Trans-Pecos Special Section: festival previews, interviews, and more

Marfa’s home team, Los Yonke Gallos, played last year on Trans-Pecos weekend. Photo by Chad Wadsworth.

Trans-Pecos Festival of Music + Love returns for its 16th year

MARFA – The 16th Trans-Pecos Festival of Music + Love, El Cosmico’s music experience, is taking place in Marfa from September 29 – October 2 with headliners Marty Stuart, Cat Power, Andrew Bird, Cimafunk, and Iron and Wine. 

Additional acts include a diverse group of musicians and bands like Ben Kweller, Heartless Bastards, Sir Woman, Tift Merritt, Abraham Alexander, Nora Brown, Ross Cashiola, Genital Panic, and the El Cosmico Family Band. Late night acts include Ozomatli, THE BROS FRESH and Camilo Lara.

The festival goes beyond music, offering attendees the chance to camp at El Cosmico, while cultivating artistic engagement with a variety of unique activities, day parties, workshops, a vendor marketplace, pop-up desert spa (El Cosmetico) and barber shop (El Cosmicuts), food trucks, tattoos and more.

This year’s workshops include: two-step lessons, wine and spirit tastings, yoga and movement classes, horseback riding, an urban nature walk, history of the Big Bend, political action, water marbling and cochineal dying. A complimentary children’s music class, El Kidsmico Percussion Party with David Garza and Friends, will share some of the festival musicians’ skills with the littlest of cosmonauts.

In addition, the annual sandlot baseball game has gotten a remix. The Austin All Stars is a special team made up of the city’s greatest sandlot players. Los Yonke Gallos de Marfa and Los Tigres de San Antonio round out this West Texas three-way game.

On Sunday, festival-goers can also participate in a community breakfast benefiting KRTS Marfa Public Radio -––complimentary this year for all festival ticket holders.

A variety of beverage and food options will be available on-site for the duration of the festival including a pop-up from Los Angeles’s Breadhead, wines from Scribe Winery, coffee from Meteor Coffee, and breakfast tacos from Marfa Spirit Co. Food trucks will include Cloudy’s, Lick It Up, Burro, Oh My Pizza Pie, Wildflower Caramel Co., Southern Comfort, Billy Pete’s, and Wonder-Pilz Kombucha.

This year’s marketplace will feature West Perro, Workwear Vintage, Lykke Wullf, Caddis, El Cosmico Provision Co. and Far West Collective, Filth Mart, 4Kinship, Glor, Muchacho Vintage, From the Grey Fortress, La Ropa, Sister Ceramics, Pioneertown General Store, Lunchroom Anxiety, Richter Goods, Forrest & Groves Vintage, Carla Fernandez, Carleen, Bexar Goods, Far Out Silver, High Desert Dye, Habitat Hammocks and Miranda Bennett Studio.

The girls of Lumber Club Marfa to lead their first workshop at Trans-Pecos


MARFA — Visitors flocking to Marfa for the Trans-Pecos Festival will have the unique opportunity to build their very own wooden stools, under the careful guidance of a group of skilled local artisans.

Those artisans, the members of woodworking group Lumber Club Marfa, happen to be girls between the ages of 6 and 13.

11-year-old Willa Bamburg, despite her age, has seven years of experience with the club under her belt. For her and her equally capable clubmates, it can be amusing to watch it dawn on adults that they’re coming into a space where a group of kids have them bested in terms of expertise.

“I guess — kind of rightfully so — they underestimate kids, because ideally the adults are the ones teaching the kids about stuff,” said Willa. “And then when they realize that we know what we’re doing they’re a little shocked. I just like seeing the change on their faces. It’s funny.”

The all-girls club, overseen by artist Larry Bamburg, meets every Friday after school for about four hours — interrupted halfway through by a dinner break — at a woodshed off Golf Course Road near Vizcaino Park. There, the young woodworkers hone their craft and turn out three-legged stools that are then sold via the group’s website for $300. The kids are paid for their work, in money that goes directly into a 529 education account for each member, to serve as an eventual college fund. 

The girls work on the customer service side of the business as well, taking orders via email and corresponding with prospective buyers. The result is a well-rounded education not just on woodworking but grit, determination, and the development of vital social skills. Seeing each girl reap the benefits of that education is deeply rewarding, said Bamburg.

“That confidence and seeing that grow over time, that’s what we do — helping them find their power is what we do,” he said. The completed stools themselves, made from white oak, are icing on the cake.

“The fact that they’re beautiful objects and they’re a perfect blend of wonky and refinement is just my own secondary interest in objects and form and sculpture.”

Gaining experience through years of Lumber Club is an exercise in gradually gaining confidence and familiarity with a series of new tools, which can be intimidating upon introduction — and dangerous if used incorrectly, the girls remind newcomers. Willia’s sister, 13-year-old Mae Bamburg, said she is currently gaining confidence with the table saw. 

