A lawsuit between squabbling islanders recently threatened what’s considered one of the largest and oldest Mardi Gras celebrations in the United States, but in the end, the party will go on.
Mardi Gras Galveston returns for its 109th celebration February 14-25, with parades, beads, booze, and a stacked lineup of musical performers.
Texas rock bands Blue October and Bowling for Soup are among this year's headliners. Other entertainment highlights include La Leyenda and Bidi Bidi Banda, set to head a Latin-flavored Fiesta Gras celebration on February 16 that will feature two parades, a balcony party, and shopping and dining options.
Blue October will perform live at 6 pm on Saturday, February 15, in downtown Galveston’s Saengerfest Park on the Corona Stage during the kickoff weekend of Mardi Gras Galveston. Bowling for Soup will play at 10:30 pm on Friday, February 21, on the Corona Stage during the final weekend.
Serving as the grand marshal of the new Bumpin’ Bus Parade is Houston hip-hop legend and Galveston Island spokesperson Bun B on February 22. He'll make an appearance just before the biggest parade of them all, the Knights of Momus parade.
“This is by far our best band lineup of the last 10 years,” said Yaga’s Entertainment president Mike Dean, who is in his 10th year organizing the festival for the city of Galveston. “Concerts are part of what make the Mardi Gras experience different in Texas, and we are excited to bring in these great local bands and homegrown Texas talent.”
More than 25 concerts will take place during Galveston’s two-week event, alongside 23 parades, 20 official balcony parties (and many more unofficial ones), and several elegant balls. Daily admission to the Mardi Gras entertainment district includes access to all concerts, as well as entrance into the Electric Mardi Gras event on Friday and Saturday of both weekends, with numerous DJs and laser light shows.
According to a statement, Mardi Gras, the traditional festival of feasting and merrymaking that precedes the season of Lent, was first publicly observed on Galveston Island in 1867. Following a sabbatical imposed in 1941 by war and challenging times, Mardi Gras Galveston was revived in 1985 by Galveston-born preservationist and developer George P. Mitchell. The 11-day event is expected to draw more than 300,000 attendees; it's the largest celebration of its kind in Texas and the third largest in the nation.
Admission for all music-related events is $22 at the gate, with discounted prices available in advance online at www.mardigrasgalveston.com.