Mary Jane Farmer
Scene In Town — Owner, writer, photographer, booking agent, and more
Buddy Magazine — Reporter
Overdrive Entertainment — Photographer
KHYI 95.3 — Photographer
Choctaw Casinos (Durant and Grant, Okla.) — Photographer
Although she had volunteered and been around music festivals for several years before, Mary Jane jumped into the music business with both feet in 1980, when she accepted the position of assistant Rod Kennedy, the producer for the world-wide acclaimed Kerrville Festivals in Kerrville, Texas.
It was a year-round, full-time job in which, during festivals, she was responsible for overseeing the 250 volunteers over 18 days of the big festival, and at several other events throughout the year, plus woking as each event’s business management, allowing producer Rod Kennedy the freedom to host the stage with ease. Together, the team also produced classical, bluegrass, folk, and country music festivals, and traveled and held festivals across Texas, the United States, and Mexico.
In 1986, Texas Governor Mark White invited Mary Jane to produce the state’s 7-stage, 2-day official Sesquicentennial Festival at San Jacinto Battleground State Park. She provided a representation of the music of every ethnic group that settled Texas, included superstars who made their home in Texas, and culminated that event by combining Willie Nelson and his band with the Houston Symphony.
Mary Jane has also been a booking agent and office assistant for several performers including Steve Young and Allen Wayne Damron; reviewer of songs for Tompal Glaser’s studio in Nashville; and a record distributor (both independent and with Polygram Records), all while holding down “real” jobs, including delving into the newspaper reporting business.
In 2001, after moving (in 1996) from Kerrville to Grayson County, Texas, Mary Jane became the police and fire beat reporter for the Sherman Herald Democrat. Three years later, she and fellow reporter Ken Studer convinced the paper to begin publishing more about live music, hence the birth of the “Texoma Live Music Scene.”
“I sat at home between 1996, when I moved to Van Alstyne from the very musically-active Kerrville and the Texas Hill Country, until 2004, not knowing there was so much incredible music in the area,” Mary Jane said. “No one had a comprehensive listing of nightly events until then.” Creating a calendar, along with providing features, became a focus interest/passion for Mary Jane.
Studer left the paper, and Farmer kept up with the newspaper’s music scene until the paper shrunk, as newspapers are doing, and the “Texoma Live Music Scene” was dropped. Quickly, she established SceneInTown.com to take up the slack, not wanting to let the musicians and venues down.
After leaving the newspaper in August 2012, Mary Jane again began dedicating all her time to the music business, bumping up music news and the live music calendar on SceneInTown.com as one way of letting the public know just how much incredible talent there is out there. She began working again as an event promoter, and enjoyed producing the music stage at the Grayson County Fair (Texas), naturally called “The Scene In Town Stage.”
She is also an accomplished photographer, taking most of her own pictures. Mary Jane is the photographer for all KHYI events, including the Shiner Rising Star contests, Cooler’n Hell Fest, Rusty Wier songwriting contests, and Texas Music Revolution; Overdrive Entertainment’s events in North Texas and southern Oklahoma; and numerous festivals and venues; Choctaw Casinos‘ national music concerts. Her pictures have also been used on several CDs; were published in East Texas Outdoors; in several books written by Vicki Penhall; and used for promo by countless musicians. She is a photographer at the Kerrville Festivals, back home where she had started decades earlier.
2013 was an even-busier-than-usual year. February saw Mary Jane joining the reporting staff for Buddy Magazine, the oldest music magazine in Texas. In March, she also began writing for North Texas Best Times Magazine. In October, she began working with singer/songwriter Tony Ramey, as she had many years previously for singer/songwriter Steve Young. She now works as booking agent for Mark Shelton & The Greater Good and The Buffalo Ruckus. She also books the live music for El Patio Escondido in Van Alstyne and the Wednesday night songwriter series at Loose Wheels Texas in Denison.
The online magazine, SceneInTown.com, is enjoying considerable success, as noted by the growing numbers of dedicated, repeat readers, many of whom return regularly to search its Live Music and Festival calendars, others for the feature stories and CD reviews, and many just for the numerous photographs.
Mary Jane Farmer, PO Box 1422, Van Alstyne TX 75495
My Space (for older photographs) — almost extinct now.