Wildflower Festival

Wildflower Festival

Jason Castro

UnitedHealthcare Singer Songwriter Stage 

“I’ve heard it said that music is the language of the soul,” says internationally-renowned recording artist Jason Castro. “I think it’s something God created for our souls to be able to rejoice in.”

Now, as this mellow Texan with the blue eyes, bright smile, and distinctive dreadlocks prepares to release his first full-length Word Records album, Only A Mountain, he finds himself with the chance to rejoice alongside a broad new audience of fellow believers. The prospect, he says, is thrilling: “This album to me is really kind of a breakthrough,” Castro confesses. “It feels like this veil has been lifted.”

Produced by Matt Bronleewe, Ben Glover, and David Garcia, Only a Mountain is set to be released January 15, 2013. Its eleven original tracks – all written or co-written by Castro – are primed to appeal to fans both old and new, whether they discovered his unique voice via his captivating run on American Idol, or have found their lives touched by one of his melodic, heartfelt performances in the years since. The songs on Only A Mountain are fueled by “the realization that life is beautiful,” Castro says. “It’s a lifestyle philosophy that I carry: What good can we do today? How can we be a light in the challenging world in which we currently live? I feel like I’m coming into my own. This is just my story to tell.”

Much of that story is now familiar to millions of people worldwide: Raised in the church by a musical family of Colombian descent, Castro started drumming at 11, playing music in the youth ministry, joining his father in leading worship. But despite his musical background, the notion that young Jason might have a voice – or something to say with it musically – didn’t really begin to take shape until he hit college and picked up the guitar. The young drummer who cut his teeth on a steady diet of Blink 182, Switchfoot, and MxPx found himself drawn to the introspective sound of singer-songwriters like Ray LaMontagne and Jeff Buckley. “I started listening to their lyrics,” he says. “And that really captured me. I loved what the words were doing to me, and I wanted to be able to do that, you know?” Although he admits the first song he wrote and played for his then-girlfriend (now wife) was “pretty bad,” he soon gained enough courage to join friends for some coffeehouse gigs. When he hit the stage for the seventh season of American Idol, he’d only been singing for a year and a half.

“I don’t know if I ever had an indication that I was meant to be a musician, or good enough to do it professionally,” Castro laughs of taking the Idol plunge. “All I really had was a heart for it.” That heart eventually led him to a fourth-place finish on the show, where he won consistent critical acclaim for hisstripped-down takes on songs like “Over the Rainbow” and Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.” His laid-back acoustic style was unlike anything that show’s belting-diva-accustomed audience had ever seen. “I wasn’t a great natural singer or anything, but I had passion,” he says now. “For whatever reason, things lined up the way they did, and I believe there was a bigger reason than things just ‘happening.’ I really cherish the Idol experience. Sometimes I just laugh, like, ‘Was that real?’”

The success that came next was even more unbelievable for the soft-spoken and humble Castro: His 2010 self-titled debut on Atlantic Records entered the Billboard Top 200 Albums chart at No. 18, and spawned the international hit “Let’s Just Fall In Love Again” – a No. 1 single in Norway, Singapore and the Philippines. Determined to establish himself with the public as a legitimate performing artist and not just a TV star from American Idol, he then began touring regularly with his band and has never stopped. Jason joined the I Am Second campaign in Dallas, speaking publicly about his faith for the first time since gaining national attention, and the Christian community began to take an interest in his message. Later that year, Atlantic and Word teamed up to re-release his debut as Who I Am, this time featuring five new faith-based songs. For Castro, something suddenly clicked. “As I started venturing down that road, I found a lot of fulfillment,” he says of combining his Christian faith and music career.

Home, of course, now extends to around the globe, as Castro and his longtime band have earned their stripes in countries as far-flung as Singapore and the Philippines. “We get to play in front of thousands of people singing every word to my songs,” Castro says. “It’s just crazy – like, these people don’t even speak English. But the thing that always moves me the most is when someone comes up and tells me, ‘Your music got me through some heavy times.’ It just blows my mind, the power of music.” Fans who still remember Castro as a solo acoustic performer might find their own minds blown a bit when they witness his growth as a live performer – which now includes plugging in and rocking on the electric guitar. “One of my early managers told me, ‘You gotta be undeniable,’” Castro says. “When it comes to music, I believe in that excellence, in every performance. Be undeniable. I’ve carried that with me every day.”

