“I couldn’t be more grateful for the overwhelming support Hoodoo has received this year,” says Andrew Hall. The founder and executive director of the nonprofit mural festival had just finished organizing an event that brought more than 2,000 attendees to downtown Amarillo on Saturday, October 1—the culmination of two weeks of mural painting and a full year of planning.
Attendance at this year’s outdoor festival grew more than 60 percent from last year, and the 2021 event was already considered a major hit. The Brick & Elm team was present all day Saturday, from the arrival of the first food trucks to the Brick & Elm Food Truck Park to final notes of Neil Frances’ concert set.
Here are a few of our highlights from this year’s festival:
The Art and Artists: Clovis native Drew Merritt stole the show last year with his Dale Brisby-inspired cowboy painting on a vertical wall belonging to Amarillo National Bank. Merritt was back this year to paint a highly detailed saddle—inspired by products at Amarillo’s Oliver Saddle Shop—on another ANB wall.
This year, Merritt helped convince his friend Tristan Eaton to participate as the 2022 Hoodoo mural headliner. Known for having designed the first Kidrobot toys, Eaton is also a muralist in high demand, with walls in New York, Miami, Honolulu, Denmark, Paris and beyond. He started his collage-like mural a week ahead of the festival and finished it on October 1, in front of hundreds of onlookers.
Other murals included works by It’s a Living (Ricardo Gonzalez), Rabi and Amarillo native Malcolm Byers, along with a multi-section wall by local muralists, including Brittany Busch, our September/October 2022 cover artist.
The Music: Amarillo-based electro-pop band Vamping kicked things off late in the afternoon, followed by dance-inducing sets from Little Jet, Kaelin Ellis, and Flamingosis. Los Angeles-based alternative pop band Neil Frances closed out the show as vibrant video graphics shimmered over Merritt’s cowboy wall behind the stage.
In a fun change from last year, the festival’s silent disco was no longer confined to a makeshift corral, but covered the entire festival grounds. More than 10 local DJs provided those beats.
The Food: An expanded food truck lineup increased the variety over last year’s event, thanks to food from Yolo’s, Sushi Bomb, Mi Gente, Cheesecake HSTL and Mitch’s BBQ, plus drink options from Soda Jerks and Tea2Go TeN’ergy. Inside the VIP section, patrons enjoyed free tastings from Sweets by Cara Linn, Pizzeria Nomad, Charlee’s Chicken, Tacos Garcia and other vendors. Pondaseta Brewing Co. served drink samples, as did Red River Brewing Co.
The Vendors: In another major upgrade from last year, more than 30 vendors and artisans lined the Brick & Elm Food Truck Park, from the delicate welded bracelets of Hollow Dot Designs to vintage clothing and vinyl records from Caliche. Brick & Elm contributing photographer Adam Baker brought his Perry’s Tintypes booth and took incredible photos of attendees. The presence of the vendors brought constant traffic and excitement to the area.
The Kids’ Section: Thanks to Amarillo-based Little Bee’s Playhouse—which built multiple structures on site—kids had plenty to do in a section designed just for them. They also received free copies of the 2022 Hoodoo Coloring Book.
The Field Trips: During the week prior to the festival, Hoodoo organizers leaned into the nonprofit’s mission of educating and impacting local youth by hosting field trips to see the murals and muralists in action. Team members guided 700-plus students from across the Panhandle to tour the new walls and even meet with the artists to learn how the murals were created.
The 2022 festival has concluded but its cultural impact remains, as the city has added several high-profile murals to its rapidly growing collection of public art. Hoodoo’s creative director, Will Krause, called the festival a “truly magical experience.” He adds, “Our team is thrilled by the overwhelming positive feedback we’ve received from fans following this year’s event. We not only brought incredible talent from across the country here into our very own backyard but also helped to showcase to the world what makes Amarillo so special.”
Even after this year’s new elements, Andrew Hall says the team is already discussing ways to elevate the festival next year. “It was truly a team effort and I’m so appreciative to everyone who worked tirelessly behind the scenes to build up Hoodoo bigger and better than ever before,” he says. “Our team hopes for Hoodoo to continue growing long into the future.”
[Photos by Desmond Inc / Provided by Hoodoo Mural Festival]