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Big John Mills' annual birthday bash and fundraiser is this weekend at Buck's Backyard in Buda. Photo courtesy of  BIGFest

BIGFest 2018: Same festival, new venue

Now in its 12th year, BIGFest 2018 will be held for the first time outside of its normal digs at Cheatham Street Warehouse in San Marcos.

For the past decade, BIGFest, the annual fundraiser and Big John Mills' birthday celebration, has been traditionally held at Cheatham Street Warehouse; but this weekend the party will take place at family-friendly Buck's Backyard, FM 1626 near Buda. 

BIGfest presents approximately 100 singer-songwriters and bands, over three days, including Big John Mills, Doctor G and the Mudcats, Walt and Tina Wilkins, The Emily Herring Trio, Mike and the Moonpies, Shelley King, Great American Boxcar Chorus, Chubby Knuckle Choir, HalleyAnna Finlay, Sterling Finlay, Bill Whitbeck, Big John Mills and the Texas Road Dawgs, Chris Hall, George Ensle and Drew Moreland and Neon Hustle. Performers from the Young Writers Workshop and the Soldiers Songs and Voices project will also be performing over the weekend.

Soldiers Songs and Voices, a veterans music project hosted by Cheatham Street Warehouse, San Marcos, will be represented in a two-hour showcase on Saturday, June 30, starting at 7 p.m. Soldier Songs and Voices, founded by Dustin Welch, is a nationwide 501(c)3 nonprofit community-based outreach program, currently offering workshops in seven American cities: San Marcos, Bastrop and La Grange, Texas; Sarasota Florida; Portland, Oregon, and in Santa Fe and Taos, New Mexico. The project provides veterans and their families with free instruments and songwriting workshops as a form of post-conflict care. 

HalleyAnna Finlay, an annual performer at BIGFest, carries on the legacy of her father Kent Finley, the founder of Cheatham Street Warehouse. Photo by Christopher Paul Cardoza

The Cheatham Street Warehouse Soldier Songs and Voices workshop is led by Dustin Welch and Mark Jungers every Monday from 5-7 p.m. For more information about Soldiers Song and Voices, go to

Live performances by Young Songwriters will be part of the BIGFest 2018 lineup on Saturday, June 30 at Buck’s Backyard. This is the culmination of a week of informal workshops covering various aspects of songwriting and performance. The Young Songwriters Workshop is being held Monday through Friday, June 25-29, from noon to 3 p.m., at Buck’s Backyard. YSW Camp tuition is $250 per songwriter or $225 per sibling. The workshop fee includes a T-shirt, notebook and daily workshop interaction with established Texas songwriters, including Dustin Welch, HalleyAnna, Sean Makra, Sami Serrano, David Beck and Manzy Lowry among others. For more information or to register visit or call Jason Woolery at 512-644-1786.

Admission into BIGFest is by voluntary donation and all proceeds will go to San Marcos' School Fuel program, which provides food for over 700 young children who might otherwise go hungry. For more information about BIGFest go to the website or their Facebook page

Friday, June 29

  • 6 p.m. - Charlie Weyler, Chris Edwards & David Harris
  • 7 p.m. - David Beck, Dan Crump & Frank Iarossi
  • 8 p.m. - Jason Allen, Dennis Jay & Andy Bradt
  • 9 p.m. - Ronny Corbin, George Ensle & John Evans
  • 10 p.m. - Roadside Libby
  • 11 p.m. - Doctor G & the Mudcats
  • 12 p.m. - Brother Roscoe
  • 1 a.m. - Drive on MaK

Saturday, June 30

  • 11 a.m. - Young Songwriters Workshop Showcase
  • 1 p.m. - Aaron Allen, Tony Wilson & Missoula Slim
  • 2 p.m. - Robert Cannon, Sam Watson & Floyd Tolston
  • 3 p.m. - Walt & Tina Wilkins
  • 4 p.m. - Emily Herring Trio
  • 5 p.m. - Jason Woolery, Bill McNeal & Steven Finlay
  • 6 p.m. - Debbie Glenn, Dale Phillips & Austin Mayse
  • 7 p.m. - Soldier Songs & Voices
  • 9 p.m. - HalleyAnna Finlay and Dustin Welch
  • 9:40 p.m. - Shad Blair, Bill Whitbeck, Mark Jungers & Woody Russell
  • 11 p.m. - Drew Moreland & Neon Hustle
  • 12 a.m. - Mike & the Moonpies

Sunday, July 1

  • 10 a.m. - BIGfest Church, featuring Big John Mills & Jay White
  • 12 p.m. - Todd Dorn, Cody Kouba & Chris Lancaster
  • 1 p.m. - Sterling Finlay, Amado Gonzales & Eric Sarmiento
  • 2 p.m. - April Hall, Kathy Bauer & Jay White
  • 3 p.m. - Big John Mills & the Texas Road Dawgs
  • 4 p.m. - Mike Ethan Messick, Doctor G & Dub Miller
  • 5 p.m. - Chris Wall & Mark Stuart
  • 6 p.m. - Shelley King, Frank Martin Gilligan & John Arthur Martinez
  • 7 p.m. - Nate Guthrie, Joel Hofmann & Julie Nolen
  • 8 p.m. - Bone Pilots
  • 9 p.m. - Great American Boxcar Chorus
  • 10 p.m. - Chubby Knuckle Choir

San Marcos Record

(512) 392-2458
P.O. Box 1109, San Marcos, TX 78666