Downtown Burger + Beer Festival

Ten local restaurants and food trucks will compete for the best hamburger title at the third annual Downtown Burger and Beer Festival on Sunday, July 8 at Union Plaza, 100 Anthony Street. El Paso country singer Brian Mars and Steel Queen Band will take the stage.

The all-ages event includes free admission and it's pet friendly. Food tickets and drinks (aside from beer) will be sold. A game zone will be provided by Top Golf. The festivities take place between noon and 8 p.m.

"I came up with the idea after watching the movie, "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs" said event organizer and local DJ Cesar Alonso.

The movie includes a scene with rainbow colored clouds as it begins to rain cheeseburgers. The main character, Flint Lockwood invents a machine that turns water into food. This becomes a problem for the town because they only rely on sardines to eat and survive. Cesar said it took him and some friends one night to come up with the festival.

"We also wanted to do the festival because we wanted to help local businesses with growth and promotion, " he added.

Brian Mars started playing the acoustic guitar in middle school. In order to learn guitar basics, he joined a mariachi group. He began singing in his choir class throughout his high school years.

"I love the sound of the guitar. I had never sang country but a teacher pushed me to do it, "Brian said.

Brian will perform in other cities around the country throughout the summer. His album "Tequila Summer" will be released this month.

"I'll be playing some of the songs from my new album at the burger festival. I'm excited about it!"

Brian covers songs by many country superstars. Our favorite cover songs he performs are by Garth Brooks. He said his favorite song to cover is "Your Man" by Josh Turner.

"I get the most response from "Your Man." "The crowd already knows the intro and they start dancing and singing. It's the best feeling ever."

Cover band Steel Queen Band hasn't been around that long but they're usually booked every weekend. They got together in November 2017 and started performing at local venues in March. The band practices eight to ten hours a week.

"We do Top 40, classic rock, 80's and 90's rock, disco and cumbias," said lead singer Andrea Miguel.

"We don't have a favorite type of music to play, we like them all. If we had to pick, I would say disco because we make people dance and rock because people sing along."

Andrea said her voice has been compared to Pat Benatar and Selena.

"We like to get people pumped up. We don't like to see them not having fun."

For more info., about the festival, click here.

El Muro's Crawfish and Border Blues Festival

The third annual El Muro's Crawfish and Border Blues Festival kicks off Saturday, June 23 at The German Pub, 9530 Viscount. Besides lots of crawfish, festivalgoers can expect food trucks and live music. Music will be provided by blues singer/guitarist Darius Jackson and local rock band The Feel.

The all-ages festival happens from 6 p.m. to midnight. Admission is $15 at the gate. This includes a crawfish meal. Without the meal, admission is $5. Military personnel and children 15 and under get in free.

"Our festival grows every year. Last year we had about 3,000 attend," said event organizer Mario Muro.
Mario added "A portion of all proceeds goes to the TOCA Foundation, to the fight against cancer."

The festival is held in memory of Mario's father and others who have passed away from the disease. TOCA helps cancer patients and their families pay for medical and funeral expenses. The non-profit also focuses on pancreatic cancer and kidney disease awareness.

Alive Audio recently caught up with blues singer/guitarist Darius Jackson. The 25-year-old spoke to us on the phone before jamming out at a bar on Sixth Street in downtown Austin. Darius, aka the as*hole from El Paso (his words not ours by any means) was fun to talk with! He made us laugh a lot! We enjoyed his fiery and bubbly personality. He's no stranger to El Paso or the blues.

"Blues to me means singing a story, a true story. It can also be a feeling, experience or action," Darius said. "Singing it out loud and making somebody believe and feel it with you...that's blues."

Darius said he began singing at church as a child. He was given a guitar for his fourth birthday. He sang and played music as a teenager at different El Paso bars. Darius is a 2010 Chapin High School graduate.

When asked who he looks up to he said, "I look up to nobody but I appreciate everything. There are certainly singers I love and appreciate."

Some of his favorite singers include Magic Slim, Lonnie Brooks, Long John Hunter and Albert King.

Diana Beltran, lead singer of The Feel said her band loves playing classic rock the most. She said her band's favorite song to cover is Journey's "Separate Ways."

"Our two lead guitarists do an amazing job at playing the song without keyboards," Diana said. "It makes the song sound just as full and powerful like the original version."

For more info. about the festival, check out their Facebook page here.

By Lisa Amaya
Follow Lisa on Twitter here.