From the team of Chilifest comes a brand new country music event — Friday Night Lights.
Friday, Oct. 8 at 5 p.m. at Wolf Pen Creek Amphitheater, big names in country music will head to College Station to host a night of live music and more. Robert Earl Keen, Josh Abbott Band, Shane Smith & The Saints and John Baumann will all perform at the inaugural Friday Night Lights, a preview for the popular Chilifest music festival.
Friday Night Lights was envisioned when the team at Chilifest decided to introduce the country music scene to College Station earlier in the year than the popular Chilifest concert and charity event, Chilifest Vice President Jackson Beasley said. This new event is especially important to the community after Chilifest was not able to be held for the first time in 30 years in 2020, and again in 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Beasley said.
“We’ve gone two years now without Chilifest,” Beasley said. “We’re just trying to give new students a little bit of representation of Chilifest that new students might not know about. We also wanna give a little bit of money back to our charities in our local community. Many of these Brazos County charities have been suffering, just because of money from Chilifest that hasn’t been able to get to them.”
Beasley is heading up event promotion to draw a big crowd and make people aware of the event and its cause. He said social media, as well as the company’s sales partners, have helped to spread the word.
“I’ve been in charge of sales and the marketing aspect of it,” Beasley said. “All our posts on Facebook and Instagram, and all the ads that we’ve run, are what I’ve been a part of. We do get a lot of help from our sales partners who help us with the technical side of online sales.”
Friday Night lights will be held the evening before the Aggies face their toughest opponent of the football season — Alabama. The Friday Night Lights team knew this would be a great time to hold the concert in order to benefit from the tourist traffic, and Beasley said it will give game attendees a fun night prior to kickoff.
“We knew it would be a busy weekend for College Station with a lot of people coming from out of town,” Beasley said. “For former [students] who know the Chilifest name and people coming from Alabama, it would be a good opportunity for them to have something to do that Friday.”
Students, country music lovers and locals alike love the Chilifest organization, and Beasley said this appreciation is because of the fun nature of the event and because proceeds go back into the community.
“What we give back to local charities is something we value, and I think others value that about us, too.” Beasley said. “As well as a good time, which Chilifest is known for.”
Country music lover Jason Leal, Class of 2019, was excited to hear about Friday Night Lights and said he thinks it could be a great opportunity for new students to hear about Chilifest.
“I would attend this event because the style of these artists live is so much more authentic than others or a recording,” Leal said. “It was definitely a smart decision, because a lot of the younger crowd isn’t too familiar with [Chilifest]. I’ve talked to people who didn’t know what it was and I know I didn’t when I first moved here, except for older people telling me about it. So, I think it’s a good way to get some of the freshmen introduced [to Chilifest].”
Chilifest President Matthew King said he is expecting a large turnout for the event, having sold over a thousand tickets as of press time.
“Right now, we have about 1,600 tickets sold,” King said. “We’re expecting about 2,500 to 3,000 to be sold by Friday night, according to some of our sales team.”
King said he thinks fans of all ages will be looking forward to this event, and it’ll be a great night before the Alabama game on Saturday.
“Having a concert the Friday before a big football game and having some big name bands playing that people can enjoy in a family-friendly atmosphere are what I think people will really enjoy about the event,” King said.
Friday Night Lights tickets can be purchased on the Chilifest website, where other information about the artists and venue can be found. Tickets will be sold up until 5 p.m. on Friday.