The History of Chilifest
In the fall of 1999, eight years after the inception of the Chilifest event, Chilifest Incorporated, a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation, was formed to professionally manage and organize what has become the most anticipated event in the Brazos Valley – CHILIFEST.
Over the years, Chilifest Inc. has assembled an untarnished resume of success – having entertained thousands of patrons and attracted some of country music’s finest performers to our area. Undoubtedly, Chilifest remains in a class of its own: dedicated to provide a spectacular event, with all proceeds benefiting the community to aid in many worthy causes.
Chilifest Inc.’s first year at the helm in 2000 was indeed, remarkable. Country music sensation Mark Chesnutt headlined the event, and in front of 20,000 patrons, filmed his latest music video on stage. That year, Chilifest Inc. was able to donate over $75,000 to area charities, and further demonstrate their commitment to the community.
Chilifest 2001 was quite a success! The legendary Merle Haggard headlined the event, alongside an all-star lineup that included: Gary P. Nunn, Tommy Alverson, Pat Green, and Jerry Jeff Walker. Amazingly, after leaving a lasting impression among thousands, over $130,000 was donated back to the community.
Despite heavy rains, all in attendance enjoyed Chilifest 2002. Chris Ledoux, Pat Green, Cross Canadian Ragweed, Gary P. Nunn, and Tommy Alverson played to a rain-drenched but loyal crowd. Thanks to all who endured the weather, we were able to donate over $110,000 dollars to our charities.
Chilifest 2003 surpassed years before with a record crowd of over 40,000. Country music legend Willie Nelson headlined the event, and Cross Canadian Ragweed, Gary Allan, Cory Morrow, and Roger Creager backed him. With great pride, we were able to give over $200,000 to surrounding area causes and charities.
Chilifest 2004 was one of the best ever. The legendary George Jones headlined the event; Sammy Kershaw, Pat Green, Cross Canadian Ragweed, and Jason Boland accompanied him. Thanks in part to the large attendance numbers; we were able to give over $160,000 to local charities.
Chilifest 2005 was a great event! Everyone enjoyed the music from Jack Ingram, Cross CanadianvRagweed, Neal McCoy, Pat Green, and Tracy Lawrence. The excitement raised over $100,000.
In 2006, Chilifest celebrated 15 years of Texas country. Everyone enjoyed the music from Robert Earl Keen, Aaron Watson, Pat Green, Cross Canadian Ragweed, and Randy Rogers. Thanks in part to a great turnout; we were able to give over $102,000 to local charities.
Chilifest 2009, 2010 and 2011 surpassed our GREATEST expectations allowing us to give over $500,000 back to the community with an economy that was struggling to survive. By providing top-notch entertainment in a festive environment we were able to take a challenging time and create an atmosphere of FUN. The 2009 entertainment line-up was Robert Earl Keen, Pat Green, Cross Canadian Ragweed, Stoney LaRue and Reckless Kelly. In 2010, we headlined Dwight Yoakam along with Aaron Watson, Corey Morrow, Eli Young Band, and Roger Creager. In 2011 we headlined Dierks Bently along with Bart Crow Band, Jason Boland & The Stragglers, Stoney LaRue, Randy Rogers Band, and Wade Bowen.We had monumental years in 2007 and 2008 with record – breaking crowds of over 40,000 people. The entertainment line up in 2007 was Jack Ingram, Cross Canadian Ragweed, Pat Green, Aaron Watson, and the legendary Willie Nelson. In 2008 Gary Allan, Aaron Watson, Pat Green and Stoney LaRue graced the stage. Chilifest Inc. was able to give over $400,000 to local charities and organizations in those two years.
Chilifest 2012 & 2013 were stellar years with total donations of $250,000 handed out to local organizations and charities of the Brazos Valley and surrounding areas. The 2012 headliners included Sunny Sweeney, Josh Abbott Band, Randy Rogers Band, Pat Green and Billy Currington. Our Friday night lineup started to expand as well as we welcomed Cory Morrow, the Dirty River Boys, and others to the stage. Our 2013 headliners included Josh turner, Aaron Watson, Mark Chesnutt, Kevin Fowler, Corey Smith, Jason Boland and the Stragglers (Friday), Cody Johnson (Friday), and Gary P Nunn (Friday), among others.
We have proven that Texas music brings loyal fans to the Starlight Ballroom in Snook each spring where fifteen acres of pastureland are transformed into a two-day event that includes chili, live music, and FUN! However, all the hype cannot overshadow Chilifest’s main purpose:
“To offer assistance to thousands of ill, neglected, and less fortunate individuals; as well as to provide funding for the many organizations who put forth the effort to resolve the life threatening problems that endanger the lives of so many.”
Chilifest, Inc. is extremely grateful to everyone who has attended and to all those who have played an important role in the success of this event.
We have big things planned with Chilifest 2014 and are expecting huge turnouts as we celebrate 23 years of great music. We look forward to giving back to the community who has made Chilifest what it has become today.
The Chilifest Story