Faster Than Sound: Headlines from One Year in Limbo: A Flurry of Industry Activity in a Reopening Scene – Music

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Gary Clark Jr. at the Moody Amphitheater at Waterloo Park in August (Photo by David Brendan Hall)

Austin Music spent much of the year in limbo, and here we are again – we’re holding our breath as a handful of sets and events are being canceled due to Omicron. Instead of being defined by an album or show, the local music headlines of 2021 are creeping at a tight pace with national events.

As COVID raged, concerts were canceled, a tedious up and down continuum. When Texas saw an unprecedented frost in February, musicians and production workers were handing out vital supplies. In April, with the availability of vaccines, advocacy took place Austin Texas musician dosed musicians at the Pershing while Health Alliance for Musicians from Austin vaccinated members in there Emos.

In time for the return of a largely maskless live touring economy in the fall, many major clubs have a truce with the Texas Commission on Alcoholic Drinks under slippery protocol: concerts require new negative COVID-19 tests across the board and accept vaccination records as an alternative, with cards always mentioned second in the infographic.

The Limbo Year stuck to a quote from ACL Live at the Moody Theater Chief Executive Officer Colleen Fischer Speaking of planned tours in March: “It’s a moving target, unfortunately. We’re doing our best to navigate it. We’re still postponing shows. We’re still booking shows.”

The former location of Music Lab in St. Elmo (Photo by John Anderson)

Lost music rooms

The lost music events of the year include the BARn on Brodie Lane, that local community, Dry Creek Café & Boat Launch, and Nutty brown amphitheater (whose owners plan to open a new Round Rock concept). Otherwise also closed in 2021 Groover’s Paradise record store, HiFi heaven Sound gallery, and Music laboratory‘s last location on St. Elmo. An indicator of Elon MuskWith the growing presence in Austin, the latter became a popular music incubator Tesla Showroom and service center.

When asked about the feasibility of running a rehearsal room, the Music Lab secretary answered Joe Cabela told that timeline: “I think it will be difficult within the city limits. Building costs and market rents make it difficult.”

The parish was abruptly closed in October after the owner Matt Reppert changed the locks and boarded windows without warning, according to a lawsuit filed by the venue’s owners. The lawsuit sought more than $ 1 million in damages and alleged the landlord had “hatched a plot to take over the business.” Lakeside, Dry Creek Cafe hosted one last Shindig on Halloween after long-time owners Jay “Buddy” Reynolds sold the 68-year-old dive bar despite the fans’ rally.

In the Concourse project in September (Photo by John Anderson)

An influx of openings

With the resurgence of live music, an influx of new venues made pandemic-delayed debuts. The cavernous Concourse project started booking big names in dance and electronics near the airport in June. Public green spaces by day and 5,000-person space by night, Waterloo Park‘S Atmospheric amphitheater started doing major touring acts in collaboration with promoters in August C3 gifts.

In other opening updates, Long play lounge founded a second location in E. Cesar Chavez, formerly in 1910 Stay gold. Captain Quackenbush’s coffee house opened a 100-cap room in the former South Austin home Weird brew. Dance club with murals Outer Heaven Disco Club occupied 1808 E. 12th, which once housed Dozen street and Association 1808.

Right off the Burnet, North Austin stop Love bike records opened in April owned by Mike Nicolai, known as a longtime house sound engineer at hole in the wall. Breweries also provided top notch outdoor stages, including expanded bookings Central machine works and Meanwhile brew.

Effects of the astro world

ScoreMore, an Austin-based manufacturing and promotion company owned by Live nation, came under the microscope after November Astroworld Festival Tragedy in Houston. The event is considered one of the deadliest concerts in US history, killing 10 and injuring dozens. A state task force led by Texas Music Bureau director Brendon Anthony – including security experts, police and fire officers, government agencies like TABC and unspecified music industry leaders – have started meeting to prepare a concert safety report.

The virtual Congress Avenue for SXSW Online

Who Owns Austin Industry?

After a virtual edition of the flagship festival in March, From south to southwest announced a new major investor in April. owner of Rolling Stone, poster, diversityand more, media screen P-MRC Acquired 50% of the shares in Austin. The partnership secured the finances during the time SXSW was Managing Director Roland Swenson called “an incredibly tough time for small businesses, including SXSW.”

Austins Keeled scales Partnership with prominent Illinois imprint Polyvinyl open a joint local office in May. Polyvinyl acquires a 25 percent stake in the local label and handles direct-to-consumer fulfillment, while Keeled Scales retains creative control. And in June the members of the concert promotion team behind them Margin Walker and Transmission events debuted new event company Hall presents under Graham Williams‘ Property.

The venues also changed hands: Ryman Hospitality Properties, Owner of Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium and the Grand Ole Opry, renewed plans to acquire the flagship Austin venue ACL Live at the Moody Theater. Spider House Ballroom renamed to “only”The ballroom“under new ownership by Chris Baker, Owner of Arlos vegetable food.

The end of a 10 year management contract between KUT / KUTX and UT Austin led to layoffs of Cactus cafe Manager Matt Muñoz and deputy managing director Amy Chambless. The venue was reduced to trivia, open microphones and less than a dozen booked artists this fall semester, mostly organized by student groups Events + entertainment headliners.

Local and government funding for venues

After lobbying in 2020, local and state facilities for venues were introduced this year. The city of Austin-founded Preservation of the live music venue The fund has allocated $ 5 million to local music events as part of the COVID-19 relief effort. As part of the Phase 1 contingency funding, 74 local venues received initial payments of $ 20,000, which were immediately distributed through the urban partner Long middle. In Phase 2 of the program, 28 clubs received major ongoing grants.

Many Austin venue owners hoped the local fund would complement the country’s greater support Grant for Shuttered Venue operators – also known as Save our stages. After many delays Small business administration was awarded over $ 11.3 billion in the summer, of which over $ 130 million was awarded to 108 Austin-based live music and performing arts companies. According to data released in October, the top five amounts went to Texas Performing Arts from UT-Austin. Messina touring group, from south to southwest, Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar, and Alamo Drafthouse Lakeline.

Chencho Flores (Photo by John Anderson)

In remembrance

Numerous key figures in Austin music took up twelve months. Alphabetical:

Nanci Griffith on the cover of The Austin Chronicle in the year 2005

Austin Music Network programmer Kent Benjamin, local conjunto elder Chencho Flores, masterful blues guitarist Denny Freeman, esteemed folk and country song maker Nanci Griffith, poignant punk musician Brandon Hamilton, generous ABGB Co-founder Mark Jensen, formerly, formerly Little Longhorn Saloon owner Ginny Kalmbach, esteemed jazz drummer Scott Laningham, influential bass player Yoggie Musgrove, industry leading sound engineer Rupert Neve, powerful concert promoter /backyard and Austin Music Hall owner Tim O’Connor, harmonica great Paul Oscher, psychedelic visionary /Janis Joplin Bandmate Powell St. John, Boogie woogie pianist Gene Taylor, pioneering music journalist Ed Ward, Last but not least Broken spoke patriarch James White.

The last time I spoke to White in July 2020, he was thinking about the pandemic: “I don’t want this damn virus to kill live music, whether it’s country or rock or blues or whatever. It’s just a bloody shame … you can listen to it on TV or the radio, but nothing beats watching live music and let the music take you where it takes you. You can’t be the live music capital if you don’t have music. That makes sense to me! “


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