The annual Alleyfest three-day street extravaganza was a typical grand success as Texans and non-Texans converged in Longview for assorted street vendors’ offerings and to be entertained by music from East Texas’ most talented bands. Munching and sipping the wares of the food concessions listeners savored the cuisine and entertainment in delightfully cool May weather.
Musician Kayla Reeves was a smash hit. A native of Temple near Dallas, Reeves is a 2010 graduate of Holy Trinity Catholic High School, and started her singing career at age four. She commenced performing professionally at age seven as local bands took her on as a member, and at 13 she went on tour with the Wes Jeans Band as it traveled the Southeast. The Year of Our Lord 2008 had seen her performing in Memphis in the International Blues competition. Her resume includes singing with such stars as Paul O’Neil, Pinetop Perkins, Buddy Miles, Jonny Winter, Joe Bonamassa, Chris Caffery, Robin Zunder, Al Pitrelli, Leslie West and Alan Haynes. She has been lead singer for the Trans-Siberian Orchestra since March 2010.
After opening for Atlantic Recording artist Jonathan Tyler and Northern Lights, Kayla expressed her delight at being part of the street celebration. “I was very pleased with the music we had at Alleyfest,” she said. “It crossed a lot of genres that appealed to different types of music lovers. There are so many talented artists who might not have the exposure, but an event like Alleyfest gives them the exposure they need while attendants enjoy the music.”
City of Longview Public Works Director Nowlin Rowlin was a major player in arranging the Alleyfest. For him it was a labor of love. “Music is my passion,” he told infinitieplus [ip] magazine. Rowlin currently serves on the One Hundred Acres Heritage Board, and helped with the Tyler Street renovations initiative. He has worked with (and agrees with) planners who believe prosperity for downtown Longview means prosperity for the whole city. A New Orleans native, he lived in Lafayette before coming to Longview in the late 1990s. He is a graduate Texas A&M and is now a committed Texan.
One Hundred Acres of Heritage Main Street sponsored this year’s Alleyfest and its Texas bands as part of Music Fest 2013. On Friday night such groups as Westbound 21 and Bleu Edmonton performed, and Saturday night featured the music of the Vipers, Reeves and Tyler and their Northern Lights. Festivities were further spiced by a car show exhibiting vehicles whose owners have spent many years and huge sums refurbishing them.
All in all, the exhibitors, delectable food, music, diverse arts and painting, volunteers, cool weather with no rain, and most importantly, the attendees made Alleyfest 2013 was a smashing success.
By Joycelyne Fadojutimi
Visit Jim King’s Photography web site at http://jimkingphotography.com/ for more Alley Fest photos. Or call his office at 903-757-7427.