There’s no shortage of dynamic music festivals in Texas, but Viva Big Bend stands out among them. This festival, which showcases the vibrant music scene of the Big Bend region, provides an intimate and authentic music experience that is unmatched. Alpine, Texas, happens to sit in the middle of it all, hosting attendees in multiple distinct venues around town and serving as a great home base for those road-tripping the region to hit various music scenes.
This year, the 12th annual festival that has won Best Music Festival for a small market in the Texas Travel Awards for three consecutive years falls on July 26-30. It includes over 65 performances showcasing a variety of music genres, such as rock, country, Tejano, blues and folk, in more than a dozen venues scattered around Alpine and neighboring towns like Marfa, Marathon, Terlingua, Presidio, and Fort Davis.
Unlike other festivals that are confined to a single location, the decentralized layout of Viva Big Bend allows visitors to experience the unique essence of each city and venue. Alpine’s venues range from bars and restaurants to hotels and retail shops, but they all highlight Alpine’s rich history and robust music and creative scene that runs deep in the town’s identity.
Bill Pucci, the banjo player, lead singer and songwriter for the Austin-based country-rock band Sour Bridges, has performed at Viva Big Bend six times, and returns this year for another epic weekend in the desert. Railroad Blues, a funky Alpine live music, beer and wine joint, is a memorable spot for him. “It’s a fan favorite,” Pucci says. “It’s a night-time hot spot in Alpine. They stack the lineup, and that makes it pretty hard to leave. It’s a big space with floor boards for dancing and that old honky-tonk vibe. The outdoor patio is big and great for some fresh air in between bands.”
While there are a handful of other bar and restaurant venue options for those who want to savor a good brew or bite during a show, such as Alpine’s Spicewood Restaurant at Quarter Circle 7 and Old Gringo Coffee & Cocktails, Alpine also provides many family-friendly and free options during Viva Big Bend for music enthusiasts of all ages. There are children’s shows at the Alpine Visitor’s Center, daytime shows at the Holland Hotel’s courtyard and a BBQ and tailgate party hosted by BBT on Murphy Street in Alpine’s historic district.
The historic Granada Theatre, one of the largest venues at the festival, is also located in Alpine, while Out West Feed & Supply helps maintain a strong connection to the region’s local culture and encourages people to embrace the West Texas vibe at its free shows on the back patio loading area.
When the tunes die down, the good times don’t end in Alpine. There are events held year-round that promote the proud culture of this West Texas town. Fiesta 1888, a free concert featuring Tejano legend Augustín Ramirez (“La Ley de Tejas”) is scheduled for August, The Big Bend Ranch and Sul Ross State University rodeos take place in August and September, Artwalk (a two-time Texas Travel Awards winner) fills Alpine’s streets in November, and the Spirits of the West Wine & Beef Fest (another Texas Travel Award winner) happens in April.
This article was produced by Texas Music’s content studio as part of a paid partnership with Visit Alpine, Texas.