Dale Watson invites Saturday's crowd to cool off with a drink provided by the sponsors.
Dale Watson invites Saturday's crowd to cool off with a drink provided by the sponsors.
Photos by Francisco Montes

Lone Star's Texas Heritage Festival Makes a Refreshing Secret

Lone Star Beer Texas Heritage Festival
Silver Street Studios
August 15, 2015

On a sunny afternoon in the dead of summer, a festival was developing just outside downtown Houston. Dubbed the Texas Heritage Festival and free to all with a mere RSVP, the event ambitiously set out to bring a heterogeneous assortment of top Texas entertainers to a different big city in the state every weekend this month — all courtesy of sponsor Lone Star Beer.

Saturday was Houston's turn, and the day’s high was reportedly 99 degrees. With doors scheduled to open at 1 p.m. to a group of people who would largely be congregating on pavement, I had my apprehensions.

Much to my surprise, there was plenty of space to be shared, and it was perfectly utilized with enough food trucks and bar tents on-site to provide options without feeling cramped.

Latasha Lee & the Black Ties, minus taco cannon
Latasha Lee & the Black Ties, minus taco cannon

Bernie’s Burger Bus and Wokker Texas Ranger were on site to supply food to absorb all the alcohol consumed, and a small frozen-yogurt stand gave attendees a third option for a cold refreshment.

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Unfortunately, I ran late and only heard about the performances of Purple, Dale Watson and LaTasha Lee, whose performance apparently involved taco cannons. I walked in as her set was ending and immediately regretted my tardiness as I listened to some friends who had managed to snatch a taco out of the air.

Onstage, Latin funk orchestra Grupo Fantasma drew the crowd inside and into the shade as soon as they began performing. The Grammy-winning nine-piece got the audience members dancing in the heat, sweating out their inhibitions like any good summertime music festival.

The Black Angels
The Black Angels

Afterwards, their Austin neighbors the Black Angels provided a chiller kind of music to vibe to. Psychedelic images were displayed onscreen behind them as the group performed their melancholic rock and roll, creating an eerie atmosphere as the inside of Silver Street Studios darkened with the setting sun.

Next, Dallas veterans the Old 97’s closed out the evening with their signature form of alt-country, culminating the evening with plenty of upbeat hits and a few new ones about keeping the flame burning as the band members age and outgrow their old songs and songwriting techniques.

According to Facebook, some 1,200 people planned to attend the festival. The exact turnout seemed much sparser, but that basically turned the festival into the best-kept secret of the weekend.

The music was fantastic, the food was delicious, the beer was cold, and the proceeds went to the Houston Food Bank. Oh, and plenty of shade was available inside the studio near the stage itself, making it for the ideal venue for an “outdoor” festival in Houston during the summer.

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