Music, food, fun, more in store for Fort Cavazos Freedom Fest

By Janecze Wright, Fort Cavazos Public AffairsJune 27, 2024

A man with an electric guitar strapped around him holds both hands up in the air while standing on stage as other people stand in front looking on.
1 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Bowling for Soup lead singer, Jaret Reddick, listens to the crowd cheer during the band's performance at the Freedom Fest celebration June 23, 2023, at Phantom Warrior Stadium at Fort Cavazos, Texas. (Photo Credit: Photo by Blair Dupre, Fort Cavazos Public Affairs) VIEW ORIGINAL
Fireworks go off in the night sky.
2 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Fireworks light up the sky to cap off the Freedom Fest event June 23, 2024, at Phantom Warrior Stadium at Fort Cavazos, Texas. (Photo Credit: Photo by Blair Dupre, Fort Cavazos Public Affairs) VIEW ORIGINAL
A man holds a microphone while on a stage as many people standing look on, some holding phones recording in the air.
3 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Rap artist Vanilla Ice performs for an excited crowd during the Freedom Fest celebration June 23, 2023, at Phantom Warrior Stadium at Fort Cavazos, Texas. (Photo Credit: Photo by Blair Dupre, Fort Cavazos Public Affairs) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT CAVAZOS, Texas — With just over 24 hours left until the Great Place holds its annual Freedom Fest celebration in commemoration of the Independence Day holiday, Soldiers and military family members are anxiously awaiting this year’s lineup of events.

The crew of the Great Big Podcast sat down with representatives from the Fort Cavazos Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation to talk about why the celebration is such an anticipated event.

“It’s great for the morale of our community and our Soldiers and for the quality of life,” said Norma Hernandez, DFMWR special events coordinator, “and at the end of the day, it will be filled with patriotism and fireworks. So, it’s good to bring it back.”

Dr. Peter Craig, director of DFMWR, agreed.

“It’s an opportunity to kick back, relax and enjoy the freedoms they all fight for. Take the afternoon and the evening off and just revel in the freedoms that we have,” he said.

A huge draw of the event is the musical performances and this year’s lineup features award-winning singer-songwriter Gavin Degraw, country group Parmalee and emerging artists Alto Moon, YSA and Matias.

Craig explained this year’s event features two stages, one within the stadium and one in the parking, so patrons can listen to live music while getting food or visiting vendors, a concept he says was modeled after the Austin City Limits Music Festival, and a first for Freedom Fest.

“It’s the first time we’ve done it,” he said. “So, it’s going to be interesting, it’s going to be fun. The music won’t be overlapping, so you’ll be able to hear one or the other. It’s a great concept, and we’re hoping that it’s received well.”

In addition to music that showcases a myriad of genres, the festival features more than a dozen different vendors selling everything from tacos and burgers to ice cream and funnel cakes.

Patrons can look forward to organized children’s activities courtesy of Fort Cavazos Child and Youth Services, including face painting, arts and crafts, lawn games, ceramics and rock painting. Some new additions include rock climbing, a four-station bungee trampoline and inflatable axe throwing.

Craig explained having the event prior to the holiday benefits Soldiers and their families.

“We do it so we give our Soldiers and our families an opportunity to enjoy their own Fourth of July events in the local community,” he said. “This way our folks, if they split their time between it, they can come and enjoy ours, and they can enjoy the local community on the Fourth of July itself.”

Freedom Fest kicks off at 4 p.m. June 28 at Phantom Warrior Stadium. If guests can’t park at the stadium, there is limited parking at the Clear Creek Commissary and Military Clothing and Sales.

Courtesy six-person golf carts will pick up and drop off at the stadium entry/exit, in the commissary parking lot, Bldg. 50001, and between Military Clothing and Sales and Community Events and Bingo Center.

Patrons who prefer to trek to the venue can use the well-lit walking path starting from the east side of the Military Clothing and Sales parking lot.

Some do’s and don’ts to remember:


• Prepare in advance to secure a visitor’s pass on post if needed.

• Bring water, sunscreen and bug repellent.

• Bring chairs, umbrellas and blankets.

• Take advantage of the cooling stations at the venue.


• Bring tents.

• Bring alcohol.

• Bring pets.

• Bring grills.

A full list of permitted and prohibited items, as well as an itinerary for the event is available at

Craig said although the event is just once a year, the support for military families is ever present.

“(The event) is just really reinforcing everything that we always do,” Craig expressed. “MWR — we’re in the business of supporting our Soldiers and our families, and that’s what we do every day throughout the year. It’s our chance to say thank you.”