Music festivals and San Antonio are just made for each other. They’re one of those combinations that fit together seamlessly, like chips and queso or Big Red and barbacoa. One the relatively newest entries into the pantheon of great Alamo City festivals is San Antonio College’s (SAC) annual FredStock, which makes its triumphant return this Friday. The event takes place between Courtland Place and Main Avenue on the grounds of SAC between 5:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m on April 29th.
“We do this free music festival every spring semester and it encompasses four or five of the different classes involved in the Music Business Program,” said Donnie Meals Music Business Program Coordinator at SAC. “The students are the ones who book the bands and find out what their needs are. They are the contact points for the entertainment and the vendors. All the classes participate in some manner, from signing contracts to sourcing portable toilets to setting up the PA system to getting streets closed. And they all get graded on it after the show.”
Benefiting the college’s Music Business Program the festival is a unique blend of musical genres, food and vendors put together by students of the program. Now entering its sixth year, the festival was named after Fred Weiss, a Radio/TV/Film Program Professor at SAC for more than 20 years.
“The kids always do a great job, I mean, it never looks like this is something just put together by a student organization, it looks like real pros did it,” said Meals. “This particular semester, the festival is a little bit different since we switched it from a Saturday daytime event to a Friday night event. And we have a really eclectic mix of really accomplished bands performing.”
The festival kicks off with some good old-fashioned rhythm and blues with performances by the Anthony Wright Band followed by local favorites, the Benny Harp Blues Band. After that, Jeff Smith and The Hickoids turn things up several notches before Javier Escovedo and The City Lights close out the evening.
“Javier and his whole family are incredibly talented musicians,” Meals said. “His brother [Alejandro] is a prolific songwriter and Javier is considered one of the founders of the 70s punk movement in Southern California.”
S.A. fan favorite DJ Gibb will also be spinning the ones and twos throughout the night in what is sure to be another massively successful event. Roughly 70 SAC Music Business Program students will have had a hand in pulling the event off before it is all said and done.
“We start planning the festival at the beginning of the semester and it’s truly the culmination of an entire semester’s worth of work,” Meals said. “When Fred passed away, I took this event over and I wanted to step it up each year and make it a bigger and bigger deal. I wanted to the kids to step in and make some mistakes, but grow from it and the festival has grown each year.”
Gates open at 4:00 p.m. and is free and open to the public. A wide range of food and merchandise vendors will be on hand, and beer will be available for the first time in the festival’s history. Proceeds from the sales all go back in to benefitting the Music Business Program at SAC and to ensure future, bigger, better editions of FredStock.
“What makes FredStock a successful event is not about making money at the end of the day,” Meals said. “We position it so we can [and it] goes right back into the program. For us, it’s about the experience about throwing on an event like this. It’s about preparing and being ready the day of the event and make sure the bands sound good and everybody is happy and has a good time.”