Buckles and Bugs: First-ever Stephenville festival promises a good time for all ages

Empire-Tribune Staff

Stephenville's first-ever Buckles and Bugs Festival is set for 1-10 p.m. Saturday at the Birdsong Amphitheater in the City Park.

The event promises lots of good music, good food and a good time.

In addition to the live music, food trucks, vendors and Kids Zone, there will be a fundraising auction at 8:15 p.m. with all proceeds benefitting the planned all-inclusive playground at City Park. The project is expected to cost $400,000 and includes a pour-in-play surface, three separate playgrounds and a swing set. For more information on the park or to make a donation, visit www.stephenvilletx.gov/parks-leisure/page/all-inclusive-playground-city-park

Headlining the live music is Texas country musician and Amarillo native Aaron Watson. 

Also scheduled to perform are Stephenville's own Giovannie & The Hired Guns and country hitmaker Rick Trevino along with Jesse Raub Jr., Jon Stork, and Jeff Canada.

Live music

For the past 20 years, Aaron Watson has achieved success on his own terms, hand-building a career through songwriting, touring and more than a dozen self-released albums.

Texas country's Aaron Watson will headline the first-ever Buckles and Bugs Festival set for Saturday at the Birdsong Amphitheater in the City Park.

In 2019, he released "Red Bandana" whose 20 songs were hailed by The Boot as "a pure expression of his traditional country ethos,” according to information from Watson's website.

With a dozen additional records under his belt, Watson is exceeding major-label metrics while maintaining his independence, further galvanizing his "Texas country's reigning indie underdog" (Rolling Stone) brand.

Stephenville's own Giovannie and the Hired Guns are scheduled to perform Saturday at the city's first-ever Buckles and Bugs Festival in City Park.

In 2015, when Giovannie Yanez decided to put a band together, he wanted to form a band of brothers who could put on a high-energy show and deliver a sound that the Texas Country scene had never seen before. Now, Giovannie and the Hired Guns have done just that.

This group out of Stephenville has made a name for themselves in the Texas music scene, where they’re known for playing thrilling shows that will always keep you on your toes, according to information from festival website.

Lead guitarist Chance Bannister brings heavy-handed guitar licks, while rhythm guitarist Adam Urbanczyk keeps things interesting with energetic riffs. Alex Trejo on bass lays down the rhythm, and drummer Milton Toles plays a soulful beat that further adds to the group’s unique sound.

Rick Trevino followed his father’s lead into music. Rooted in Texan and Mexican tradition, the senior Trevino also loved 60s and 70s pop/rock, according to information from ricktrevino.com

Country music performer Rick Trevino has hit the mainstream country charts with “She Can’t Say I Didn’t Cry” and “Learning as You Go.” Trevino is scheduled to perform Saturday as the first-ever Buckles and Bugs Festival in Stephenville City Park.

After Columbia VP Steve Buckingham flew to Austin to hear the junior Trevino perform in 1991, the young performer signed with the label and began a run of successes that included a gold album and several No. 1/Top Ten singles, including “She Can’t Say I Didn’t Cry” and “Learning as You Go.”

Following up No. 1 single, “Good Times”, Jesse Raub Jr. released his latest single, "I'd Look Good On You", one of the stand-out tracks on "Real Simple Country".

Hailing from Magnolia, Jesse Raub Jr. scored his first No. 1 on Texas Radio in 2014 as a co-writer on Cody Johnson’s “Dance Her Home”.

Hailing from Magnolia, Raub scored his first No. 1 on Texas Radio in 2014 as a co-writer on Cody Johnson’s “Dance Her Home”. He has a string of six No. 1 recordings of his own in the Texas Regional Radio: 2017's No. 1 "She'll Put The Hurt On You"; 2018's No. 1 "Mistakes" and No. 1 "Sittin' Here"; 2019's No. 1 "Touch the Water"; and the 2020 No. 1 singles "Good Times" and "I'd Look Good On You".

Houston native Jon Stork has quickly made a name for himself with his rockytonk flare and soulful sound. Stork's style has been influenced by Texas-based artists such as Robert Earl Keen, Pat Green, Roger Creager and more, according to information from his website, jonstork.com

Houston native Jon Stork has been influenced by Texas-based artists such as Robert Earl Keen, Pat Green, Roger Creager and more. Stork is scheduled to perform Saturday at the first-ever Buckles and Bugs Festival at Stephenville City Park.

Stork recorded and released his debut album, "In Your Radio", in 2017, landing him among the top 10 artists on the iTunes country chart. Following the debut, the first standalone single, "Rodeo Blues" was released in December of that same year. Adding to the catalog in 2018, "One Night Stand" was released.

Native Texan Canada has said audience interaction is high on his list when it comes to live performances.

Jeff Canada is set to perform at Saturday's Buckles and Bugs Festival. Among Canada's are "Monsters", "Wasted Thing" and "Memories in a Shoebox."

While he prefers acts that put on high-energy live shows such as Pearl Jam, Better Than Ezra, Matchbox 20, Zac Brown Band, and Dave Matthews, Canada says he grew up listening to Hank Williams, Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash.

Some of Canada's songs include "Monsters", "Wasted Thing" and "Memories in a Shoebox."

Ticket information

Tickets for this first-time festival are $125 for VIP admission, which includes front-of-stage access, VIP tent access, complimentary BBQ, table seating, and a private bar with premium service.

General admission tickets are $25 in advance and $30 on the day of the show.

Tickets for children ages 12 and younger are $10 with those ages 3 and younger admitted for free.

This festival is rain or shine, so no tickets refunds will be issued.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit bucklesandbugsfest.com

Schedule of events

• 12:30-1:30 p.m.: Jeff Canada

• 2-3 p.m.: Jesse Raub Jr.

• 3:30-4:30 p.m.: Jon Stork

• 5-6 p.m.: Rick Trevino

• 6:30-7:45 p.m.: Giovannie & The Hired Guns

• 8:15-8:30 p.m.: Auction benefitting Stephenville's all-inclusive playground at City Park

• 8:30-10 p.m.: Aaron Watson

Additional information

• No coolers allowed

• No outside food or drinks allowed

• No weapons of any kind allowed

• Chairs and blankets are permitted but subject to being searched at the gate

• All bags are subject to being checked

• Do not leave children unattended in the Kids Zone.

• Enjoy yourself, but remember this is a family-oriented festival. If you are asked to leave you will not be refunded.

• Please clean up after yourself.

• You must have a VIP wristband to be in the VIP area. Children in the VIP area must have their own ticket.