Saturday, June 19

Houston Music & Arts Festival kicks off in Conroe

Dozens of people followed the beat to downtown Conroe on Saturday for the 2021 Houston Music & Arts Festival which has more live entertainment and family friendly activities scheduled for Sunday.

Bud Light Seltzer, GO TEXAN and Outlaw Nation presented the festival for the first time this weekend at Heritage Place Park with live music, 125 various vendors, 10 food trucks, fine art displays, fitness attractions, martial arts exhibitions, a classic car show, a custom motorcycle show, a School of Rock performance the Taste of Texas Food Garden, and ice cold beer under a clear blue sky.

The festival will continue Sunday at the park located at 500 Collins Street. It’s set to start at 11 a.m. Organizers will hold the event again next weekend at Independence Park in Pearland.

“It’s so wonderful to be outside. It’s open, we see kids running around, and the music is great — we’re having a ball,” Ann O’Dwyer, 66, of Montgomery, said with a laugh along with her friend sitting beside her.

When: Saturday and Sunday, March 27-28

Where: Independence Park, Pearland

How: for half-price tickets

“I mean look at those kids running around over there,” she continued. “It’s like we haven’t been free in so long. We haven’t heard live music in so long.”

Sunday’s Conroe eventgoers will have a chance to purchase from Alex’s Lemonade Stand to continue the late Alexandra Scott’s mission to find a cure for childhood cancer. Proceeds from the lemonade sales will go back toward the foundation and Houston area hospitals, Festival Operations Director Heather Altman said.

The event will also once again feature live concerts with about four performers throughout the day, including some national recording artists who have appeared on “The Voice” and “American Idol.”

Some of the artists over both weekends include Texas Hill, featuring Craig Wayne Boyd, Casey James, and Adam Wakefield from Nashville; along with Chad Cooke Band, of Spring; Mike Zito of Nederland; Newkings of Bartlesville, Oklahoma; Stone Senate, of Nashville; The Georgia Thunderbolts, of Rome, Georgia; Wilson Brothers Band, of Nashville; The Wilder Blue featuring Zane Williams, of Dallas; Rose Short, of Killeen; Anders Drerup, of Canada; Jeremiah Johnson, of Saint Louis; Jason Eady & Courtney Patton, of Fort Worth; and Curtis Grimes, of Austin.

Altman described the turnout in Conroe on Saturday as “promising.” She anticipated at least 15,000 people throughout the day and hopes to grow the event when it returns in the future. The event can expand down the street to host up to 300 vendors, she shared.

“It takes us six months to plan these events, so we just did it,” Altman said. “We said, ‘Everybody, these artists, these musicians, these food trucks and trailers, they all suffered through the pandemic,’ and we said, ‘it’s time to try again’ so we just went for it.

“Fortunately for us, the governor raised some of the restrictions right before the event, and it has helped tremendously,” she added.

Sam Rayburn-based Bobby’s Smokehouse food truck owner Bobby Williams said the food truck felt the impact of the pandemic, especially when the state shut down, which hurt business for almost a year. Event cancellations, including the 2021 Mardis Gras of Southeast Texas celebration, has also made it more challenging, he said.

But he has noticed business start to pick back up, including with crawfish boils. He said festivals like the one in Conroe and the upcoming event in Pearland help the vendors.

“I think this is a very good family event. It’s very inexpensive to get in, the music, the shows,” Williams said. “I think COVID has helped us come back outside and not stay inside, and this is an event that is very attractive, I think.”

“It helps because we make a living like this,” he continued. “These events I welcome …”

As far as COVID-19 and mask policies, Altman said the event asks attendees to be respectful of others, follow guidelines for washing hands, sanitizing and social distancing.

While most of the attendees were not wearing masks, some were, including Conroe resident Juan Sarchet, 55, who walked to the festival and said he was not sure what to expect.

“I don’t know why, in Conroe, no pandemic,” Sarchet said, noting he was not concerned. “I come here because I don’t want to stay home because I have no TV. I think it is a good idea.”

Christie Jones, 44, of Spring, joined her family for the last day of spring break. She shared some family members were still anxious and wore masks, but they felt comfortable attending the outdoor event because social distancing was possible.

“It was excellent,” Jones said. “It’s actually a really nice outdoor, family-oriented event. Lots of food truck options, lots of vendors. It’s nice to get out for some time after being stuck in the house with COVID going on.”

The festival, which hosted shows for a year across the country before the pandemic, will return to Conroe on Nov. 6-7.

“Conroe had contacted us for several months, and we took a look at the park, and it’s just beautiful here. It’s a perfect venue for our event,” Altman said. “We work with a lot of great cities, but Conroe is very helpful getting us set up and all the way through the process. Anything we had on site today they came and sent someone out. You can’t ask for better.”

Tickets are $10-15, except for children under the age of 12, who are always free. To purchase tickets at half of the price, visit For vendor information, email:

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