SAN BENITO — Forget about calling it the Resaca City — it might soon be better known as music city.
Big-name headliners could turn San Benito into the “music mecca of South Texas.”
With that in mind, the city is booking Mark Chesnutt as the headliner for its Hog Waddle Country Concert and Lluvia Vega for its Cinco de Mayo celebration.
The new push to launch more music festivals is part of a plan to make San Benito a tourist draw, or so-called destination city, spokeswoman Martha McClain said yesterday.
This year, Cinco de Mayo, the Mexican holiday that marks Mexico’s purge of French rule, has landed a prominent spot on the city’s calendar of events.
“Hispanics are proud of their culture,” Commissioner Esteban Rodriguez said. “This is one way to celebrate it. It’s not just for Hispanics.”
The festival is expected to draw fans from across the Rio Grande Valley and Mexico.
“We want to promote our city and bring economic development,” said Mayor Ben Gomez, who sits on the entertainment committee that planned the festival.
The city is booking Lluvia Vega, a mariachi singer who competed in the popular TV show “La Voz,” to serve as the event’s headliner.
“I’ve heard her music,” Rodriguez said. “It’s very nice.”
The city is paying Donna-based Kool River Media and Entertainment $2,000 to secure Vega for the May 5 festival set for W.H. Heavin Memorial Park.
As part of the agreement, the city is paying Kool River $1,000 to stage five amateur wrestling matches.
“Lucha libre,” Rodriguez said, referring to the Mexican form of wrestling in which the contestants wear masks while displaying rapid, acrobatic techniques. “It’s fun. It’s great entertainment for the whole family.”
Meanwhile, the city is booking recording artist Mark Chesnutt as the headliner for its Hog Waddle Country Concert and Cook-Off, set for May 19 at the San Benito Fairgrounds.
“Initially, we were looking for a country artist that promoted Texas country music, would draw people and entertain, providing San Benitoans an unforgettable experience,” Luis Contreras, the city’s museum coordinator, stated.
Chesnutt is heading for what Contreras called the “music mecca of South Texas.”
“Mark Chesnutt suits all of those requirements, bringing a major following (with) over 20 hits, which include eight No. 1 hits on the country music charts — and still has major radio play, locally and nationally,” Contreras stated.
Earlier this week, commissioners approved Kool River’s payment request for a $10,000 deposit to secure Chesnutt for the event. As part of the agreement, the city will give the promoter 15 percent of the total cost of staging the event.
The festival will feature country music bands and an officially-sanctioned barbecue cook-off.
For barbecue aficionados, the menu will feature classic pork recipes.
How we got here
In January, the city’s Economic Development Corporation earmarked as much as $10,000 to market the event.
The city turned back the pages of time to its pioneering past to come up with the festival’s theme.
Near the turn of the 20th century, Alba Heywood, a farmer who co-founded San Benito Bank & Trust, drove 2,000 hogs onto dusty Sam Houston Boulevard to stage a parade.
But the crack of a pistol shot spooked the pigs, which took about three days to round up.
Known as the birthplace of conjunto music, the city debuted its own Resaca City Music Festival, featuring a variety of music including conjunto last October.