Mission Waco’s Jubilee Music Festival brings life to avoided areas

By Haley Gibson


Located on a street once ravaged by prostitutes and drugs in a low-income, low-education area, Mission Waco’s Jubilee Theater and World Cup Café offer a ray of hope to a neighborhood that most people often avoid.

This weekend, they will celebrate their struggle against the odds in the fourth annual Jubilee Music Festival.

Saturday’s festival will provide a chance for members of the community from all walks of life to come together for the sake of music and art. Ruben Moreno’s zydeco band will headline the event, joined by Wes Cunningham and various jazz, Christian rap and blues artists.

Sam Henderson, director of the Jubilee Theater, said the main purpose of the festival is to bring people into a community that was once avoided for its bad reputation.

Improving this neighborhood has been a long-term vision of Mission Waco founder Jimmy Dorrell and the city of Waco.

Henderson believes music can be a part of the solution to improving the community.

“The very nature of music and arts is that it is something people can see eye to eye on,” Henderson said. “Where there is music, differences are worked out because we are together enjoying something in common.”

Community organizing and coalition building has been one of Mission Waco’s main goals in building up impoverished communities. The Jubilee Festival presents an opportunity to fulfill that mission.

One of Mission Waco’s new ventures is the expansion of the Fair Trade Market, which is located next to the Jubilee Theater in World Cup Café.

The fair trade market opened in 2008 and has been the only fair trade certified business in Waco since.

Fair trade essentially cuts out the middlemen and provides a relationship between businesses in the U.S. and the artisans that make their trades in lower-income countries. This ensures that products are obtained fairly and legally, and that the individuals making the products in poorer countries are provided a living.

The Fair Trade Market recently expanded their store in September, and now provides more of their usual products in addition to more locally produced art, including paintings and sculptures.

The products sold at the market are from all over the world, from India to Haiti to Kenya, and support organizations like Handmade Expressions and Serve International.

Products include coffee, chocolate, jewelry, houseware items and the popular Haitian metal goods.

Shannon Williams, World Cup and Fair Trade administrator, believes that as a Christian organization, Mission Waco and other Christians have a calling to help out those around the world, and consumers have a responsibility to know where the things they use come from.

“Fair trade cuts down injustices that people wouldn’t know about, like slave labor,” Williams said.

The Fair Trade Market will be open throughout the music festival.

A kids’ program will take place at 11 a.m. presented by Baylor’s Zeta Zigga Zamma while singers and songwriters perform in the café and market.

At 2 p.m., bands will start performing in the Jubilee Theater, with Ruben Moreno performing at 5 p.m.

The festival is free and open to the public, and all proceeds from the Fair Trade Market and World Cup Café will benefit Mission Waco.

The festival will be held at 1321 N. 15th St. at Colcord Avenue.