COPPERAS COVE – The sun shined brightly Sunday afternoon as local musicians played country, folk and southern rock at the Star of Texas Tri-County Music Fest in Copperas Cove.
Organized by the nonprofit Columbia Club and hosted on the 14-acre grounds of the Knights of Columbus Father James A. Donnelly Council 6658, the two-day event brought 25 musical acts, 25 food and craft vendors, and about 150 total attendees, organizers said.
Proceeds will go to the American Red Cross, the Texas River Conservation Association and possibly local food banks, said Cheryl Maples, Columbia Club manager. As of 2:30 p.m. Sunday, the event had earned $1,800 total, including $400 for charity.
“It’s not too bad for our first annual event,” Maples said. Seven local sponsors each donated $100 to the event.
Maples’ husband and Columbia Club member Ron Harry wants to attract bigger sponsors next year to help fund and grow the event, he said. “We want to put this place back on the map.”
The land at 6830 Farm-to-Market 2657 was the original venue for the 33-year-old Rabbit Fest, and has hosted a German-themed Oktoberfest, but hasn’t hosted a major event in a long time, Harry said.
Mylon English, member of country rock band 7 Years Today, recruited all the artists who volunteered, he said. He met most participants at the weekly open mics he hosts at Joker’s IceHouse and O’Briens in Temple.
Bands drove from as far away as Conroe and Corpus Christi to play the fest, English said. The popularity of local music is growing throughout Central Texas.
“Five or six years ago, this wouldn’t happen,” English said. “There’s so much that went into (the event).”
At about 2 p.m. Sunday, English played bongos alongside artists Joe Stento, Jon Austin and DJ, to cover Incubus’ “Warning.”
Collaborations were common throughout the event, English said. “You can learn so much from the three or four people you play with in your band,” he said. “Imagine how much you can learn with five or six other guys.”
About 20 musicians camped out Saturday night, sitting around a campfire and playing acoustic guitar until 2 a.m., English said.
Saturday’s event also featured a country western show, a bounce house and waterslide. It lasted from 9 a.m. to midnight Saturday and from 1 to 6 p.m. Sunday.
Musicians unzipped their tents shortly before 11 a.m. Sunday to eat food cooked by Kettle Restaurant owner Tim Lyons, and participate in a Christian worship service on-site, English said.
Musician Austin said the event covered all aspects of community.
“It was a really special time,” Austin said. “We had food, God, music; there was a little room for everything. People braved the heat for something that’s priceless.”