Viva Big Bend brings 65 musical acts to 17 venues across the region this week

David Garza performs at Planet Marfa in 2021. The show was one of many concerts during Viva Big Bend. Photo by Dana Kruth for the Big Bend Sentinel.

FAR WEST TEXAS — Viva Big Bend, a musical festival in its 11th year, will showcase local and visiting musicians at venues across the region in Alpine, Fort Davis, Marathon, Marfa and Terlingua this week. 

Both free daytime and ticketed nighttime concerts will take place from Wednesday, July 27, through Sunday, July 31, at venues across the region including Railroad Blues, Spicewood Restaurant, Planet Marfa, Lost Horse, French Co. Grocer, The Audrey and Tyrone Kelly Outdoor Pavilion, and more. Cibolo Creek Ranch, which joined the venue roster just last year, will also host three nights of music for guests and wristband holders. 

“I just encourage people to check out the entire schedule. Because there’s a little something for everyone,” said Viva Big Bend Director Stewart Ramser of this year’s festival.  

Festival kick off parties will take place at the Starlight Theater and Chateau Wright. Ramser said two notable events on Saturday include a kid’s show at 11 a.m. at the Alpine Visitor’s Center and an Alpine Cowboys baseball game at 6 p.m. at Kokernot Field, which will conclude with a performance by Mitch Webb and the Swindles. He said Viva Big Bend’s lineup consists of a diversity of styles of music this year, as is customary. 

New bands joining the festival bill this year include Sir Woman and Bright Light Social Hour. Returning musicians include Zach Person, Tomar and the FCs, Bidi Bidi Banda and David Beck’s Tejano Weekend. Participating local musical outfits include Doug Moreland, The Swifts, Primo y Beebe, Doodlin’ Hogwallops and more. 

“It’s a showcase of great music, but it’s also showcasing the great atmosphere, the communities, people and businesses who are out here,” said Ramser. “I think that’s important to have the musicians that live here be part of [Viva Big Bend].” 

While a number of local musicians may be available, local sound and lighting engineers are in short supply, meaning the festival brings in its own production crew, Meshed Up Productions out of Austin, to help put on the event every year. Ramser said he tries to pair bands and venues that work well together and mixes it up for returning musicians, scheduling their sets at different venues than the year previous. Some groups, though, are fan favorites at particular venues and may appear there year after year. 

Ramser, who also founded and publishes Texas Music Magazine and runs other festivals, said he originally started Viva Big Bend because he wanted to connect local venues with musicians who wanted to play in the region. 

“The first year was hugely successful, and it’s only gotten bigger,” said Ramser. 

For Viva Big Bend 2022, Ramser is expecting around 2,500 to 3,000 people per day to attend both free and paid shows. COVID precautions will be up to each individual venue to set and enforce, said Ramser, but they will make sure to avoid overcrowding and meet fire codes as per usual. 

After July 26, tickets may only be purchased in person at one of the Viva Big Bend box office locations — Holland Hotel, open from noon to 10 p.m. July 28-29 and 2 to 6 p.m. July 30, and Planet Marfa, open from 8 to 11 p.m. July 28 and 6:30 to 11 p.m. July 29. Tickets for wristbands to access all events throughout the weekend are $60, but those wishing to attend a singular event may pay a cover charge in the range of $10 to $20 depending on the night and the venue. 

For more information, visit