Celebrate country music, New Braunfels style
In 1964, the Country Music Awards declared October Country Music Month. While it would take a few months to make the declaration official across the land, country music fans embraced it right from the start. To truly celebrate the month in style, you’ve got to head out and hear some live music. From honky tonks to outdoor venues to full theater experiences, there’s a way to get some country music into your month—or any time this fall—in and around Mayfair’s hometown of New Braunfels.
Country music roots run deep in New Braunfels, thanks in no small part to Gruene Hall, the longest continually running dance hall in Texas. While it’s impossible to list the legends who have performed at Gruene Hall over the years in this blog post, what’s possibly more intriguing is what these big names do when they perform in a venue like Gruene Hall. Given its relative small size, it’s a different kind of crowd than those who will fill a stadium. Performers come here with new material to test, or play songs from their own personal favorites.
(Image Credit: Whitewater Ampitheater)
Gruene is not the only venue in the area for country music fans. WhiteWater Amphitheater hosts Willie Nelson and friends regularly along with big name headliners. Surrounded on two sides by the Guadalupe River, Whitewater has taken great care to retain the beauty of its natural surroundings. Ancient Cypress trees canopy the stage which has the river at its back, canopied by a silhouette of ancient Cypress and large heritage trees. The Whitewater Amphitheatre incorporates distinctive architectural elements into an already gorgeous riverside location.
(Image Credit: Riley’s Tavern)
Next on the tour of great spots to catch live country music in October is Riley’s Tavern, another historic landmark. In September of 1933 J. C. (James Curtis) Riley, at the age of 17, drove to Austin from Hunter (now part of New Braunfels) to get a beer license for his soon-to-open beer joint. He camped out on the steps of the Capital building and waited for it to open. He was the first person in line in Texas and got the first post prohibition beer license. These days you can catch the Pickers Circle – an unamplified campfire style evening hosted by musician Kayla Jane Shepherd.
(Image Credit: Freiheit Country Store)
Another famous honky tonk is Freiheit Country Store. Established in 1889, it’s right up there with Gruene Hall in terms of attracting great talent. It’s so well known in country music circles, this year the Texas Country Music Association named Freiheit among it’s top five finalists for Live Music Venue of the Year. It’s also a favorite place to get a burger, noted by many San Antonio foodies as “worth the drive.”
Live country music and fall are a great combination. Make your plans to make the most of Mayfair’s home base, New Braunfels, and the surrounding communities!
Featured Image Credit: Gruene Hall