KNBT and Gruene Hall just wrapped up another successful Gruene Music and Wine festival. It's hard to believe this year was number 36. Thirty-six Gruene Music and Wine Festivals. Amazing. Other than the Comal County Fair and Wurstfest, it's hard to come up with a longer running annual event that benefits charities in New Braunfels.
Every second Thursday through Sunday in October, Gruene is filled with wine, craft beer and music lovers. Sounds pretty darn good to me. Wineries and craft beer makers from around Texas come to showcase their tasty creations and the best artists in Texas music come to play their songs to adoring fans. You could argue this year's biggest highlight was actually the Great Guitar auction, which we hold on Friday night in Gruene Hall. That night also includes a wonderful dinner of Ribs and Shrimp catered by the Gristmill and a private acoustic concert by a Texas music star. This year's star was one of the biggest Texas has to offer and someone who's been playing Gruene Hall since his first sold out show in 1998. The one and only Pat Green and, I'll tell you, he gave an unbelievable performance filled with all his big hits. However, the guitar auction was really something special. We absolutely shattered our previous record with close to $130,000 raised in less than an hour, all going to the United Way. The guitar that commanded the most money was the autographed George Strait guitar which brought in $36,000. Other guitars that went for some really good money included guitars autographed by Pat Green, Robert Earl Keen, Lukas Nelson, Lee Ann Rimes and Dusty Hill ( ZZ Top). It's safe to say the guitar auction is the biggest single event of the 4 days when it comes to raising money.
Contributing to the total raised included the wine and beer events held at the Grapevine and the Sunday Songwriter Shindig on the Sunday of the 4 days. This year's Shindig featured Drew Kennedy, Josh Grider, Bruce Robison, Taylor Rae, Austin Meade, Kevin Galloway, John Baumann, Jamie Lin Wilson, Bri Bagwell, Mike Harmeier, William Beckmann and Kaitlin Butts (with special guest Cleto Cordero from Flatland Cavalry). Many fans in the Hall were saying this was their favorite Sunday Songwriter Shindig to date and I'd have to agree. And I've been to them all. None of this would happen without the generous donation of each artist. Performing for little or no pay to help the cause. I am grateful to each one.
The GM&WF has always supported the United Way of Comal County, with last year raising over $147,000. We don't have the full total from this year yet, but as soon as we do, you can be sure to hear it on the KNBT and KGNB radio stations. A mighty thank you to all the sponsors, volunteers, artists and fans who make this annual event such a huge success. And, of course, our biggest thank you to our partner-Gruene Hall. We've officially teamed up for this event since 1999 and it always gets better. Looking forward to next year! - Mattson Rainer