Castro’s deepening musical chops are apparent on every track of Only A Mountain, which explodes out of the speakers with strength, integrity and confidence. “Rise To You” is a fist-pumping power ballad with a sing-along hook, “Same Kind of Broken” a compelling and emotional duet with CCM newcomer Moriah Peters, and “Runaway” a straight-up stunner that showcases how Castro’s vocal talents have blossomed. Songs like “If It’s Love” exhibit the kind of layered sonic textures Castro picked up from more recent influences like Coldplay , lending them a fresh and modern sound likely to appeal to music lovers everywhere, regardless of their spiritual beliefs. According to Castro, those choices are intentional. “I think as a kid, sometimes you discredit Christian music because it’s churchy and not cool,” he says, speaking from personal experience. “I was on a plane earlier this year, and I had an old dc Talk album on my iPod. I’d heard it before, way back when, but this time when I pressed play, I was really impressed by the production. It really inspired me to think maybe I could reach a kid who’s like I was –who doesn’t think Christian music is that cool. Maybe I can get him or her to listen to the music with a fresh approach?”

If anything is going to capture that young person, it’s the infectious, bouncy, piano-driven pop of the title track, which also serves as the album’s first single. When co-writers Seth Mosley and Mia Fieldes brought the song’s theme into their writing session, Castro says it struck him immediately as exactly the kind of message he wanted to deliver to Christian radio. “I thought it was a fresh concept,” he says. “It was inspired by the verse of Jesus telling the Disciples, ‘If anyone has faith the size of a mustard seed, he can tell this mountain to move from here to there and it will move. Nothing will be impossible.’ Living that out has just been huge for me this past year, knowing that there’s no problem too big for God to tackle. You just gotta have faith.”

For Castro, those five words – “You just gotta have faith” – currently serve as a kind of creative centerpiece. “I love ‘Only a Mountain’ as the first single, because I think it sums up a lot of things that I’ve realized in the past few years,” he says. “There’s definitely been a lot of challenges and adversity, and those things have really shaped the album. I’ve found a new life through all of it.” Castro admits he’s gone through some pretty “monumental stuff” of late – including the birth of his first child, daughter Madeline, in August of 2011 – but it’s brought him to an even stronger spiritual place. “I’ve always believed in God and his power, but I didn’t really have faith, you know?” he asks. “I had this knowledge, and this acknowledgement, like, ‘God, you’re there, I want you to be honored and everything… but I’m not ready to give you this.’” He pauses, and his joy is palpable. “I’ve learned to give it up.”

Be undeniable. Carry the message of God forward. Have faith. These are the goals Jason Castro has set for Only A Mountain, and the goals that he has set for his career as a performer – a path that, in retrospect, seems very much laid out by a greater hand. “What I like about songs is they take you through a journey,” he says, “and this album is very much my journey, and what I have found in my journey is just a lot of hope. I think that’s what comes out in these songs, regardless of where you come from or where you are in life or what you’re going through. There’s hope here for everyone.”

WF! Blog

GATES OPEN AT 6:30PM AND WILDFLOWER! STAGES TO ROCK ON SATURDAY

It’s been a wild weekend here at Wildflower! Arts & Music Festival! We are so excited to update that the gates are going to open at 6:30 p.m.. The festival has been partially open since this morning and indoor performances inside the Eisemann Center have continued as scheduled throughout the day.

Unfortunately, Blue Oyster Cult had to cancel its appearance at the Festival due to its flight into DFW International Airport being cancelled because of the severe weather. All acts prior to 6:30 p.m. set to perform on outdoor stages have been removed from the schedule.

Want the good news? The Methodist Richardson Amphitheatre Stage, Plaza Stage, and Bud Light Stage are ready to rock (after a lot of hard work by the festival folks).

Methodist Richardson Amphitheatre Stage
8:15 p.m. The Guess Who
10:00 p.m. Grand Funk Railroad

The Guess Who

Plaza Stage
8:45 p.m. Judah & The Lion
10:30 p.m. Fitz and the Tantrums

Bud Light Stage
6:45 p.m. Devil’s Sooty Brother
8:15 p.m. Joshua Ray Walker
9:45 p.m. Big City Outlaws

Aeromyth

Hill Hall
9:00 p.m. Aeromyth

UnitedHealthcare Singer Songwriter Stage
6:00 p.m. Jason Castro
7:45 p.m. Darrell Scott
9:15 p.m. Crystal Bowersox

The Plaza Stage viewing grounds consist of solid concrete but you’ll want to bring a lawn chair for the Methodist Richardson Amphitheatre Stage area, or wear comfy boots to navigate the soggy grass. The wet conditions have created high humidity of 94% and cool temperatures in the 60’s.

