Marfa Light’s Festival

Contributed by Sarah Vasquez

of The Big Bend Sentinal

Tejano singer and accordionist Michael Salgado returns to headline the 30th annual Marfa Lights Festival during Labor Day weekend. This year’s festival, hosted by the Marfa Chamber of Commerce is September 2 – 4.

Salgado was the headline entertainer for the Marfa Lights Festival several years ago. He will play from 10pm to midnight on Saturday, September 3. Rising Texas country artist Cameran Nelson is set to play from 10pm to midnight at the Friday night street dance.

There’s plenty more entertainment throughout the weekend, including Juan T. Martinez y Grupo Alturas from Marfa, the Resonators, FullyMaxxed and Mariachi Santa Cruz from Presidio.

The Last Call featuring Big Bend Sentinel cartoonist Gary Oliver and duo Primo Carrasco and David Beebe from Marfa will close out the weekend on Sunday afternoon.

Salgado, who now calls San Antonio home, was born in Barrancas, Chihuahua, Mexico. He gained prominence in the mid-1990s by looking back to the Norteño sound influenced by Ramon Ayala, but updating the genre for the younger generation.

He began climbing the Latin American music charts in 1995 after releasing his single “Cruz de Madera.” Salgado’s 1996 album, “En Concierto” introduced his most successful single, “Sin Ella,” which reached the top 20 of the Latin American music charts.

Nelson’s music is defined as fusing Texas country grit with down-home rock and roll. The Lone Star State native from Haskell now makes his home in Blanco.

He’s been making music since he was 13 in his father’s country band and once sold merchandise for the late, great Gary Stewart, where he learned how the “King of Honky Tonk” entertained crowds. The calling for music took him to the West Texas plains to pursue an education in music at South Plains College in Levelland, where he studied vocals and guitar.

Nelson released his first full-length album in 2013, “Happy to Beer” and was nominated for three Texas Music Awards: Male Vocalist, Rising Star, and Record of the Year.

The festival will take place at the Presidio County Courthouse, and all the entertainment is free.

This year’s t-shirts are available for purchase at Engraving & More and the Marfa ISD superintendent’s office. The shirt was designed by Omar Mediano, his third MLF tee shirt creation, and no contest was held this year for the design. It has printing on the front and the back and was designed to celebrate the 30th year of the festival.

There are limited numbers of shirts and cost is $20 plus $1.60 sales tax. Last year’s shirts are still available for $15.

In addition, the Marfa Shorthorns will host the Sanderson Eagles in football action at Martin Field the evening of Friday, September 2.

There will be a Saturday morning parade, and the chamber directors are looking to bring back the Fun Run and are heavily considering a nighttime parade.

There is still time to sign up for a booth at the festival. Applications are available online and the late fee will be waived.

This year’s sponsors are Marfa Visitors Center, Texas Lottery, Hotel Saint George, Marfa National Bank, Engraving and More, Mando’s Restaurant and Printco from Alpine.

The Chamber of Commerce is currently looking for more sponsors. If you or your business would like to sponsor the Marfa Lights Festival, contact Andy Peters at Marfa ISD, or Belinda Dominguez. Sponsorships are available for as low as $100.

Information on the parades, sponsorships and vendor applications are available on the chamber website, www.marfachamber.org.