“I guess it’s kind of exhilarating when you first start on a new tool,” said Mae. “It’s scary — you have to get a feel for it. After a while, you just get comfortable and forget what it was like when you started out.”

Amelia Ofenstein, 12, remarked that gaining this knowledge and confidence was her favorite part of being in the club. “I really like how you get to learn how to use big tools and how to learn to be careful around them and be mindful of your surroundings,” she said.

While the girls have led tours of their studio, and some have taught adults one-on-one, the festival event will be their very first workshop for adults. Participants in the workshop will, over the course of three hours, turn out their very own three-legged stool. Novice woodworkers nervous about their lack of ability should take comfort in the simplicity of the item, which Bamburg had settled on for the club’s purposes due to its ability to be perfect in its imperfection.

“It’s a really simple piece of furniture, and it can be really wonky and still stand,” he said. “In a form sense, in a structural sense, it’s the bare minimum of what you need to pull off a little seat, and they’ll always stand.”

The young instructors themselves are thrilled about stepping into the teaching role.

“I think it’s pretty cool, especially if we can teach people that are older than us,” said 12-year-old Abi Scott. “Most of the time, we’re teaching younger children. But I feel like it’s fun to teach adults, because if they never gain those skills it’s a good skill set for people to have. Some people don’t know how to change a light bulb, and that’s kind of sad, so I feel like them getting the experience to be able to learn this kind of stuff is a really good experience for us and for them.”

The experienced workers do have some advice for prospective workshop participants: stay focused, come equipped with plenty of water, respect the power of the tools, and listen to your instructors. After all, they know what they’re doing.

“If one of our clients is feeling intimidated by a tool or they’re scared to work with a tool, I would assure them that as long as they follow the instructions with the tool, as long as they are doing the best they can, they will be safe,” said Abi.

Lumber Club Marfa: Stool Making Workshop will take place on Saturday, October 1, 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. at El Cosmico. Tickets are $475 and can be purchased at

A Q&A with Erika Wennerstrom of Heartless Bastards

Have you come to Trans-Pecos before? 

It’s my third or fourth time as Heartless Bastards, and it’ll be my sixth time performing at the event in some form because I did a solo album, too. Then I’ve been one or two times on years I didn’t play.

So this is like an old friend.

Oh, yeah. Aside from the festival, which was my first exposure to Marfa, I actually spend a lot of time in the region. I just absolutely fell in love with it. I’ve written sections of every album, since I first experienced Marfa, in the region. I go down to Big Bend a lot and hike and write lyrics as I’m hiking. I write at Chinati Hot Springs. I probably go to Marfa two to three times a year. I love the area. I almost feel like it’s a second home to me.

How does being here affect your writing process?

I think there’s something about going out in a big, wide open space that allows me to process, and I think it gives me the space to be creative. As much as I also love city life, I know there’s a lot of distraction. I feel like [being here] allows me to let go of a lot of daily distractions. There’s maybe one bar on the cellphone and I have to actually go to the edge of the porch to get texts or emails. I can’t see Instagram with the one bar. So I feel like I let go of some of that stuff that takes up some time, that’s unproductive.

As a musician and performer who’s done the festival a few times, how do you find Trans-Pecos compared to other venues and compared to other festivals? 

I just love it. It’s one of my favorite festivals in the world.  I think we played the third festival Liz [Lambert] ever had, so it’s been lovely to watch it grow. The first time I went, I had never been to Marfa — I had done festivals like Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits. And so when we got out there, I didn’t know how many people to expect. Not only has it grown, but the fact that she keeps it very intimate, it just keeps it really really special. It’s not only more manageable for the town, but I think that there’s something about when you’re in a smaller, intimate festival — you start running into the same people all weekend and it’s easier to kind of develop new relationships. There’s just a real magic to an intimate festival.

What are you most looking forward to about the festival? Are you going to stick around and see all the vendors and the other performers? Who are you most looking forward to seeing?

Yeah, I’m going to be there for the whole festival. I’ve toured with Andrew Bird over the years — we actually had a collaboration, he played on the last album I released, and I sang on a song with him on his. I also did a tour with Sam Beam [of Iron & Wine]. So it’ll be really nice to see them and hear their music, which I love. And I’m a huge Cat Power fan, so I’m definitely excited about that. 

I’m also going to sing in the [El Cosmico] Family Band on Saturday, and that’s always a blast. We’re doing covers, and feel like every time I sing a cover and learn another artist’s song it always finds its way into inspiration for my own songs, so I’m looking forward to that in multiple ways.

For those who aren’t familiar with your music, how would you describe your sound? How would you describe the set people are going to see?

