Thomas Michael Riley's Music Festival 2018

The "Red Neck Riviera" camping area which is about 500 yards up a slight hill from the infamous Luckenbach was full on Thursday with RVs waiting for the music to start at Thomas Michael Riley's 11th Annual Music Festival. This was our 8th TMR (Thomas Michael Riley) festival and we've loved every one and we consider it to be one of the best country music festivals in Texas, and here's just a few of the reasons why:

  • the host (TMR) and hostess (Courtney Riley) are some of the most sincere, open, friendly, and fun people we know on the Texas music scene and they want to make sure that everyone enjoys their Festival
  • Luckenbach Dance Hallthe lineup is a good mix of Texas country singer/songwriters and it is always enjoyable
  • it's hard to beat a festival in historic Luckenbach and one of the coolest and oldest dance halls in Texas as well as a great outdoor stage under the oak trees
  • the fans are reflective of TMR's personality - fun, outgoing, lively, and out to enjoy some good times and good music - and he seems to know, or want to get to know them all
  • the beer is always cold, the camping is close to the stage, and the food is pretty good
  • dry camping is about 500 yards up a small hill from the dance hall

Thursday's Thomas Michael Riley's Sponsor Party

This year, to say thanks to all of the sponsors who help make this festival happen, TMR held a sponsor party at the pavilion next to the Cave Creek School which was built in 1881. Free beer, wine, soft drinks, and delicious chicken and fixins' from Chicken Express. Plus a table loaded with home made goodies ranging from fudge to cake to brownies and cupcakes. As we ate and drank, TMR and Max and Heather Stalling entertained us. What a beautiful and fun night. You might consider being a sponsor at the next festival, in addition to the sponsor party sponsors get free camping, cool TMR tee shirts, free tickets, plus a backstage sponsor area with free beer, wine and live music. There are several levels of sponsor's programs one of which includes a reserved table up close to the stage in the dance hall.

Max and Heather Stalling and Thomas Michael RileyMax & Heather StallingMax and Heather Stalling and Thomas Michael Riley

Thomas Michael Riley's Music Festival Lineup on Friday

Here is the line-up for Friday's music which started on Luckenbach's outdoor stage under the sprawling oak trees at 2:00 and then moved into the Luckenbach dance hall around six. As the band was getting set up for the music in the dance hall, sponsors were treated to free beer, wine and music by Doug Rose in the backstage sponsor area.

Doug Rose

Friday's Lineup at Thomas Michael Riley's Music Fest

Thomas Michael Riley

Thomas Michael Riley

Dave Thomas & Brett Watts

Dave Thomas and Brett Watts

Tommy Alverson

Thommy Alverson

Blacktop GYPSY

Blacktop GYPSY

Thomas Michael Riley

Thomas Michael Riley

Max Stalling

Max & Heather Stalling

Saturday's Lineup at Thomas Michael Riley's Music Festival

Saturday the music started at 12:00 on the outdoor stage and then moved into the dance hall around 7:00. Before the music started on the dance hall stage Travis Smith entertained us with his songs and mellow voice in the backstage sponsor area.

Travis Smith

Saturday's Lineup at Thomas Michael Riley's Music Fest

Steve Helms Band

Steve Helms Band

Forlini & Cross

Forlini and Cross

Chris Wall

Chris Wall

Davin James

Davin James

Jamie Richards

Jamie Richards

Thomas Michael Riley

Thomas Michael Riley

On Sunday, the vast majority of the fans were moving a tad bit slow - could it have been from too much drinkin' or dancin' or late night singin' around the campfire? Regardless the outdoor stage was packed with fans on Sunday waiting to hear Nathan Colt Young and another lively and fun set from TMR. What a great way to end another fantastic festival.

Nathan Colt YoungThomas Michael Riley

Fans of Thomas Michael Riley's Music Festival

As I mentioned part of what makes this one of the best Texas Festivals are the people who attend. The TMR attendees are an older fan base (average age around 45 or so) and an interesting mix of ranchers, business execs, retirees, and good ole music lovers plus a handful of dogs and kids. Seems like the majority of the fans know TMR personally as well lots of the other attendees - there is always lots of hugging, laughing, back slapping, and kissing as people reacquaint with friends they've met at other festivals. And at each of these festivals the fans seem to go out of their way to meet some new friends.

Fans of Thomas Michael RileyFans of Thomas Michael RileyFans of Thomas Michael Riley

It's an attentive and respectful group that loves dancing, drinking, and having fun. As TMR says "we've worked hard over the last few years to get rid of the a-holes and bad guys and now all we have left are lots of good folks!" And TMR want's to meet and make friends with all of them and if he isn't on stage he's usually mingling with the fans and getting to know some first time attendees. Click on the link to see more pictures of TMR's fans and the Festival.

Camping at Thomas Michael Riley's Music Festival

All of the campers who stay in Luckenbach during the Festival rally around Thomas Michael Riley's motorhome under a cluster of oaks in what is known as the "Redneck Riviera." During the morning before the music starts lots of TMR fans gather around his campsite to socialize and reminisce about last night's music and good times. After the music stops in Luckenbach, everyone is welcome to pull up a chair, pop a cold beer, and join (or just listen to) the pickin' and singin' - which usually goes on until 4 AM or so! And the music is outstanding and you'll typically find several of the performing artists in the circle - even Jamie Richards showed up around 2 AM.

Camping at Thomas Michael Riley's Music FestivalCamping at Thomas Michael Riley's Music FestivalCamping at Thomas Michael Riley's Music Festival

Luckenbach charges a small reasonable fee (it's free for sponsors - another good reason to be a sponsor) to dry camp on the grounds of Luckenbach - a short walk to the stage. There are some porta potties but no water or electric or dump station - although a honeypot truck did show up on Saturday for anyone who needed to dump. Bring a generator, it gets hot in June with no shade! Typically TMR contracts for a huge generator that you can pay to use if you don't want to use your generator. If you don't have a camper, consider renting one so you can party hardy and walk back to your camper. There are several other full hook-up RV parks within 5 miles and lots of cool options for cabins or a B&B or hotels if that's your preference. Check out our Fredericksburg Cabins & Cottages page to find one of our favorite cabins and you can use our map of Fredericksburg RV Parks to find a nearby RV park.

Luckenbach and Fredericksburg

Luckenbach beer saloon"Everybody's Somebody in Luckenbach" (population 3) and you can't say you're from Texas unless you've been to Luckenbach at least once. It's unique, cool, and home to music almost every day and some of the best have played in the dance hall - Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Jerry Jeff Walker, Gary P Nunn, Waylon Jennings, and more. Luckenbach is home to a unique general store with lots of t-shirts and souvenirs, a funky bar, a hat shop, a beer saloon, the famous dance hall, and a feed store with burgers, fries, nachos, dogs, and more.

Fredericksburg is 5 miles from Luckenbach and it's loaded with shops, bars, and restaurants and other fun things to see and do - see this Fredericksburg map. Unless you come early or stay after the festival you won't have a lot of time to explore but there are a few hours before the music starts to shop or explore or sample some wine at any of the over 25 wineries or the new brew pubs and distilleries popping up.

Bottom line - you need to add Thomas Michael Riley's Music Festival to your list of things to do next year - you won't regret it! Our thanks go out to TMR and Courtney, the staff, and all the volunteers who make this such a fun festival for all of us. See you next year.

thomas michael riley and courtney rileythomas michael riley thomas michael riley

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