Former TCU student works to make Clearfork Music Festival happen in Fort Worth

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The second Clearfork Music Festival will be held Aug. 30 at Panther Island Pavilion.

Keep Texas Live, a Fort Worth based entertainment and promotions group that takes care of the behind the scenes work for the festival, recently released its first phase lineup.

Clearfork Festival tweeted that Bright Light Social Hour, The Marshall Young Band and Jetta in the Ghost Tree will perform along with a host of other bands during the annual event.

The music and art festival is a product of vision, hard work and “a little bit of beer,” according to former TCU student Bryan Lee, leader of the group.

Lee said he has had a passion for music his entire life and got to showcase his talents while working as a DJ for Fort Worth events. That’s when he realized something was missing in Fort Worth.

“I found that there was a void that could be filled with live music,” Lee said. “I wanted to expose this music to Fort Worth, and I wanted to expose the bands to all the great people and venues in Fort Worth.”

Keep Texas Live began in 2010. Its beginning stages, Lee said, whether going door to door at local businesses and venues, or cold-calling musicians for bookings, was far from a glamorous, rock and roll lifestyle.

Keep Texas Live, which consists of Lee and partners Ted Wick, Kevin Benson, and Nick Daniels, got its first big opportunity planning the 2011 West Berry Block Party.

“There were a lot of speed bumps doing our first big event,” he said. “But it was a great experience to learn from that.”

After the success of the Block Party, Keep Texas Live has booked shows for a variety of artists ranging from blues, folk, country and electronic. Lee said he knew the group could make a difference in Fort Worth when they arranged for the local band, Quaker City Nighthawks, to play at the Cellar.

“Seeing the crowd feed off the energy of the band, and the band feeding of the crowd, I thought to myself ‘why can’t we do this all the time and make it bigger,'” he said.

From there, the idea for the Clearfork Music Festival was born.

Although it took persistence and effort, the Keep Texas Live crew made it happen Sept. 21, 2013 and have not stopped since.

Local artist DJ Crezzi believes Keep Texas Live is more than an average promotions group. Crezzi said the group always looks out for the artists best interests and has brought a lot of fresh music to Fort Worth.

“They put artists in a position to succeed because their work allows us to play at great venues with a live audience,” Crezzi said. “Overall, they are just really good guys that have been able to connect people to music.”

Last year, the Clearfork Music Festival hosted 25 bands on three stages, and more than 1,000 people enjoyed the music and atmosphere at the newly renovated Heart of the Ranch in Clearfork. This year, Keep Texas Live aims to make Clearfork Music Festival even better.

TCU student Alec Whitman said he plans to attend the Clearfork Music Festival again this year.

“Even though I didn’t know any of the bands before the festival last year, their energy and enthusiasm was really fun to watch,” he said. “You could tell the bands really enjoyed playing that day.”

Lee said he hopes to one day bring an Austin City Limits’ sized festival to Fort Worth.

“I don’t want it to be just the biggest festival Fort Worth has ever seen,” he said. “I want it to be the biggest party Fort Worth has ever seen.”

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