Describing myself, after so many years, you’d think it’d get easier, but it almost gets harder because I’ve had seven albums and when I think about the journey of experimenting with different sounds … in a way, it gets almost, actually harder, it doesn’t get easier to describe myself. But I would say I really love the description on our bio: ”It’s a delicate coalescence of French pop, Celtic folk, space rock, symphonic pop, Disney scores, and post punk.”

We’re a rock and roll band when it comes down to it, but I do think I have some pop sensibilities and I love some aspects of world music. On the new album, there’s Persian setar, there’s South American, bossa nova influence. It’s just a big amalgam of stuff that I think ultimately comes out sounding like Heartless Bastards.

You’ve been based in Austin since 2007. How does being a Texas and Austin-based musician impact your music?

When I moved here, it was really inspiring — every band comes through Austin. It’s kind of a must-stop on the tour circuit. So I felt really inspired, but it wasn’t always necessarily Texas music or Texas musicians — it was the sheer amount of music I was exposing myself to when I first moved here. Texas itself is hugely inspiring to me because of the landscape. I write in nature, so I would say the landscape of Texas really inspires me.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity. Heartless Bastards will perform on Thursday. Music starts at 6 p.m.

The Grand Tourists perform at El Cosmico during last year’s Trans-Pecos Festival. Photo by Chad Wadsworth

A Q&A with Pat Keesey of The Grand Tourists 

Tell us a little bit about yourself, what do you do for a living? How long have you lived in Marfa? 

I came to Marfa in the early ’90s and I bought a house around ’94. It was a ruin. I bought it for $1,000. I bought another house that was more livable in 2000. I was going back and forth from New York to here for a long time and then moved here permanently I think six years ago. I have a woodshop, I teach yoga, I’m a painter. I make a little money making paintings. And then I have a bunch of bands.

You’ve played Trans-Pecos Fest in the past, but this year you will be playing with The Grand Tourists. Can you tell us a little more about the bands you are in?

I have a swamp, rockabilly, punk-ish band called Loviband that’s a little more like a guitar trio with the drummer of The Grand Tourists, Cale Hand, and David Garcia. We played the small stage [last year]. Ross Cashiola, the singer of The Grand Tourists, has traditionally always played one of the first shows on the large stage. He’s doing that this year, but his group varies. 

I play the guitar and I’m really a blues guitar player, maybe a little bluegrass in there. The Grand Tourists are a country rock band. Our country guitar player and our pedal steel player is Colt Miller and Cale is our drummer. He’s one of the best drummers around. For such a small town, it’s just incredible how good the musicians are. Ross is a singer and acoustic guitar player. We were playing with Jimmy Magliozzi for a long time, but now he wants to focus on his own music. So we have somebody named Jag Raspopvich [on bass]. 

Do you regret letting Jimmy quit the band? 

That’s a good question. Jimmy is an incredible musician and really nice person. But I’m a little older than everybody else; I’m not gonna get into trying to push people to do things that they don’t want to do. He works really hard with Method [Building Company] and he has his own musical aspirations. He’s going to play with Ross this time on the mainstage. The Grand Tourists came out of the Marfa Municipal Alliance of Dead Country and Folk Singers. They only play once or twice a year to raise money for charities and we do tributes to dead country folk legends on the day of their death. 

What’s been nice about that is we invite all sorts of different types of musicians, so there are 50 people who have played with our municipal alliance. Because I’m not really trying to become a successful musician, it’s really nice for me to encourage people and give people opportunities. People who want them will play and people who don’t won’t and to me, it almost doesn’t matter if you’re good or bad. It’s great if I can help create an opportunity for somebody to perform or get excited about it.

What have The Grand Tourists prepared for the festival? What can audiences look forward to? 

We are going to play some country music. I think we have at least one song from the last 10 decades. We probably have a song from the ‘60s, ‘70s, ’80s. We have a ‘90s song. I think we have a variety of different types of country music, most of it is classic country, and we have a few classic rock songs. I think we’re gonna do a Bruce Springsteen song, give it a little flair. It’s gonna be all covers. There’ll be plenty of songs to dance to and we’re gonna play “Neon Moon,” so that should make everybody happy.

There’s a band called Midland and they have this great song called, “Drinkin’ Problem.” That’s probably the most recent song we’ll cover. We’re gonna do some Waylon, some Willie. We do a lot of Gary Stewart. We did a tribute to him with the alliance and we became big fans of him. We’ll probably do a song by David Berman, from the Silver Jews. We like to do his music. We ended up having a little bit of a country flair to almost everything.

Are there any particular musical groups performing at Trans-Pecos that you are excited to see? 

Marty Stuart is one of the greatest country guitar players of all time. I definitely think that that is something you’re gonna want to see. I’ve always been a fan of Cat Power. I think she has a beautiful voice. I like her singing and her songs. Those are the two main things that I’m making an effort to go to.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity. The Grand Tourists perform from 3 to 4 p.m. Thursday, September 29 on the small stage at the Trans-Pecos Festival. 

