Texas Lakes Trail Region

Participant in the Texas Historical Commission's
Texas Heritage Trails Program

Athens: Texas Swing and Heritage Festival

October 19, 2013 - 10:00am to 10:00pm
Texas Swing & Heritage Festival Oct. 19 in Athens

Robyn Ludwick, Deadman, Elizabeth McQueen and many other performers will grace three stages during the 12-hour festival, which also features the Austin Blues Society's Heart of Texas Blues Challenge (East Texas division), the Swing Chick fiddle contest, a swing-dancing contest, a barbecue cook-off and more. Late Texas honky-tonk legend Al Dexter will be honored with a presentation by Dr. Gary Hartman, director of the Center for Texas Music History at Texas State University.

Admission is $35; VIP tickets are $150 and includes access to a special festival lounge with open bar (noon to 10 p.m.), food from the Railway Cafe and exclusive performances. Tickets are available online at or by calling 903.677.4247.

Other performers include Bordertown Bootleggers, Lone Star Swing, JT Coldfire and Shoot Low Sheriff, with more to be announced, including entrants in the Heart of Texas Blues Challenge. The winner of this regional preliminary for the Blues Foundation International Blues Challenge, held annually in Memphis, will receive an expenses-paid trip to compete in the Austin Blues Society Heart of Texas finals in Austin. The final winner will compete in Memphis.

"Our festival is built on the idea of bringing people together, and one of the ways we're doing that is through good old-fashioned competition," says festival director Michael Lenz. "We're just updating ours a bit."

But celebrating heritage is equally important, which is why the festival also is paying homage to musical legend Al Dexter. Dexter co-wrote and recorded Honky Tonk Blues, the first song to use that term, in 1936. Born in Jacksonville, Texas (conflicting reports list the year as 1902 and 1905; he died in 1984), Clarence Albert Poindexter also ran his own honky-tonk, the Roundup Club, in Turnertown, and in 1943, recorded his biggest hit, Pistol Packin Mama. The first country singer to perform on Broadway, he was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1971 and the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame in 2010.

About the Texas Swing & Heritage Festival: Formed in 2011, the Texas Swing & Heritage Festival is committed to celebrating and promoting Texas musicians, artists and cultural heritage, and strives to become the premier festival showcasing unique and emerging Texas music and arts. Held in Athens, Texas, the festival combines music, educational workshops, blues and barbecue competitions and other forms of creative expression in a family-friendly format.


  • Cain Center
  • 915 S. Palestine
  • Athens, Texas
  • 75751



  • General Admission $35; VIP $150

Map of Event