22nd Annual Wildflower! Festival, Wynonna Judd, Pat Benetar, The Smithereens & Blue October

What started in 1993 as a small community event at Breckenridge Park in northeast Richardson has turned into one of the Metroplex’s largest art and music events of the season.  Once every spring, the residents of Richardson, Texas and surrounding areas invade the cities Galatyn Park Complex for three days of festivities.  This year was no exception.

Wildflower! is family friendly arts and music festival featuring multiple performance stages(indoor/outdoor), the Wild! Marketplace, the Taste of Texas Food Garden and as well as the Kidz Korner.  At any given time spectators can find a performance somewhere on the grounds.   Along with nationally performing acts such as Pat Benetar, Blue October, Minus the Bear, Wynonna Judd and the Smithereens, the festival features a Singer/Songwriter Contest and a local Battle of the Bands contest that is held throughout the month of May with the winner announce at the festival.

In spite of the grim forecast for the weekend, the festival was expected to draw nearly 70,000 fans over the three day event.  From sheer number of blankets and chairs on the lawn at the main Wildflower! stage, you could believe that number was pretty close.  Although there were threats of rain and thunderstorms riddled with a tornado warning or two, the festivities continued throughout the weekend.

Organizers planned something for everyone of all ages to enjoy.   At the Kidz Korner, kiddos of all ages could climb a rock wall, visit animal in the petting zoo, build a sand castle at the sand pit, paint a rock at the craft table, hold a butterfly at the butterfly habitat or rock out on the karaoke stage.   The water fountain feature proved to be entertaining for the kids on Saturday as the temperatures rose well above what was expected.

The Wild! Marketplace hosted numerous vendor booths featuring candles, hats, jewelry, clothing as well as guitars.  The food garden offered a number of food trucks and booths devoted to such fairs as barbeque, tacos, corn dogs, popcorn and a variety of traditional fried foods.  The beer garden offered the normal beer and wine, however they upped the anti this year a bit with a ‘craft’ beer garden offering more variety to the beer connoisseur’s palate.

The real crowd pleaser was the amazing lineup of nationally touring and local acts scheduled to perform.  There were over 35 various artists, musicians and bands to perform on the six various stages spread throughout the festival.  Friday Zepparella, an all female Led Zepplin tribute band, started the music on the Wildflower! main stage.  The evening ended with headliners Pat Benetar and Blue October.

Saturday’s lineup was even more packed with an entire day of performances, but the stage really started to heat up when 73 year old Leon Russell stepped on stage dressed to the nines with a white top hat and cane and sat at his white grand piano.  He was followed by 1990’s bands Tonic, 38 Special, Fuel, Kansas and Everclear who left the crowd wanting more.

Just as the last performance was wrapping up, mother nature whisked in for a visit bringing gusty winds and more rain overnight.  That didn’t hold festival goers from coming out Sunday to enjoy the last of the events.  Although the lawn was dampened overnight, the crowd collected once again with their chairs and blankets at the Wildflower! stage to see the Joe Ely Band and the biggest crowd pleaser of all Wynonna Judd.  As Wynonna took the stage, the sun was shining with a bit of a breeze making for a perfect way to round out this years events.

Article by:  Kristelle Maguire
Photos by: Jason Maguire & Stephanie Johnson
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Kristelle Maguire
Photographer, writer, and editor.

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