The Beginning Stages of the Go West Fest/

This past Saturday marked the first-ever Go West Fest, the all-day, all-evening Americana, roots music and folk band affair held out in the West Dallas warehouse space recently acquired by local arts group Upstart Productions.

The space itself, which happens to be within walking distance to the base of the new Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, includes a large venue room with stage, as well as the adjoining Nest Gallery — a series of spaces that during Saturday's festival housed work from several Dallas visual artists.

The musical portion of the festival featured 10 bands spanning a fairly broad cross section of the genres. But this event wasn't just about the music.

A new brewery opening in the West Dallas area named Four Corners tapped into their new stout brew for festivalgoers to sip on. Even better: The beer was included in the event's admission fee.

Being that a theater-based production company put on the show, there was appropriately silent Charlie Chaplin films projected behind the bands as they played, plus several performance art pieces throughout the event, including a theatrical girl gunfight thrown in to keep things interesting.

Local photographer Frank Lopez was also on hand, doing his tintype plate photography processing photos — right then and there onsite — and adding an old western feel to the already folk-inclined festival.

After opening its doors at 1 p.m., the show had something of a slow start — due in large part, one assumes, to the Deep Ellum Arts Festival activities happening simultaneously across town. But as the evening went on, a crowd developed. And with all the two-stepping and head-bobbin' going on throughout the evening, it was a good time.

The West Dallas area probably hasn't seen this much of a country tinge in a long time. To be fair, though, it hasn't seen much of anything for a long time. With area business owners hoping this area develops into a cool new arts-centric community, expect more and more festivals like this aimed at pulling people across the so-called “bridge to nowhere.”

For now, though, the Nest Gallery space will become an underground theater venue open to hosting music and arts events as well.



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