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Hill Country Fun: FiestaJAM

Ask any Texan how to have a good time, and they’ll tell you it’s hard to beat a combination of great music, fine wines, handcrafted beers and September in the Hill Country. All those elements come together during FiestaJAM on Lake Marble Falls, the music and wine festival slated for Friday, Sept. 23 and Saturday, Sept. 24, in Marble Falls. Showcasing the Texas Hill Country community’s musical, wine- and beer-making talents, the festival raises funds for two local music education programs. This year’s event features 2016 Texas State Musician Joe Ely performing at the FiestaJAM Marquee Concert at 6 p.m. Sept. 24, capping an afternoon of music and tastings at Lakeside Park/Pavilion, 307 Buena Vista Drive, Marble Falls.

Joe ElyAdvance tickets, on sale now, are $15 for Saturday (music only) and $35 with tastings. Children 12 and under will be admitted free with a ticketed adult; gates open at noon for the 1 p.m. festival. VIP packages, which include Friday’s Patrons of the Arts reception and Saturday music and tastings, are  $75. Tickets may be purchased at fiestajam.org or by calling 800.514.3849.

The VIP reception, hosted by FiestaJAM co-founder and renowned conductor/producer Robert Linder, is 6 to 9 p.m. at Uptown Sound Studio, 218 Main St. Patrons are also invited to a special 5 p.m. tasting hosted by sponsor Rebecca Creek Distillery at Bill’s Burgers, 307 Main St.

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john Arthur martinez, FiestaJAM’s other co-founder, will provide the evening’s entertainment, joined by internationally acclaimed songwriters Alex Harvey, Mike Blakely and John David Kent.

The music continues Saturday afternoon with the first FiestaJAM Battle of the Bands contest, followed by a song swap featuring martinez and singer-songwriter Drew Womack, backed by martinez’s band, Tejas, and Ely’s headlining performance.

But first, four Battle of the Bands finalists will perform Saturday afternoon, competing for a grand prize of $1,000 in cash plus eight hours of recording time at Uptown Sound Studios in Marble Falls. Three runners-up will each receive $300 in cash. Ten semifinalists already have been selected; online voting at the 101highlandlakes site will determine one finalist; a panel of industry professionals will choose three others. Voting is open through 11:59 p.m. Aug. 31; one vote per day is permitted. Funds raised go toward music programs at Marble Falls Independent School District and the nonprofit Harmony School.

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