Thursday, August 25, 2011

Small town boosterism returns value on Main Street

Clifton merchants organize indie music festival

Clifton – Situated on the Santa Fe, this gilded-age town of Victorian storefronts hasn't changed much – until recently.

A wide-awake mercantile community, the Chamber of Commerce and Mayor Fred Volcansek, a civic-minded leader with Washington seasoning in his resume as a deputy undersecretary of trade, have fixed the broken windows, spruced up the cattle town and its old-time image as a shipping point for steers and feeder calves headed for the pastures and stockyards, and turned lemons into lemonade.

Busloads of people out to sample the world-renowned paintings of cowboy artists and sculptors, visitors to the local museum keen to see the fossilized remains of “Sam,” North America's oldest human, at the Horn Site exhibit, and visitors to the Tin Theater and the historic Cliftex have joined the deer hunters and antique shoppers, wine connoisseurs eager to sample some of the new Texas vintages popping up in the Hill Country, and day trippers looking to get out of the city for a quiet weekend at a bed and breakfast.

Come the weekend of September 24, they will get a taste of an independent music producers' festival with four stages, multiple interview areas, live video streaming, and dozens of bands.

The sales manager of Gloff Ford and his boss cooked up the project, sold it to the local merchants, and have attracted independent musical acts from around Texas and many states. You can read all about it at

Duke Machado has been producing musical projects for a number of years. Lately, he looked at the cost of a DWI, the price of gasoline, and the faltering economy, and realized that the market for night clubbing and bar hopping has taken a beating – and it shows in record sales and concert tickets. Somehow, people out for a good time and the kind of music they crave after a hard week on the job would be better off staying at home to party.

Bands and their management can benefit from Hitmusiclink through merchandising services, book keeping, and on-line ratings of the latest hits recorded by his clients.

Hence, his newest project, the Virtual Venue, in which viewers can visit the multiple sites of a festival over their computers' internet hook-up, watch video, order CD's and tapes, buy tickets, t-shirts and posters, and check their favorite bands' schedule. Still in the planning stages, the project is all part of the music festival planned for the weekend of September 24.

In a depression-era drugstore, Deborah Crockett has parlayed a red hot location into the place for cappucino, soup and sandwiches for locals, tourists, art shoppers and entire busloads of people who come to town for all the above. Somethin's Brewing may be found on its Facebook page, and there is a “Pickers' Corner” every Thursday at 7 p.m. for local guitarists and singer-songwriters. Her shop is on the corner of Ave. D and F.M. 317, right across the street from the Cliftex and a half a block from the Santa Fe tracks.

The Legendary caught Guy Taylor, Lee Stanley and Marvin Christy picking some tunes that represent both kinds of music – country, and western, this past Thursday.

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