POSTED: Friday, February 17, 2012 - 7:28pm
UPDATED: Monday, February 20, 2012 - 4:34pm
EL PASO - El Paso, Texas…many who have never been to the city, immediately picture desert, ranches, and tumbleweeds. One local, who's traveled the world touring with his band, Sparta, can confirm such a mindset.
"Oh you're from El Paso, do you ride a horse to school, or, do you have an airport…these people think we're in the middle of nowhere and there's nothing here," said vocalist/guitarist Jim Ward of Sparta.
On the contrary, the city has much to offer, and there's one grassroots collective that's really starting to put El Paso on the map. They’ve worked to add to the city’s brewing culture with the Neon Desert Music Festival, a full day event happening annually downtown.
"We're trying to create an event that people can be proud of, and the people can feel that it's their own, and at the same time, try to bring in people from outside of El Paso," said Executive Producer Zach Paul.
For the second year in a row, there's a buzz of suspense and excitement in the city and surrounding states about the festival, especially now with the first release of the lineup. With nearly 30 bands, and four major stages, festival junkies will be flocking to see headliners like Moby, Ghostland Observatory, Sparta and many more.
The festival will dance largely around live music and painting, but can be considered a family outing.
"We want this to be family friendly, we want people that have young kids to feel comfortable bringing young kids,” Paul said. “It’s definitely a festival that welcomes all ages."
Last year, almost 11,000 people set the standard for what El Paso can represent when it comes to music and art. Come Memorial Day weekend, organizers expect 15 thousand festival-goers.
"We're not a shallow city-it's a deep town," Ward said.
Festival organizers are still planning to add a second phase to the lineup in coming weeks.
The festival will be held Saturday, May 26 in downtown El Paso. Tickets can be purchased at neondesertmusicfestival.com and are currently selling for $55-$150.
(Footage provided by YouTube and Beard of Zeus Productions.)