Special to the Parade
Again this year the six-day event will run from Feb. 14-19 and will be held at the Rio Grande Valley Livestock Showgrounds, 1000 N. Texas St., in Mercedes. Come and enjoy the best of all kinds of music, primarily good old country and bluegrass with a bit of folk and gospel added in.
As an added bonus again this year there will be performances by the Valley Grande Academy Band, EPARD Folkloric Dancers, Alvarez Drumline Band, Weslaco HS Jazz and Show Choir, and the Edcouch-Elsa Mariachi.
The RGV Music Festival’s purpose has been two-fold from its beginning: to bring groups of musicians together for entertainment to those living in the valley, as well as to Winter Texans. Secondly, the volunteer-run festival supports the youth education music programs throughout the Valley, and each year proceeds, after expenses, are donated to those programs.
In 2010, over $13,000 was donated, and in 2011 over $20,000 was contributed. In return, attendees get the opportunity throughout the week to enjoy performances from some of those schools and groups receiving the proceeds.
Among this year’s top performers is singer-song writer Terry Smith. Terry will be performing daily. Voted “Songwriter of the Year” by the “Traditional Music Association,” Terry is a traditional country singer and has recorded several albums of original material. Among those songs, “Far-Side Banks of Jordan” was featured twice in Robert Duvall’s movie, “The Apostle.”
The Roger Kenaston Band was also among the top favorites last year. They are known for their bluegrass, country and other genres of music. Attendees will have an opportunity to see them daily on one of the five festival stages. Band members include Roger Kenaston, an extremely talented vocalist who is accomplished on guitar, dobro, fiddle, mandolin, and lap steel. His wife, Sharon, possesses a very strong voice and love for country music. Both Roger and Sharon have won numerous awards and are members of the National Traditional Country Music Hall of Fame. Along with Roger and Sharon, enjoy the talents of drummer Jerry Neeman. Festival lovers will also be enlightened with his class trumpet tunes. On rhythm guitar, Dave Elifrits is a prolific songwriter and musician. He also plays fiddle, harmonica and mandolin.
Back for her third year at the RGV Music Festival, Betty Rydell will be entertaining much of the week. Betty is a talented and versatile entertainer and is well known across the Valley. She sings a variety of songs and plays many instruments but is primarily known at the festival for her magic with the mandolin. Voted 2011 Winter Texan Times Female Entertainer of the year, she was also named the F.A.M.E. Female Vocalist of the Year and has been awarded numerous other awards.
Among the other top entertainers, come and enjoy the Punches Family, Walter Plant, Big John and Connie Pedersen, the Jacob Austin Band, Bruce and Elaine Nelson and Clarence Hayden. The list does not stop there. Throughout the week, many bands will perform. Many will play throughout the Valley during the winter, as well as many show entertainers including Cowboy, Hobo and the Drifter, ErvPickhinke, the Farnum Family, Red Johnson, Chris Marshall, Southern Train, and many more.
Gates open at 8 a.m. daily. Children under 12 get in free and parking is free. Open mic times are available on all stages and specific tents throughout each day. Biscuits and gravy breakfast is served from 8-11 a.m. daily. There will be food concessions, as well as arts and craft vendors on site. Wednesday, Feb. 15, is Vets Day and all vets and first responders will receive free biscuits and gravy breakfast. A special event will be held on Wednesday from 10-10:30 a.m.
Come join the many festival volunteers for a good cause, help support Valley youth and education programs. Bring your lawn chairs, plan to have a good time and support the annual Rio Grande Valley Music Festival. Visit our website for more information or a complete list of currently scheduled entertainers, www.rgvmf.com or call (956) 373-0130.