Now in its twentieth year, Wade Bowen's annual Bowen MusicFest is receiving a serious upgrade this summer, with a new location and an expanded, genre-jumping lineup.
This year's festival moves to Touchdown Alley, an outdoor area next to Baylor University's mammoth McClane Stadium in Waco, Texas. A Waco native whose songwriting blurs the lines between Red Dirt roots music, blues, Texas country and roadhouse rock & roll, Bowen has assembled a similarly diverse lineup for the day-long concert on June 3rd. As usual, the roster of talent includes a heavy dose of fellow Lone Star statesmen, although it doesn't limit itself to Texans or country singers. Classic rock act REO Speedwagon will share the festival's top billing alongside Midland, while Ray Wylie Hubbard, Jason Eady, Joe Nichols, Josh Abbott and Aaron Watson will also perform individual sets. Meanwhile, a handful of fellow songwriters — including Randy Rogers, Cody Canada, Kevin Fowler and Suzy Bogguss — will share the stage with the festival's founder during a show-closing "Wade Bowen and Friends Jam."
Launched in 1998, Bowen MusicFest has donated more than $2.5 million in profits to various Waco-based charities during its two-decade run, with $500,000 being raised during last year's concert alone. The festival's rise is prominence mirrors the arc of Bowen's career, moving from "best-kept secret in Texas" status to a nationally recognized event.