Q&A with Ross Cashiola

You’ve played pretty consistently at Trans-Pecos over the years. How many festivals is this for you?

I think [I’ve played] almost all of them, except for one year. Obviously, it’s been nice to be asked back to play after all these years. It’s always a good time to be over there, with so many great musicians and artists that come through that festival over the years.

How long have you lived in Marfa?

I moved here in 2006. And it was kind of back and forth between Chicago and down to Austin in the early days — a little traveling around when I first moved here — but I was still playing music and things.

How has your music evolved during that time?

The way that I’ve always approached my music is, it just kind of always has continued to be a revolving cast of musicians and friends. It still basically goes like that, because there’s been a lot of people in and out of this town that play music and that I’ve played with, and they have their own musical projects. I feel like there’s more musicians around town now than ever before, so it’s nice. 

So I don’t know how I would say it’s evolved, really. It’s basically still just songs that I write on the guitar and then see when I play them with other people … I’ve always just been pretty open to what people can bring to the songs. I like that philosophy. It’s basically what I’ve been doing for a long time. 

I got this new record that’s releasing on Thursday that I recorded out in Nashville, with some people that my buddy Ryan Boyles met and befriended and was like, “Hey, you should come out here and get in the studio with some of these folks.” And so we went down there in April, at this studio called The Bomb Shelter in Nashville. We got some players in there who are musical geniuses in a lot of ways, in my opinion. I just kind of approached it in the same way: here’s the songs, like let’s see what we can turn them into. I think that the record turned out pretty good.

Are you going to be playing some songs from that new record at your Trans-Pecos set?

Yeah, I think we’ll get a chance to play four or five of the new ones, and a couple others.

How would you describe the new record?

I would describe it as a much bigger sounding record than I’ve ever put out on my own for sure. The last records that I’ve recorded have been kind of like, you know, recordings at practice-space kind of studios up in Chicago and recording down here at my old house over by the high school. And so it was nice to have a really great studio to be recording in and seeing what kind of sounds came out of that. It’s about what I call the bigness of the sound compared to what I’ve done before. And obviously playing with a lot of players who live out in Nashville and play every day and record every day, do that. There wasn’t a whole lot of learning curve or anything that anybody was having to deal with. You get into a studio down there and everyone knows exactly what they’re going to be doing pretty quickly. It’s definitely cool to record in that kind of setting.

How would you describe your musical style to someone who’s coming to your music for the first time?

The thing that I’ve always tried to use as the description of it is a very long word called country-grunge-folk-and-roll.

I figure that’s like the closest thing that I could still kind of make sense of what it is. Because they all start off as folk songs that I just write on my guitar, but then what they turn into is always some form of rock and roll, a little bit of a louder sound when you play with the band with drums and everything like that. 

We did the Infinite Hellscape Festival up in Fort Davis, and for that set of songs I’ve been playing with Anthony and Jimmy, we just use a Casio keyboard as the drum, like a drum machine. So it’s kind of like playing to a drum machine and not a live drum sound. That’s a sound that I’m kind of working with to do this next little record, probably. But we’ll see how that goes, but I have really liked that style of exploring the songs in a little bit more of a dancy way.

Your new record comes out Thursday, the day of your Trans-Pecos set. Where can people find it?

I think you can go buy it on Bandcamp right now. It’s gonna be for sale at The Marfa Book Company. And I’m probably going to take a few copies over to The B-Side. When I sent it all in for Spotify, and all the platforms, it was with a release date for September 29. So I think I got it in long ago enough that it will come out on like iTunes and Spotify and all that stuff on the 29th.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity. Ross Cashiola will play on Thursday at the Trans-Pecos Festival. Music starts at 6 p.m.

Photos by David Harding. An instant photo collection of Los Yonke Gallos and their biggest fans from recent seasons.

3-team baseball coming to Vizcaino This Saturday


MARFA — When the traditional yell of “play ball!” rings out around noon this Saturday at Vizcaino Park, signaling the start of another baseball game as part of the Trans-Pecos Festival, a possible footnote of “let chaos rein!” might as well be added. 

Marfa’s own Los Yonke Gallos will face off with not one, but two other teams. The San Antonio Los Tigres reached out hoping to play a Friday night game against Marfa’s home team — however, since it’s an event weekend, most of the local players would be working and others rebelled. In the spirit of accommodation familiar out here, Los Yonke Gallos offered to include the San Antonio team in the Saturday game already scheduled with the Austin All Stars. They accepted, and history waits to be made.

The possibilities for confusion are legion. The game will still be nine innings, there will be a winner, and each team will play two innings and sit out the next one. 

“In theory, the best team will win — that said without a grain of insight,” said player Michael Camacho.

