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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Boots, beer and builds galore

Brazos Valley’s biggest pasture party is so back
Chris+Young+performs+on+Saturday%2C+April+6%2C+2024%2C+at+Chilifest.+%28Adriano+Espinosa%2FThe+Battalion%29
Photo by Adriano Espinosa
Chris Young performs on Saturday, April 6, 2024, at Chilifest. (Adriano Espinosa/The Battalion)

With music booming through speakers and a chance of a beer can hitting your head, Chilifest Music Festival arrived in full swing on Friday and Saturday in Snook. With headliners such as Randy Rogers Band and Chris Young, vendors and the fortress-like structures fraternities create called “builds,” it’s no wonder the event attracts over 35,000 people each year, according to the Chilifest website. Filled with families, students from all over Texas and even babies, festival goers made the most out of a beautiful and sunny Friday and the brutal wind and dirt on Saturday and let loose.

Three time Chili vet and former Student Makyna Sparks said the festival is a fun thing for everybody to rally behind, although it can get rowdy and hectic. A fan of the Red Bull Skydive Team but not so much country music, Sparks was excited for Surfaces this year and said that the music is only just a little part of the big event. 

“Everyone’s prepping for Chilifest in College Station and all these businesses and vendors come out here and it’s just like people really show up and I just think it’s such an exciting thing to be a part of and see,” Sparks said. “People come here and they just wanna have fun.”

Communication junior Sydney Angell said it feels like a tradition to go to the festival as a Texas A&M student. No matter who the lineup might hold, she comes for the atmosphere, ready to spin into the night.

“I really do just like going late at night when it’s dark and dancing with everyone at the front of the stage,” Angell said. “I like the builds, that’s fun, but I definitely like going out and dancing more, just hanging out.”

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  • Fans cheer atop each others shoulders on Saturday, April 6, 2024, at Chilifest. (Adriano Espinosa/The Battalion)

    Photo by Adriano Espinosa
  • The concert lights and night sky on Saturday, April 6, 2024, at Chilifest. (Adriano Espinosa/The Battalion)

    Photo by Adriano Espinosa
  • Chris Young strums on Saturday, April 6, 2024, at Chilifest. (Adriano Espinosa/The Battalion)

    Photo by Adriano Espinosa
  • The main stage set for the final concert on Saturday, April 6, 2024, at Chilifest. (Adriano Espinosa/The Battalion)

    Photo by Adriano Espinosa
  • The National Anthem performed on electric guitar on Saturday, April 6, 2024, at Chilifest. (Adriano Espinosa/The Battalion)

    Photo by Adriano Espinosa
  • Bassist Gary Stanton and backup bassist perform on Saturday, April 6, 2024, at Chilifest. (Adriano Espinosa/The Battalion)

    Photo by Adriano Espinosa
  • Charlie Muncaster sings on Saturday, April 6, 2024, at Chilifest. (Adriano Espinosa/The Battalion)

    Photo by Adriano Espinosa
  • Charlie Muncaster extends the mic on Saturday, April 6, 2024, at Chilifest. (Adriano Espinosa/The Battalion)

    Photo by Adriano Espinosa
  • American flag hair on Saturday, April 6, 2024, at Chilifest. (Adriano Espinosa/The Battalion)

    Photo by Adriano Espinosa
  • Forest Frank sings on Saturday, April 6, 2024, at Chilifest. (Adriano Espinosa/The Battalion)

    Photo by Adriano Espinosa
  • Colin Padalecki plays guitar on Saturday, April 6, 2024, at Chilifest. (Adriano Espinosa/The Battalion)

    Photo by Adriano Espinosa
  • Forest Frank performs on Saturday, April 6, 2024, at Chilifest. (Adriano Espinosa/The Battalion)

    Photo by Adriano Espinosa
  • Kaitlin Butts sings on Saturday, April 6, 2024, at Chilifest. (Adriano Espinosa/The Battalion)

    Photo by Adriano Espinosa
  • Kaitlin Butts strums on Saturday, April 6, 2024, at Chilifest. (Adriano Espinosa/The Battalion)

    Photo by Adriano Espinosa
  • Kaitlin Butts performs on Saturday, April 6, 2024, at Chilifest. (Adriano Espinosa/The Battalion)

    Photo by Adriano Espinosa
  • Cole Whittlesey strums on Saturday, April 6, 2024, at Chilifest. (Adriano Espinosa/The Battalion)

    Photo by Adriano Espinosa
  • Cole Whittlesey performs on Saturday, April 6, 2024, at Chilifest. (Adriano Espinosa/The Battalion)

    Photo by Adriano Espinosa
  • Cole Whittlesey’s bassist on Saturday, April 6, 2024, at Chilifest. (Adriano Espinosa/The Battalion)

    Photo by Adriano Espinosa
  • Chris Young walks onstage on Saturday, April 6, 2024, at Chilifest. (Adriano Espinosa/The Battalion)

    Photo by Adriano Espinosa
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Teams can sign up and bring drinks and food to enjoy during the weekend, and use their tent or build as a “home base” to members in their party. Dominated by fraternities and organizations, the temporary builds had discounted pricing, merch, free drinks and food for those who bought from them. It’s also common for people to explore the Snook grounds and go to other team’s builds. After assembling small pieces at a time, frats and orgs will transport it to the Snook grounds to finish building, painting, and put the final touches on their (mostly) multi tier high wooden structures. New Sigma Alpha Epsilon member Matthew Hollingsworth said his favorite moment so far has been building their “Space Rodeo” themed build with his fraternity brothers.

As she was “build hopping,” University of Houston student Regan Grant said although it’s only her second time at the festival, she’s turning it into an early tradition — calling it the best weekend of the whole year. Despite some foul moments in 2023, that didn’t stop Grant from returning this year. 

“I was standing on the bar, fell off, my toenail turned black and fell off, I couldn’t walk Day 2,” Grant said. “It was all worth it … and I’d do it again.” 

Trial and error last year for festival-goer Cade Vickers helped him come more prepared this year. The Snook grounds are notorious for having spotty cell service — if at all. It’s become more common for large parties to bring walkie-talkies, especially if you’re arriving with a party of around 20 like Vickers. 

“We kind of got in trouble and lost everyone because we didn’t have service,” Vickers said. “This year we decided to bring about 12 walkie-talkies for all of our friends and we just kind of tell everyone to stick with someone with a walkie-talkie so we don’t leave anyone behind … it’s kind of genius honestly.”

With the crowd of thousands, it’s not sunshines and rainbows all the time with risk of ruining shoes, outfits, having beer drenched hair, and breaking and losing items. Despite various obstacles, festival-goers keep up their streak returning every year, finding excitement in different parts of what it has to offer. 

When asked about if there’s anything Vickers would change about Chilifest: “Absolutely nothing. This shit’s awesome.”

The crowd lifts their hats during a concert on Saturday, April 6, 2024, at Chilifest. (Adriano Espinosa/The Battalion) (Photo by Adriano Espinosa)
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About the Contributor
Theresa Lozano
Theresa Lozano, Life & Arts Writer
Howdy! I'm Theresa Lozano and I am a journalism major. I love living life with those around me. Gig 'em!!!
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