By Madalyn Watson | Staff Writer
Baylor students can enjoy some good music and good food at Tunes and Tacos, a community-based music event, 7:30 p.m. Saturday in the North Russell Quad.
Dallas freshman Ben Coleman created Tunes and Tacos in his hometown and decided to bring it to Baylor. Audience members are encouraged to bring their own quilts and seating, so they can spread out, relax, enjoy live music and free tacos from Fuego.
“I just really wanted it to be an environment that encourages young artists who maybe have never even played in front of people before,” Coleman said. “And I want it to be a supportive audience, where people appreciate good live music and good food.”
Working with the Baylor and Beyond Living and Learning Center, the concert will feature several bands and musicians from Baylor and the Waco community, including Sack Lunch.
The summer after his sophomore year of high school, Coleman was looking for a setting for him and his friends to come together, perform and listen to live music when he realized he could create his own.
“I’ve always enjoyed live music,” Coleman said. “I realized that there wasn’t really a place [and] there wasn’t really any event in my neighborhood for teenagers to come together to to enjoy live music.”
With the help of his friends and family, Coleman established a regular live music event, Oak Cliff Tunes and Tacos, in the backyard of the El Taxqueño Taquería, a Mexican restaurant owned by his good friend’s grandparents.
“It started off with some friends who wrote songs and played music,” Coleman said, “As we continued putting it on, and it kind of got to be more well known in the neighborhood, people would contact us.”
Dallas sophomore Miranda Wood grew up close family friends with Coleman’s family and has attended several Tunes and Tacos events since the beginning.
“Ben works really hard to make sure people are comfortable when they’re performing,” Wood said. “And they can like step out onto stage and feel relaxed and feel like they can be accepted there.”
Wood said that the community aspect of the Oak Cliff Tunes and Tacos brought people together and gave her a chance to revisit friends and old memories whenever she returned home from Baylor.
“It’s been really cool to see it grow from everyone that I know, so like maybe 30 people there I recognize them from the neighborhood, to like hundreds of people, most of them who I don’t know, just because it’s gotten so big,” Wood said.
As the director of the council for Baylor and Beyond, Wood was able to help Coleman contact the right people who could help make the event happen at Baylor.
“Ben has been doing a lot of it on his own, which has been really impressive,” Wood said. “He’s gathered up musicians. He’s been helping to spread the word. He’s been taking initiative, and reaching out to people.”
However, friends like San Antonio freshman Mathew Gonzalez have been helping Coleman spread the word about the upcoming concert.
“[I’ve been] getting the word out the best I can and reaching just different sources of contact that I know that can that can spread the word,” Gonzalez said. “So I definitely see myself helping in any way I can.”
Gonzalez said that he hopes the event can allow students to distract themselves from this stressful time of the school year.
“With all this stigma against this time of the year with finals and just a bunch of work, I think it [will] really help call students out to take a step back and take a breath and just enjoy some nice music [while] hanging out with friends,” Gonzalez said.
Wood is a bit worried that starting the event in a different environment will create roadblocks that Ben did not have to overcome in Dallas, but she believes it will be more rewarding.
“I think there’s a lot of potential for it to get even bigger than the one in Dallas, because once college students get involved they are obsessed with something [and] it really blows up, because college students just get passionate so easily about things,” Wood said.
Coleman has wanted to start Tunes and Tacos in Waco since he began attending Baylor, but he waited until he was comfortable and not too busy during his freshman year to host the first concert.
“For the rest of my college experience, I’m hoping to do these at least twice or three times a semester,” Coleman said.
To learn more about the first concert, what will happen if rain interferes and the future of Tunes and Tacos in Waco, follow the events Instagram @wacotunesandtacos.