The first, famous “tri-cornered” game called by sportswriter Dick Young in the New York Daily News “the wackiest diamond battle ever conceived” was played only weeks after the landings in Normandy, in 1944, at the Polo Grounds in Upper Manhattan, New York, as a fundraiser for WWII war bonds. The Brooklyn Dodgers, New York Giants, and New York Yankees — all with similar win/loss records — sold war bonds for tickets to 49,500 people. Five hundred injured veterans were given free admission. After bond sales, Mayor Fiorello La Guardia pledged another $50 million in bonds and another $1 million was donated to bring the total to $56 million raised, all for the war. All three teams had short-handed rosters as players were away participating in the war effort. 

The Dodgers shortstop, one of the youngest MLB players to hit the field, was 16 years old at the time. Not entirely unlike last July 4th when Shane Maxwell, 10 years old at the time, volunteered to take to the field for Los Yonke Gallos, answering the call to serve, so to speak, in the local sports world. 

Once the idea was hatched for the game in 1944, the organizers called in a mathematician who actually relied on his trusty slide rule to figure out and format the game, making sure each team had equal playing time. Luckily, that round robin approach has survived and does not have to be reinvented. With the basic tenets figured out, it’s time to take to the field and to the stands.

Michael Camacho — longtime player, sometime coach, and not this time the one “barking orders” — wonders about getting back up to play after sitting out an inning, if it will be a situation where “you kinda forget you’re playing baseball.” Oh the anticipation! The thrills! The chills!

The team will field longtime players Nick Bustillos, Jerram Rojo, Anthony DiSimone, Max Kabat, Nick Fazio and others, plus any that show up, even if they missed most of the practices. Zeke Raney and Mia Valentini are both on the injured list — however, Valentini may pinch run.

In the spirit of the best of sandlot baseball, never short on entertainment, this game scenario definitely bumps up the stakes and, as Camacho promises, there will be a “win in some fashion.”

‘The Magic Around Us’ workshop aims to show kids wonders of the Big Bend through art


MARFA — At this weekend’s Trans-Pecos Festival, local and visiting kids alike will have the opportunity to participate in “The Magic Around Us,” a workshop dedicated to exploring local wonders through artwork. The hour-long class will take place on Saturday morning, providing a space for youngsters and their families to start their weekends with thoughtful and creative exercises.

Sam Watts, a Marfa dad and educator, has honed his curriculum over the past three years. The workshop started as an enrichment activity for students at Marfa ISD and has grown beyond the classroom to include field trips and plein air artmaking. “I’ve been trying to get kids in the area to look at what is so unique about living in this place and then turn it into art,” he explained. 

Past workshops have encouraged students to look at the Big Bend region through the lens of local flora and fauna as well as its cultural and human history. “I know that the word ‘magic’ is one of those overused words to describe things,” Watts said. “I wanted to show people in this area that so much exists right around us, that you don’t have to travel to a big city to see incredible things.”

A few years ago, Watts invited representatives from the Jumano Nation in San Antonio to give educational talks on their culture. The Jumano Nation is one of the many Indigenous groups who call the Big Bend region home, and their visits to Marfa through Watts’ program have grown into regular Jumano appearances at regional cultural events. “It was beautiful to get to meet these people and see these stories come to life,” he explained. 

Watts has taken kids on field trips to see historical Indigenous art at rock shelters around the region, but has also been working hard to make present-day connections. “I’m trying to find and work with contemporary painters who are using their family’s tradition or their cultural traditions to make work,“ he explained. “One of the most important things I want to teach the kids is that they are the future of painting, and their work is in a long line of people making work.”

This weekend’s workshop will be more focused on the natural world — with the help of a few feathered guest stars. “I have some really beautiful taxidermied hawks and falcons and owls that were a part of my family — I really want to show the kids these birds of prey up close,” Watts said. Attendees will be encouraged to learn and talk about birds of prey in the Trans-Pecos, and then to make drawings of these fierce locals. 

The workshop is open to everyone, but Watts stressed that it was designed with kids in mind. “Adults are welcome to draw falcons too, but it’s really designed for the kids to have something to do at an adult festival,” he explained. “Last year, it was really beautiful to have something for the kids to do in the morning — to get their heads going and get some of their energy out.” 

The Trans-Pecos edition of “The Magic Around Us” will be held this Saturday, October 1, from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. For more information, email [email protected]. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased online

Becky Bullard and Charlie Bonner will lead an intro to activism workshop on Friday afternoon at the Trans-Pecos Festival. Photo courtesy of Becky Bullard.

