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A long-time vacant Abilene property transforming into outdoor concert venue

By Mari Cockerell, mcockerell@ktxs.com
Published On: Dec 04 2012 05:42:03 PM CST

Driving around I-20 and Highway 277, you may have noticed there's some action at a property that's sat vacant for years.  The old Pecan Bend is about to have a whole new life as The Back Porch of Texas.   

Mark Powell is a local country singer, songwriter, and now owner of this what will soon be an outdoor concert location unlike any other in the Big Country.   

You may remember Powell had been working with the City of Clyde to build the outdoor concert venue.  When that deal fell through, Powell decided to go it alone and privately pursue the project.  That's when he landed on Pecan Bend. 

"When you grow up in Abilene and you see a place that has a lot of trees, you know, hey let's make something out of it," said Powell.

For now, the purpose of the project is the Outlaws and Legends Country Music Fest which will be held March 22nd and 23rd.  It's a solid deadline for Powell to meet.  By then Pecan Bend will have a concert pavilion and outdoor stage. Folks can bring their lawn chairs, blankets, coolers, and tents to enjoy two days of music and entertainment.  Parking will be on the cleared out land on the north end of the property.
Powell hopes the venue will be the beginning of something great for Abilene tourism.  "We want people to see Abilene as a place for people to come and put heads in beds and see other attractions but we feel this venue fits our purpose for multiple, a very large population to attend," said Powell.

Merle Haggard is the headlining act for this year's Outlaws and Legends Music Fest, benefiting the Ben Richey Boy's Ranch.  After that, Powell hopes to make the venue available for private functions including weddings, and maybe even open up a kid's dude ranch.