There have been numerous music festivals and concerts put on here in Wichita Falls featuring all local talent over the years, at least since the first Local Heroes Banquet in 1985. More recently there have been shows like Dimebash, Dirtbag Dave Throwdown, The Hub’s Battle of the Bands, and I even put on a couple of local talent showcases with Tim Maloney and Company. Falls Fest could be included because a lot of local bands would play, but there was usually a national headliner to close out the show. There have been many. And when Falls Fest held its last show in 2015 it left a void in Wichita Falls’ concert/festival life. Enter David Falnes.
David got the urge to organize an all local concert, and in October of 2017 the first Local Legends Rock Music Festival was held at Kimberly and Eric Stevens’ newly reopened Stick’s Place. Twelve local bands played and it was a much-needed shot in the arm for the local music scene. And to make that show even more remarkable, it was a benefit concert for CASA.
CASA stands for Court Appointed Special Advocates. CASA supports and promotes court-appointed volunteer advocacy services to children so every abused or neglected child can be safe, have a permanent home and the opportunity to thrive. CASA volunteers represent the best interest of children who have been removed from their homes due to abuse or neglect. The Local Legends concert raised $4,500 last year to benefit this organization. The Local Legends show was so fun and productive that David decided to make it an annual benefit concert.
On April 10, 2018 the Wichita Falls music scene suffered a tragic loss with the news of the passing of Donald Larson (The Hub of NTX May 2018 cover story). Don whole-heartedly supported the live local music scene here, and was always out watching live bands perform. He was friends with all the bands and all the players and performers. And on that fateful afternoon, Brandon Mundt, drummer for Downtown Royalty Band and Everything In Between, was feeling pretty sad about the news and made a Facebook post reading ‘Last year Local Legends- this year LarsonFest’. His phone started blowing up with bands wanting to be a part of it. Within a couple of hours, he was contacted by about 30 of them. David saw the post and suggested that they combine the Local Legends idea and change the name to LarsonFest. Don was such a loving and giving person it was only fitting that we could honor his love of live local music and his kind and giving spirit to help children in our community. So, David, Brandon, and his wife Erica, bassist for Everything In Between and Romeo Whiskey, decided to take on the enormous task of organizing the event which has grown to more than 40 acts. David said, “If we’re going to do this, let’s do it big. No acts will be turned down to play because Don loved all music, and this is one way to memorialize his name and how much his support meant to all of us.”
LarsonFest 2018 will be a three-day music festival the likes of which have never been attempted in Wichita Falls. It will be held at Stick’s Place, 3305 Sheppard Access Road on October 5, 6, and 7, and have 41 acts scheduled in the three-day lineup.
Since the Local Legends show last year, there have been some enhancements to the production. There are sponsorships available this year ranging from $100 to $1,000. Main sponsors will be on the tee shirts and other sponsorships include your name or company logo on the banner that will be adorning the back of the stage, as well as on printed material and Facebook posts. Sponsorships will be accepted up to the day of the event. There will also be two types of tee shirt designs available, and there will be credit card capabilities for purchases. If the tee shirt supply is depleted there will be order forms to fill out for delivery at a later date. All credit card purchases go directly to a CASA account.
Three guitars have been donated to the event by local music stores Sam Gibbs Music, Hayley’s Music, and Bruce Lyons Guitars. One guitar will be raffled each day, and each one will be signed by all the band members who performed that day.
There will be a motorcycle run and car show on Saturday and vendors and food trucks will be on site all weekend. Participating bands will have an area set up for selling their merchandise and MSU sorority Alpha Phi will be volunteering to help with the show.
David hopes to triple or even quadruple the amount of donations they received last year. A website is currently being developed for this event and you can follow the progress leading up to the show on the LarsonFest Facebook page. Tickets for LarsonFest will be at the door only and are $10 for a one day pass or $20 for all three days. Again, all proceeds will be donated to CASA.