Workshop from Austin-based activists invites festival-goers to ‘claim your power’


MARFA — This weekend Trans-Pecos Festival goers will have the opportunity to participate in “Claiming Your Power: Intro to Activism,” a workshop on civic engagement hosted by Becky Bullard, founder of Democrasexy, and voting rights activist Charlie Bonner. The crash course will take place from 1 to 2 p.m. on Friday and touch on political activism, its relation to arts and culture, and how citizens can take action on issues they care about in their own communities. 

Bullard, who became politically active in the wake of the 2016 election, is now on a mission to help empower others through political involvement. She co-hosted The Rabble, a Texas politics podcast, for a couple of years before founding Democrasexy, a pro-voting, pro-pleasure initiative, in 2021. She was inspired, in part, by activist Adrienne Maree Brown’s concept of “pleasure activism,” and got behind the idea that a sustainable civic engagement career centers around taking care of oneself. 

“It sounds counterintuitive at first to many people because the issues we are trying to make progress on are heavy — bodily autonomy for women and trans people, combating voter suppression especially of BIPOC [Black and Indigenous People of Color] communities, and righting institutional inequities of all kinds,” said Bullard. “But in order to sustain ourselves in the long game of change-making, it’s essential that we intentionally infuse joy and humor and pleasure.” 

Keeping in mind the upcoming Nov. 8 General Election, Friday’s workshop will cover how citizens can encourage friends and family to vote, what issues on the ballot will impact them, and what it’s like volunteering for a political candidate. How to stay involved during the upcoming January 2023 legislative session will also be touched on. Spooky-season themed fun will be sprinkled into the more practical how-tos, said Bullard, including a tarot reading for Texas and distribution of symbolic talismans of protection that double as voting organization tools.

Bullard said months leading up to elections are critical times for sharing information with friends and family and that research shows encouragement from one’s closest acquaintances is the most effective way to increase voter turnout. 

“When you can inform yourself on these offices, how they impact the issues you care about and where the candidates stand, you can become a trusted resource for other folks in your life,” said Bullard. 

The biggest misconception Bullard is working to overcome with the public regarding civic engagement is the idea that organizing change and being politically active has to be tedious and boring.

“I spent my entire life before 2017 not getting involved in politics because I thought it was a depressing space, and it certainly can be. But nothing gets better when too many of us sit on the sidelines,” said Bullard. “It’s crucial that we expand the population of people who feel invited to participate in our political system, and to do that we have to create spaces that feel good to be in.”

Bullard and Bonner will also be registering people to vote at the Los Yonke Gallos de Marfa baseball game at noon on Saturday at Vizcaino Park. 

“Claiming Your Power: Intro to Activism” workshop will be held from 1 to 2 p.m. Friday, September 30, at El Cosmico. The workshop is open to all Trans-Pecos Festival ticket holders. There is no cost to attend the workshop, but donations are encouraged and will go to Deeds Not Words

For more information or to register, visit

Listing of Trans-Pecos Workshops


Two-Step with Beth Coffey

Thursday, September 29  4 p.m. – 5 p.m.

Friday, September 30 from 11 a.m. – noon

Here’s your chance to learn the authentic Texas Two-Step. Native West Texan Beth Coffey will start with walking through the basics and then progress into some Urban Cowboy worthy moves! She has choreographed music videos, movies and dive bar dance parties. Beth knows how to work with all experience levels and allows room for laughs. No partner necessary.

Mezcal Three Ways

Thursday, September 29 from 4:30 – 6 p.m.

Friday, September 30 from 4:30 – 6 p.m.

Explore different ways to experience and appreciate mezcal. The session will begin with neat pours of different expressions of mezcal from Madre, looking into the unique flavor profiles different agaves bring to the spirit. Next, attendees will mix up a drink for a refreshing mezcal cocktail. To end the session, attendees will learn about mezcal tinctures and have a chance to make their own herbal blend of plant medicine.

Horseback Riding with Prude Ranch

Friday, September 30 from 7 – 10 a.m.

Friday, September 30 from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Saturday, October 1 from 7 – 10 a.m.

Saturday, October 1 from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Experience Far West Texas like the settlers did, by horseback! We’ll meet at the Highland House before setting off to the Fort Davis Mountains where you’ll take in the beauty of West Texas by the best means possible, on the back of a horse! The Prude Ranch trails wind through the mountains; cross over trickling streams, and will take you to breathtaking views. Horses are safe and well trained and very experienced in negotiating all the trails. We provide all the equipment + transportation to the ranch grounds that you’ll need to have an enjoyable and exciting experience. 

Never ridden a horse? That’s okay! The horses take excellent care of their riders and we look forward to giving you a great first experience. For safety reasons, we kindly ask for our riders to be older than six years, weigh no more than 220 pounds, and to please come dressed in jeans/pants and closed-toe shoes. All requirements are for the safety of both horse and rider. The trails are suitable for all levels of riders, but we often encounter brush, cactus,and other elements. The horseback experience will last for one hour with a 40-minute shuttle ride to and from the property. We recommend you bring water to this experience. 

