Wildflower Festival Weekend -May 2011
Every year for the last 19 years, the City of Richardson has sponsored the Wildflower Arts & Music Festival around the middle of May and it is clearly one of the best music festivals in Texas. This three day festival takes place on the streets and sidewalks of Galatyn Park, the heart of Richardson's telecom corridor. Over the three days you'll have to choose which of the over 80 bands and singer songwriters you want to hear, decide on which food vendor will satisfy your food craving, and allocate your spending budget between several arts and crafts vendors.
Wildflower Festival is one of our favorites because of the quality and variety of music that you can hear over the three days - there is everything from mellow folk music to reggae, blues, oldies, rock, country, and more! There is so much good music and so many choices, it's frustrating to have to make choices each hour on who you want to hear, knowing that you're probably missing a another good choice.
The music plays continuously from around 11 AM to after 11 PM on five different stages. The Viewpoint Bank Stage is the main stage and it's huge with a great sound system and two gigantic jumbo trons. The seating is on a large terraced grassy area with a downhill stage, which means there isn't a bad seat in the house - bring your blankets and lawn chairs.
Acoustics are great on the Viewpoint Bank Stage and you'll have easy access to beer and food vendors. Some of the headliners on this stage included: BeBe Le Strange with a tribute to Heart, Jerry Lee Lewis, The Guess Who, The Little River Band, REO Speedwagon, Roger Creager, and Jack Ingram.
The Bud Light Stage and the metroPCS Stage are set up at the end of a couple different streets and both are much smaller than the Viewpoint Back Stage, which makes it easy to get up close to the stage and to dance in the street. .
The metroPCS Stage is the biggest of the stages and it seems geared toward more rock music and a younger crowd. Some of the bands playing at the metroPCS Stage included: Lit, Fuel, Battle of the Bands finals, Cracker, Sister Hazel, Better Than Ezra, Seventy-Six, and Whitesnake.
The Bud Light Stage is small with more laid back and mellow music from a variety of musicians. There are several tables and chairs set up on the street and the crowds are smaller. This stage was home to the 5th Annual Wildflower Street Dance, A Hard Day's Night (great Beatles band), The O's, Chatham Street, Heather McCready & Band, Rotel & the Hot Tomatoes, and Dallas Songwriters Association Open Mic.
The Hill Performance Hall at the fantastic performing arts Eisemann Center is open year round and is home to a wide variety of broadway type performances, live music, plays, and more. During the 2011 Wildflower Festival Night Fever played a Tribute to The Bee Gees twice each day.. Wow, they are fantastic and it's hard to distinguish them from the real Bee Gees. They had us dancing in the aisles. If you like the Bee Gees you should check these guys ok.
The other stage within the Eisemann Center is small and more intimate - it has theater seating, a bar station, and tables and chairs in front of the stage. This stage is home to singer songwriters and the finalists from the Songwriters Contest as well as the Budding Talent Vocal Competition. You'll see and hear some unbelievable talent here and I could have spent all of my time at this stage. Every artist I heard was excellent, you could hear a pin drop when the music starts, you can order cold bottled beer, the seats are comfy, and the air conditioning was fantastic on a hot day - can't get much better than that. Some of the musicians from around the US included: Sara Hickman (reigning Official State Musician of Texas), Ellis Paul, Joe Ely, Pierce Pettis, The New Agrarians, Beth Wood, Butch Morgan, Albert and Gage, Billy Crockett, and lots more very talented singer songwriters. .
All the stages are within 500 yards of each other and each stage has easy access to the beer and wine, food, and arts and crafts vendors. There are several options for some fairly tasty food - you'll find Philly Cheese Steak sandwiches, hot wings from Hooters, burgers and dogs, some ethnic noodles, Freebirds infamous burritos, satay chicken or pork, Sonny Bryan's BBQ, fajitas and nachos, ice cream, and lots more.
The Market Place at the Wildflower Festival is where you'll find a range of things to spend money on - from art and decor for the home and garden to jewelry and fashion to home improvement and other services
In addition to all of that there are:
- a varsity of performances each day by street artists playing music, tumbling, dancing, jumping rope, and more
- the Game Havens Game Zone which has free play and tournaments featuring Marvel vs Gapcom 3, Call of Duty Zombies, NBA 2K11, Brawl, Smash Bros, Kinect Dance Central, and other popular games for Xbox 360, Kinect, and Wii which are played on giant 60" flat screens
- Kidz Korner where kids can perform on the Rock Star Karaoke Stage, hop around in a bounce house, play in the Kidz Sand Pit, make a bead bracelet, get their face painted, climb the rock wall, or visit the petting zoo
- live Butterfly Habitat that featured over 150 native butterflies and a display of the monarch butterfly metamorphosis from egg to larva to chrysalis to adult
- Art Guitar Auction where plain guitars that have been turned into works of art are entered into a silent auction
Whoever picks the artists to perform should be commended - they are some of the best from around Texas and the United States. And each of the stages seems geared to specific audiences and music tastes - for example the smaller Eisemann Center stage is all acoustic singer songwriters with a focus on folk and Americana music, the Bud Light Stage has rock music and seems to attract the younger crowd, the Viewpoint Bank Stage had a mix of Texas country and lots of oldies like Jerry Lee Lewis.
A great event - add it to your calendars for next May.