Block Party gives local bands, artists chance to perform

San Antonio resident Michael Garcia said he traveled all the way to Fort Worth to attend the West Berry Block Party to experience and support the two cities’ music communities.

“We [Garcia and his friends] come from San Antonio, and there is a cool music scene there. So we wanted to come up and share it with you guys, the local, unsigned, musicians,” Garcia said.

Nearly 700 people attended theis year’s West Berry Block Party, university alumnus and organizer of the West Berry Block Party, Bryan Lee said. 

Seniors Ted Wick and Kevin Benson organized the event that was created last year alongside Lee .

The university students expanded the event this year making it a two-day affair. They also included more than just live music by adding art, dance and film. 

Whether an art enthusiast, a music fan or someone simply without plans for the weekend, the main purpose of this year’s block party was to support SafeHaven of Tarrant County, an organization aiding women and children affected by domestic violence, musician Travis Hildenbrand said.

Hildenbrand, who helped Wick book bands for the event, said part of the proceeds from this year’s block party would be donated to SafeHaven. He also said some bands and sponsors agreed to participate at a lower cost because it was a philanthropic event.

General Manager of Dickey’s Barbecue Pit on University Drive, Dave Bearce, said the company decided to bring its lunch truck to the West Berry Block Party for this reason.

“We were approached by the block party people, and they said this event is going for charity, and we wanted to be a part of that,” Bearce said. “We always like giving back to the community.”

Nearly 50 bands performed at the two-day event at four venues near the university campus: The Cellar pub, Stay Wired Coffeehouse and Computer Services, Old Rip’s Tex-Mex Restaurant and The Aardvark.

Garcia said he appreciated the university students’ initiative in organizing events like the West Berry Block Party because it helped bring much needed exposure to local bands.

“Without the things these guys are doing and you guys are doing, people will never know about the musicians that aren’t on the radio and do not have a record label,” he said.

Some Fort Worth residents were appreciative as well. 

“We are so glad you guys are putting this on. Good job guys. Awesome!” Maya Default said.