Workout! with Erica Nix

Friday, September 30 from 9 – 9:45 a.m.

Saturday, October 1 from 9 – 9:45 a.m.

You’ll be sweatin’ to the ‘90s, Richard Simmons-style. This is not your typical aerobics class. This class is more raw, more colorful, and more ridiculous than any class you will have ever experienced. When you work out with Erica, you aren’t just working out your body, you are creating art — so get ready to dance your heart out. Wear clothing that’s good for movement with support where you need it. Oh, and feel free to wear your vintage aerobics-wear. No pressure though, because she prefers to be the best dressed.

Step Class with Monika Bernstein

Friday, September 30 from 9 – 9:45 a.m.

Saturday, October 1 from 9 – 9:45 a.m.

Get in shape old-school style! This 45-minute step aerobics class will strengthen and tone muscles, build your endurance, increase bone density and so much more, like sweating out those toxins from the night before. This is an all levels class, beginner to advanced. Modifications are offered for all levels and intensity preferences.

Mail Art with La Ropa Vintage

Friday, September 30 from 9 – 11 a.m. 

Mail Art is one of the most beautiful ways to connect with someone over land or sea. You don’t have to be an artist to send this type of mail, but receiving a message that has meaning and care is priceless. We will unplug and tap into our imagination to make (and send) a special piece of mail out of vintage paper, postcards, recycled images and objects. We will explore our creativity through paints, pens and poetry while being inspired by all of the desert delights of Marfa.

MDRN YOGA with Annie Parr

Friday, September 30 from 10 – 10:45 a.m.

MDRN YOGA is a dynamic vinyasa class set to an eclectic playlist of alternative rhythmic scores, R&B, rock and folk. This class bridges dancey yoga sequences with mind-body modalities and conditioning. All of the sequences are choreographed and clearly guided similar to a yoga class but with the personality of a dance class. Dancer or not, yogi or not, this is not a traditional dance or yoga class. It is for the athletic and artful minded individual that is looking to creatively expand their practice. This class will open up one’s approach to transitions, musicality and flow. Ultimately, MDRN YOGA enables a strong, and efficient body, stimulating grace and fun through motion to connect to your authentic self. Please BYO yoga mat.

Urban Hike with Ranger Ty

Friday, September 30 from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Join local outdoor guide and long distance hiker Tyler Priest on an easy 3-mile 2-hour urban hike. We’ll get a lay of the land and discover what gives Marfa an air of mystery and magic. Put on your walking shoes, grab your water bottle and meet Tyler at the main entrance near the small stage.

Magic Around Us with Sam Watts

Friday, September 30 from 10 – 11 a.m.

Saturday, October 1 from 11 a.m. –  noon

Explore the ancient history and present day beauty of the Chihuahuan Desert. In this family friendly workshop, we will create artworks and drawings to capture the magic around us here in West Texas. Ages 5 + welcome.

Big Bend’s Deep History with the Center for Big Bend Studies

Friday, September 30 from 11 a.m. – noon

Saturday, October 1 from 10 – 11 a.m.

Join Dr. Bryon Schroeder of the Center for Big Bend Studies and unearth the 13,000-year-old history of the Big Bend. This area contains a rich Indigenous record of adaptation to the changing Chihuahuan Desert. From establishing the earliest human presence to the first domesticated plant use, the center’s field work and research aims to reveal this deep history. This talk will cover the center’s most recent archaeological findings & their significance. There will also be opportunity to view artifacts recovered from sites in the Big Bend!

Golden Elixir: Fire Cider with Meetinghouse Arts

Friday, September 30 from 12 – 1 p.m. 

Learn about the history, health benefits, and make your own fermented, immune boosting fire cider tonic.

Water Marbling with Mercedez Rex

Friday, September 30 from 12 – 2 p.m.

In this workshop students will be introduced to the ancient art of water marbling, a centuries-old mono-printing process that involves floating pigments on the surface of specially treated water. Austin artist Mercedez Rex, will cover a brief history of the craft and guide participants through how to achieve specific patterns using various tools. Each participant will have their own marbling vat and time to practice learned techniques and color combinations on both paper and silk textiles.

Blind Wine Tasting

Friday, September 30 from 12 – 1 p.m.

Saturday, October 1 from 12 – 1 p.m.

Guided by the folks from Scribe Winery in Sonoma, California, and Shayne Bernier of Victory Wine Group, Texas. We will taste five wines blind and access qualitatively from cheapest to most expensive (ranging anywhere from $12-$120 per bottle). We will discuss varietal, region and price and reveal who amongst us has the most discerning palates.

Claiming Your Power: Intro to Activism

Friday, September 30 from 1 – 2 p.m.

