TCR Festival celebrates all things Texas on October 29, 2022 in Waxahachie, Texas.
The TCR festival that celebrates the Texas Country Reporter show that features everything good about Texas is on for 2022, bringing an array of live entertainment, food, arts and crafts to Downtown Waxahachie.
The largest one-day event in the state takes place 9:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 29, 2022 at the courthouse square, 101 West Main Street in Waxahachie, Texas. Admission is free.
About the event
Now in its 26th year, the Texas Country Reporter Festival has attracted nearly 70,000 people in past years from throughout the state and even the country who come to meet show hosts Bob and Kelli Phillips, enjoy festival foods, buy from the many arts and crafts vendors and listen to the line-up of Country and Texas musicians playing on two stages throughout the day.
This year’s musical headliner is Diamond Rio, a Country music band from Nashville, Tennessee that formed in 1982 as an attraction for the Opryland U.S.A. theme park, who will bring their hits, One More Day, Your Love Makes Me Feel, Meet in the Middle and more to the festival’s main stage.
On the festival’s second stage at the Downtown Waxahachie Railyard Park amphitheatre, a line-up of up-and-coming Texas musicians will play in what Bob describes as a successful addition to the TCR Festival.
“Last year, we added a lot of space to the festival because we took it all the way down to the Railyard Park and the amphitheater. And we used the amphitheater for a second stage. And on that second stage, we had local Ellis County acts all day long on that stage,” Bob says. “We plan to do that again this year. That was very successful last year. People loved it. It gave us two different choices on things going on on-stage all day long. So we’ll do that again.”
The setting for the TCR Festival is Downtown Waxahachie, with the ornate and historic Ellis County courthouse at the center, around which a variety of more than 300 food and craft vendors will present their offerings.
“All around the courthouse square, all of those booths are reserved for people who have been featured on the show. And then further down, you will have artists and crafts persons who have paid to be there and they must sell handmade items. Nothing can be made somewhere else. And then so this is all one-of-a-kind items that are for sale. It’s the perfect place to get all your Christmas shopping done” says Kelli. “And of course the entire event is free.”
“Yeah, no admission at all for the event — dog friendly, kid friendly, grandma friendly,” Bob adds.
The TCR Festival came about as a way to gather together viewers of the popular show, Texas Country Reporter and give them a chance to meet the people featured on the show in person.
Texas Country Reporter was initially called 4-Country Reporter when the show began in 1972 on the Dallas C.B.S. affiliate, K.D.F.W. which at the time was on T.V. channel 4. Bob was an intern at college and had been previously covering so-called hard news such as an apparent drowning at a lake, but he admired the work of C.B.S. journalist Charles Kuralt who produced an uplifting news feature each week called On the Road. Bob tried as often as the opportunity arose to produce pieces that carried the same wholesome charm.
Eventually, Bob impressed the management at the station to let him try a new idea that he’d been mulling over, and when they acquiesced, he began touring the state and finding interesting people to feature on a weekly weekend report, 4-Country Reporter which grew over the next decade and a half, gaining a loyal following.
“In 1986, I took the show out on my own and started producing it through my production company Phillips Productions. And that’s when we changed the name to Texas Country Reporter because we syndicated it in every market in the State of Texas at that time,” Bob says. “In the year 2000, we were picked up by a national cable channel called RFD-TV. So, the show, Texas Country Reporter now airs several times every week, nationwide on that channel, in addition to all of the television markets across the State of Texas.
“As of January 1st of this year of 2022, we sold our company and the TV show to Texas Monthly. Although Kelli and I are still running the company — we’re still doing the show — they just own us now. But other than that, the show is exactly the same as it was prior. We are in our 50th season of the TV show; it’s the longest independently produced television show in the history of American television.
“This year, just three weeks prior to this year’s festival, will be our actual 50th anniversary — our 50th birthday: October 7 of 1972 was the day the first show aired.”
Why people love TCR
Bob says he owes the success of the show to the people he covers. Bob and Kelli avoid controversial topics and steer clear of people who are already famous and focus rather on ordinary people who are somehow engaged in something extraordinary.
“The common denominator on both the show and the festival is a love of the State of Texas, and the people. We do stories about people — about individual people. In doing those stories, we may tell you something about the part of Texas they live in; whether it’s a small town or wherever it is. But the real focus is stories about people, ordinary people, most of whom you’ve never heard of before,” Bob says.
“They’re passionate about what they are doing,” Kelli adds.
“We tell people what it is that keeps them going day in and day out; what it is that they’re passionate about; what it is that they love about life and love about living in the State of Texas,” Bob says. “Our take on this from day one from the very first episode was you’ve got plenty of access to news. And just by its very nature, a lot of the things that we hear about in news are going to be not so positive, because that’s what makes them news — some of the negative, horrible things that happen in our world. We are the alternative to that. We’re not saying don’t watch the news; we’re saying if you want respite from all of that, and you want to have 30 minutes of downtime that makes you feel good about your life and about the world you live in — that’s what this show is all about. And the festival is just an extension of that.”