If Someone Burns Down My Fiddle, I'm Gonna Lose It
SAN ANGELO, TX — Fiddlestrings Bar & Patio, a Top 3 watering hole in San Angelo at 3301 Arden Rd., has become the target of online vitriol after it announced a promotion called “MAGA Mondays.”
MAGA is the slogan for the campaign of President Donald Trump and it stands for Make America Great Again. This didn’t sit well with a vocal group on social media.
Tessa Sanchez seemed to kick off the Fiddlestring’s bashing on Facebook with “BAN FIDDLE. IF YOU CONTINUE TO GO TO THIS BAR, delete me and block me back.” She tagged Four R Broadcasting program director for Mix 106.1 and Lonestar 92.9 FM Corey “CMO” Driscoll and 47 others. The comments became heated when one commenter, Chrissie Creech, announced that MAGA Mondays convinced her to patronize Fiddlestring’s more.
Faced down with virtue signaling from other posters in the thread, Creech seemed to walk back her MAGA support. “[E]very small business doesn’t have to agree with me. I still support them…”
Driscoll had posted a screen shot of an earlier Creech post in support for “MAGA.”
“It’s just nice to know where people stand,” he replied.
Driscoll in an interview Tuesday afternoon said he didn’t intend his words written in response to Creech to be taken as a threat. He said his radio station was fairly neutral ground in the political landscape, even though Driscoll identified himself as a liberal who thought Fiddlestring’s “MAGA” promotion was clumsy.
Driscoll’s employee, Gary Lara, Jr., who goes by the handle D.J. Dr. Dollaz during afternoon drive times on Mix 106 quickly disavowed his association with Fiddlestring’s, “because they don’t pay me,” he wrote. Driscoll said the remark was not because Fiddlestrings stiffed him for his off-hours DJ services. Instead, he was cut because, as Lara later explained, his “crowd wasn’t their style.”
Self-appointed community organizer Ailyn Barboza, who spent 5 minutes in a profanity-laced rage during what she claimed was a peaceful Black Lives Matter protest on Sunday in San Angelo, weighed in. She posted two Fiddlestring’s Facebook announcements, one describing MAGA Mondays and the other revised post, without the Trumpism, to shame Fiddlestring’s for changing the promotion to “American Made Mondays.”
“Only posting this for anyone who didn’t see it before they changed it,” she stated.
The reaction was fierce, loaded with the left’s cancel culture in full force. “I guess we know where our local KKK chapter meets up,” noted Sabrina Palacios.
The protests arising out of the video of the Minneapolis police actions against George Floyd, an African-American, that led to his death, have further divided the country, and now the city, into pro- and anti-Trump camps making even a casual cultural reference a wrong move.
Mike Harris, who purchased Fiddlesting’s in 2016, was not amused, but he was particularly concerned when messages came in with threats to burn his bar down or to harm his employees. To Harris, “MAGA” was a popular culture reference, not a political statement. How quickly “MAGA” became toxic in San Angelo took both Harris and Fiddlestring’s bar manager of 16.5 years, Deirdre Allen, by surprise.
“We make promotions every season,” explained Allen. “Texas Tuesdays, You Call It Thursdays, Wet Wednesdays,” she said. MAGA Mondays was a variation on Texas Tuesdays where drink specials revolve around Texas-made beer and whiskey. The MAGA Mondays would showcase American spirits.
“Proudly American beer,” Harris added.
“Look, I’m not going to apologize for anything, but we did change the name to American Made Mondays because I’m in the bar business, not the political business. We cater to all political parties and beliefs. I just don’t want someone to feel like we were endorsing anything or that anyone is unwelcome here,” he said.
Harris, who spent most of his life as a welder in the oil field, started working at Fiddlestring’s even before Deirdre as a part-time bartender. He welded most of the fencing around the famous backyard that became Fiddlestring’s cash cow when the City passed the indoor smoking ban a decade ago. You can still smoke outside, and Fiddlestring’s has the largest smoking area of all San Angelo bars, and it is even situated around an in-ground pool.
Harris and Allen said they never stopped paying the Fiddlestring’s staff during the COVID-19 shutdown that happened March 20. Now barely open at only a 25 percent capacity for a little over a week, they are concerned about the blowback from the Monday promotion.
“This was all about making America strong, coming back strong after the COVID,” Harris said. “This was not about alienation.”
“I’ve never kicked anyone out of here for wearing a ‘Feel the Bern’ t-shirt,” Allen added.
The headline is inspired by Fiddlestring’s patron Tresur Davidson. “If someone burns down Fiddle, I’m gonna lose my sh—. By far my favorite bar in San Angelo,” she wrote on Facebook.
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