Due to schedule changes caused by today’s severe weather, all Saturday general admission tickets to the festival will be honored for use, either today or tomorrow. We scan it once and you can decide whether that will be for Saturday or Sunday. Ticket prices for Saturday have been dropped to $30 at the gate. On Sunday, children 12 and under will be allowed free admission.

Street performers scheduled to appear on Performance Row have been cancelled for today. Due to wind damage, the WF! Kids area is closed for the rest of the weekend.

The schedule for all acts is updated and posted on the website. www.wildflowerfestival.com

Wildflower! Arts and Music Festival Announces Revised Saturday Schedule Due To Severe Weather Impacts

All gates to open at 6:30 p.m. with most national acts set to perform

The Wildflower! Arts and Music Festival will open all gates at 6:30 p.m. The Festival has been partially open since 11 a.m. this morning, with indoor music performances taking place as scheduled on Eisemann Center stages.

Weather Impacts On Performances
With the exception of Blue Oyster Cult and Quiet Company, all performances set for this evening on outdoor stages at Wildflower! will perform as scheduled. Blue Oyster Cult had to cancel its appearance at the Festival this weekend due to its flight into DFW International Airport being cancelled because of severe weather. Tonight’s 7:15 p.m. performance by Quiet Company on the Plaza Stage has also been cancelled along with all other acts scheduled to perform on outdoor stages prior to 6:30 p.m.

Weather Impacts From Today’s Storm
At approximately 1 p.m. and again at 3:30 p.m. this afternoon, severe weather passing through North Texas impacted the festival grounds causing limited wind damage. Festival staff are in the process of cleaning the grounds and all six gates at the festival will reopen at 6:30 p.m.

Patrons Asked To Prepare For Wet Conditions
People planning to attend the festival this evening to enjoy the outdoor stages will want to prepare accordingly for wet conditions. Bring water resistant clothing and lawn chairs are recommended.

Saturday Passes To Be Honored Today Or Tomorrow
Due to schedule changes caused by today’s severe weather, all Saturday passes to the Wildflower! Arts and Music Festival will be honored for use either today or tomorrow.

Saturday Pass Dropped To $30 For Saturday Performances / Children Get In Free Sunday
Ticket prices for Saturday have been dropped to $30 at the gate. On Sunday, children 12 and under will be allowed through the gates free of charge.

Other Updates
Street performers scheduled to appear on Performance Row have also been cancelled for today and, due to wind damage, the Children’s Area on the festival grounds is closed for the rest of the weekend. Information on the performance schedule for all acts is available at www.wildflowerfestival.com.

WILDFLOWER! FESTIVAL TO PARTIALLY OPEN DUE TO THREAT OF SEVERE WEATHER

Festival grounds expected to fully open at 5 p.m., or once area storms pass; performances on Eisemann Center stages continue as scheduled

(Richardson, TX) – Richardson’s Wildflower! Arts and Music Festival will partially open at 11 a.m. due to the threat of severe weather in the area. Gate F, located on the north side of the event, is open for patrons to directly enter the Eisemann Center to enjoy performances on the Singer Songwriter and Hill Performance Hall stages. The closest parking area to Gate F is the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas parking garage. View the Festival Map for locations.

All six gates on the festival grounds are expected to reopen at 5 p.m., or once the threat of severe weather has passed. People planning to attend the festival to enjoy the outdoor stages this evening are asked to prepare accordingly for wet conditions. Bring water resistant clothing, umbrellas and lawn chairs. All afternoon performances scheduled to take place on outdoor stages prior to 5 p.m. have been cancelled.

Wildflower! Arts and Music Festival has historically had bouts with rain over the past 27 years of its history in Richardson, but the event has always been held rain or shine. Richardson’s Emergency Management team consistently monitors the weather, and public safety personnel have plans in place to shelter people if necessary.

Tickets available online or at the gate.

SPONSORS

Methodist Richardson
City of Richardson
Logo for Bud Light
Logo for Cupcake Vineyard