Join us for a workshop on unlocking your power through civic engagement. Led by voting rights activist Charlie Bonner and Democrasexy founder Becky Bullard, this workshop will be an introduction to the wild world of political activism, how it intersects with art and culture, and how to take meaningful action on the issues that matter most to you and your community. In our democracy, there’s a role for everyone to claim their power!

100% of your ticket donation will go to Deeds Not Words. Creating today’s changemakers and tomorrow’s leaders by galvanizing the power and building the leadership of young people through organizing, policy-making, art, and voting.

Texas Sun: Cochineal Dying with Meetinghouse Arts

Friday, September 30 from 2 – 4 p.m.

Learn how to dye natural dye with cochineal, a Texas native pigment, using traditional shibori tie dye techniques.

Creating Patterns from Plants with Miranda Bennett

Friday, September 30 from 2 –3 p.m.

Miranda Bennett Studio (MBS) creates ethical and sustainable, zero waste apparel for everyday life – cut, plant dyed and sewn under one roof within Austin City Limits.

In this workshop, we will teach bundle dyeing: an intuitive, approachable and wildly satisfying plant dye technique. Bring a beginner’s mind and learn to create spontaneous patterns on fabric using non-toxic extracts and elements from plants. Each workshop participant will walk away with their own organic cotton T-shirt, grown and sewn in Texas (available in sizes S – XXXL), hand-dyed with their bespoke pattern. All attendees also will enjoy 15% off at the MBS booth on the day of the workshop, located in the retail circle of the festival.

Joint Rolling with Noah Rubin

Friday, September 30 from 4:20 – 6 p.m.

Noah Rubin, author of the new book, How We Roll: The Art and Culture of Joints, Blunts, and Spliffs, will guide participants on a journey to decode one of life’s great mysteries: how do you roll a perfect joint? In this interactive workshop, Rubin will share examples and excerpts from his book including an exploration of rolling traditions from around the world, detailed instructions for numerous rolling styles, as well as celebrity stoner insights, humorous anecdotes, and a group rolling class that will change your rolling game forever. Legal hemp and rolling paper will be provided by Dad Grass. Roll on!

Deconstructed Whiskey Tasting

Friday, September 30 from 5 – 6 p.m.

Saturday, October 1 from 5 – 6 p.m.

Dive into the power of the signature triple-casked process. We will take you on a flavour journey tasting whiskey from each of the three casks — Virgin, Seasoned, and Sherry — and only available to taste within this exclusive experience alongside Slane Irish Whiskey and its co-founder, Alex Conyngham. You just might also get to hear some stories from his family’s legendary concerts taking place on the front lawn of Slane Castle since 1981.

Yoga with Kate Waitzkin

Saturday, October 1 from 10 – 10:45 a.m.

Join Austin-based yoga + meditation instructor, Kate Waitzkin, for a dynamic yoga flow and guided meditation designed to cultivate a sense of renewal, vitality, and radiance – a sweet reset for the mind and body. Practice will be accompanied by live original sounds by LouLou from Thievery Corporation and Night Glitter.

All levels welcome. Please BYO yoga mat.

Clay Copita & Sotol Tasting with Marfa Spirit Co

Saturday, Oct 1 from 10 a.m. – noon

Join Marfa Spirit Co for a Sotol Tasting –– followed by a hand-formed clay copita workshop with Brooke Shepard of Clay Island Ceramics. We will taste through our Chihuahuan sotols, and discuss the history of this native plant –– as well as our relationship with Sotolero Jacobo Jacquez. Following the tasting we will work on hand formed clay copitas with our talented ceramist Brooke. Copitas will then be fired and glazed on your behalf, before being shipped to your home –– ready for you to sip some sotol on your return from Marfa.

Shift with Annie Parr

Saturday, October 1 from 11 – 11:45 a.m.

Drop in. Tune in. Let go. Shift is a vigorous movement practice set to an eclectic musical playlist. Shift explores layers of sensation through your body in motion. We will tune into the quality of movements, push physicality, and discover fresh movement pathways. The class, guided by Annie Parr, has a deep root in dance improvisation and somatic methods. Come as you are and wear what you are comfortable in. There is no dance experience required.

Lumber Club Marfa

Saturday, October 1 from 2 – 5 p.m.

Skip the year-long waitlist and learn from the pros! Lumber Club marfa is a group of girls ( + one boy ), ages seven to 14, who run a woodshop in Marfa, Texas. Supervised by artist Larry Bamburg, they don masks and goggles, taking turns on the machinery to craft three-legged stools out of walnut, mahogany and the like.

In this three-hour workshop, participants will learn the basics and build their own rustic version of a Lumber Club Marfa three-legged stool. Building includes cutting and rudimentary sanding the seat, threading the legs, assemblage, and stamping. Profits from the workshop will be donated to the 529 education accounts of each Lumber Club member and participants take home their stool!