drum set and congas lay the groove for a full horn section to wail over, with electrifying guitar riffs and the Marc Anthony stage presence of lead singer Jose Juan Huizar.

Nina Diaz

With the renown from her group Girl In a Coma building a solid case for a promising musical career, Nina Diaz is a beautiful success story of the San Antonio music market. With national success leading to her second appearance on NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert Series, this time as a solo artist, Diaz will be coming off a West Coast sojourn to bring her unique brand of rock to close out the festival’s musical journey.

Diaz is riding high as a voice to reckon with alongside a well-oiled machine that keeps the riffs rising and the blood pumping, especially when playing for the people of San Antonio.


Top image: Mission San José, the “Queen of the Missions.” Photo by Scott Ball. 

Related stories:

Design Team Releases More Renderings of San Pedro Creek Plan

San Antonio: America’s City With its Own National Historic Park

Lessons from Other World Heritage Sites

San Antonio Missions & Alamo Now a World Heritage Site

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Adam Tutor

Adam Tutor is a Trinity University graduate, a saxophonist who performs with local bands Soulzzafying, Odie & the Digs, and Volcan, and a freelance music contributor to the Rivard Report.