Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Kilgore's Porch Fest attracts fans of all music genres

By Clare McCarthy
May 13, 2017 at 10:47 p.m.

Cole Allen performs  Saturday at Porch Fest in Kilgore.

KILGORE — The second annual Porch Fest attracted blues, country and rock fans alike Saturday to the Back Porch restaurant in Kilgore.

About 17 East Texas musical acts played throughout the day, including the Ally Venable Band, Teazur and Johnny and the Nightcrawlers.

Bob Florence of Kilgore said he specifically attended the event so he could hear blues musician Bobby Oliver of Marshall play on the acoustic stage.

"He's an authentic blues guy," Florence said. "I've been listening to blues since the '50s, and I know my music. I like them — they're the real deal, they're not people that just think they know what blues is. They really know."

Eva Oliver, the manager for Bobby Oliver and the Mojos, said the festival was the perfect opportunity for getting the band's name out into the community.

"I think it's just a wonderful venue to get that exposure and rehearsal," Oliver said. "And you need to share the blues with somebody."

Kadie Lynn Roberson, the 2016 "America's Got Talent" sweetheart, performed Saturday with her new band, Kadie Lynn and the Foundation.

"I perform at a lot of festivals but this is definitely by far one of my favorites," Roberson said. "You're out here, and there's just so much support."

Roberson said she played the festival last year, and she was excited to be performing on the main stage with her new band.

"It's just so much fun," Roberson said. "There's not just country bands; there's rock bands, there's blues bands, there's everything. And everything is so different. It basically appeals to everyone. It's just a great festival, and I'll definitely continue coming here."

Jackie Clayton, owner of the Back Porch, said he wanted to create an environment where people could get out and have fun with their friends and families. But he also believed it would be a good way to bring musicians together, he said.

"They're always playing here on different nights, but they never get to hear each other play. So it's just a good way to get a bunch of musicians together," Clayton said.

The festival featured almost two dozen vendors, a children's activity area and a magician performing tricks.

Katie Smith, who sells LulaRoe clothing items, said she thought the day would be pretty successful since music festivals are good for attracting a variety of people.

"I'm expecting a good turnout," she said. "I've got high hopes."

Larry Dillard of Kilgore was attending the festival to see his 13-year-old grandson, Reece Malone of Longview, play lead guitar with the band Salvation from Sundown. Dillard said he enjoys Porch Fest because it's continuing a Kilgore tradition.

"Back in the '60's, we used to go to the teenage club down on the corner called Fat City. It was the No. 1 teen club in the United States; big bands came in here," he said.

"But music kind of died out except for some small local bands playing, and now this is kind of rekindling it and bringing music back into Kilgore, which is needed badly."

Clayton said he plans to continue the festival on the second weekend of May.

"I love music, and I've got a good music venue," Clayton said. "And people love live music."



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