Tammi Fest brings outpouring of love to Martindale￼
By Kyle Mooty
Epilepsy has met its match with Terri Hendrix. Rather than defining her, Hendrix has expended her horizons, not only still performing as a singer-songwriter, but also speaking at universities in multiple capacities.
To top it off, she is executive director of OYOU (Own Your Own Universe), which hosts Tammi Fest (named after Hendrix’s late sister). The three-day music-based event benefits people with disabilities while allowing all to see the healing powers of music, dance, and art.
“Tammi Fest became a nonprofit event in 2012,” Hendrix said. “Our first fundraiser was in 2014. It has had different names. This will be our seventh event. Now it’s more of a community event. We don’t look at it like a fundraiser.”
A person with autism or is non-verbal can benefit from what Tammi Fest offers, Hendrix said.
“Without doubt, music is the most powerful thing we can do,” Hendrix said. “Even people that have autism or are non-verbal respond to rhythm. We can come up with a song together. It’s just beautiful. Just because you’re non-verbal doesn’t mean you can’t communicate. It’s a conduit between the two. An individual with social issues can play a guitar. An adult that has gone through trauma — maybe a veteran or someone with cancer or another disability — it lights up a human spirit that medicine can’t touch. Nature, art, and music all are inner-twined. With life being a fight to survive, these things are great for people. But, we have more in common than we do differences. I think people in general are good.”
Tammi Fest begins Friday, Oct. 7, with “Storytellers and Songbirds” on Main Street beginning with a Meet & Greet at 6 p.m. Check-in at the Wilory Farmhouse for ticketed guests is a 4 p.m.
The concert at 413 Main Street in Martindale is from 7-8:30 p.m. The $35 VIP tickets are available to the public. The Master of Ceremonies is Hector Saldaña, Texas Music Curator for The Wittliff Collections. Musical guests will be Terri Hendrix, Rosie Flores, and Kimmie Rhodes. They will play an acoustic in-the-round song swap show. Tickets include live music, hors d’oeuvres, assorted Texas wines, and a raffle. The OYOU Women’s Retreat Jam will take place at Wilory Farm at about 9 p.m. and last until, according to the website, the artists fall asleep on their instruments.
“Everyone that is part of Wittliff Collections (Texas State University) will be there on Friday,” Hendrix said. “We will talk about our life’s work.”
The Women’s Retreat Workshops are for people who either choose to stay overnight or just come for the workshops.
On Saturday, from 9-10 a.m., there will be Monday/Body/Spirit with Sunni Nia Moves. According to the Tammi Fest website, this will be more than just a workout as NIA strengthens the body, quiets the mind, balances emotions and re-connects the spirit. It will be a powerful fusion of dance, martial arts, and mindfulness practices, NIA is a holistic movement and wellness practice.
Also on Saturday will be the Creative Workshop with Heather Little from 10:30 a.m. to noon. Little is the co-writer of “Gunpowder and Lead” and “Me and Charlie Talkin’,” both recorded by Miranda Lambert; Sunny Sweeney’s “Helluva Heart;” and “Minefield,” on Travis Meadows’ album Killin’ Uncle Buzzy. Visitors can hear more of her songwriting on Lindsey Harding’s album Sound of My Heart (including the title track).
From 1-2:15 p.m. will be Craft That Set List & More with Kristin Davidson and Carolyn Phillips of “Hardened & Tempered.” The Austin duo live the “Hardened and Tempered” balance and express it in their music. Their songs take root in the story-telling traditions of folk and country and flourish with textured harmonies, revealing an intimate look at the human condition and one’s search for meaning. As a traveling duo, they’ve played numerous shows in multiple settings and can walk you through how to craft a winning set for both the venue and you.
From 6-10 will be “La Musica es Vida” with Main Street in Martindale blocked off downtown. The event is free and open to all ages. There will be an array of musical guests, including La Gitana (6-6:40 p.m.), hONEyhoUSe (7-8:15 p.m.), and Henry Invisible (8:30-10 p.m.).
“What makes me sad is the cost of tickets to an event and some people can’t go,” Hendrix said. “There is not a cost to come see Saturday. And we will have access FOR people with mobility issues. The last year we had it before COVID, we had between 200 and 250 people come. We expect about the same this time. Martindale has really supported Tammi Fest and OYOU.”
Saturday’s downtown Martindale event will help local farmers, ranchers, growers, and artisans. Vendors will be selling handmade, homegrown, vintage, and antique items in a market like all along Main Street.
The Women’s Retreat will have free time on Sunday up to 1 p.m., then the OYOU Song Circle both in-person and online takes place from 1-3 p.m. at Wilory Farm. The event is for ages 12 and above.
Finally, check out will be Sunday from 3:30-4 p.m.
Own Your Own Universe’s three-day music festival for its cause of working with the arts to help those with disabilities as well as those who wish to explore their creativity with the arts.
OYOU is a 501 C3 non-profit.
Terri Hendrix was diagnosed with epilepsy at the age of 21.
“Music, writing, and the creative arts helped me to thrive personally and professionally as a musician in spite of my own challenges with my health,” she said. “Through personal experience, I discovered that my life’s passion was to introduce others to a wide spectrum of the arts, providing a path and the tools to live one’s best life regardless of difficult circumstances, experiences, or limitations. I’ve still had a wonderful career. I perform as a singer songwriter.”
Dysphonia, which affects Hendrix’s vocal cords, has hardly slowed her down. While she doesn’t tour all over the world as she did before, she does perform as a singer-songwriter abut once per month and speaks to colleges and university’s in either their creatives writing or music departments.
She also takes speech therapy to help her Dysphonia.
“A lot of people with dysphonia will have a tremor in their voice,” she said. “Because of my health, I started (Tammi Fest) in the first place.
“It started as an idea about creating a space where anyone; regardless of finances, social and or mobility issues, age or gender, can embrace and enjoy the creative arts without fear of bias or discrimination.”
Hendrix said she wants to grow Tammi Fest with more music workshops.
Tammi Hendrix passed away in 2018. Terry Hendrix said her sister was a staunch supporter of events that celebrate diversity, inclusion, community, and the arts.
“Through personal experience, I discovered that my life’s passion was to introduce others to a wide spectrum of the arts, providing a path and the tools to live one’s best life regardless of difficult circumstances, experiences or limitations,” Terri Hendrix said. “It started as an idea about creating a space where anyone; regardless of finances, social and or mobility issues, age, or gender, can embrace and enjoy the creative arts without fear of bias or discrimination.
“Some of our workshop leaders have been affected by neurological conditions, cancer, depression, and other health challenges. They have found a role in mentoring students with similar health conditions and inspiring others to rise above their own personal challenges so that they, too, can embrace and enjoy a higher quality of life. “
OYOU provides scholarships for every program it offers, allowing those who would otherwise be unable to afford tuition to attend and learn. Scholarships are offered based on financial need and for teachers, veterans, special needs students, and patients who are suffering from medical conditions. The OYOU also has scholarships available for our children’s music camp and kid’s club, so that children in need can attend for free.
For more information, visit ownyourownuniverse.org.