The 36th annual Austin Music Awards ceremony was held at the ACL-Moody Theater last week. The evening’s hosts were KUTX DJs Laurie Gallardo and Rick McNulty. Charlie Sexton was again tapped to be the musical director and as usual, he led an excellent show. Proceeds from the event benefited the Sims Foundation, a local non-profit which provides mental health and addiction recovery services to musicians and their families.
Alejandro Escovedo likes to celebrate his January birthday with concerts at the ACL-Moody Theater. And Bill and I like to attend these concerts. Each show has been unique: a tribute to Leonard Cohen, the Austin music scene, and Alejandro’s own music including a hurricane sequence. All have been very entertaining.
Last week Bill and I attended the induction ceremony for the 2017 Austin City Limits Hall of Fame. This always-popular event at the ACL Moody Theater quickly sold out, so we were lucky to get tickets. No photography was permitted, so I was only able to take photos before and after the actual show.
Texas Strong: Harvey Can’t Mess with Texas was an appropriate name for Friday’s benefit concert at the Frank Erwin Center on the UT campus. The first hour of the concert was streamed on YouTube and broadcast on some Texas TV stations. Proceeds went to the Dell Foundation’s Rebuild Texas fund. As of this writing, over $70M had been raised to help those affected by Hurricane Harvey.
Last weekend our city hosted the 7th annual HONK!TX festival of community street bands. Eleven of the 25 bands were from Austin. On Friday evening, the bands played along South Congress. Saturday afternoon’s festivities centered around Adams Hemphill Park and Spider House Cafe. Sunday morning’s parade was cancelled due to thunderstorms, but the front moved through quickly, and an All Band Revue was held in Pan Am Park.
Yesterday was HAAM Benefit Day, an annual fundraising day for the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians. HAAM is a non-profit that helps local musicians gain access to affordable healthcare services. Over 200 groups performed at various locations to raise awareness and much-needed funds. A long list of local businesses also contributed at least 5% of their receipts for the day.
The Big Squeeze is usually an annual competition for teenage accordion players, but this year a tenth anniversary concert was held on the plaza in front of the Bob Bullock Texas History Museum. I think this was partly due to a change in coordinators at the sponsoring organization, Texas Folklife. The concert was not well-attended, probably because it conflicted with the Pecan Street Festival and the O. Henry Pun-Off.
Community street bands from across the US—plus one from Russia—gathered in Austin last weekend for the sixth annual HONK!TX. Over 25 bands participated in the three-day festival. I watched the Saturday afternoon performances centered in and around Hemphill Park, including stages at the nearby Spider House Cafe and Ballroom and Wheatsville Co-op.
Now in their 105th season, the Austin Symphony performs at Dell Hall in The Long Center. The orchestra performs classical programs about one weekend per month from September through June. Their season includes three other concerts (The Messiah, Halloween, and Young Composers) as well as four Pops performances (most recently, Lights, Camera…the Oscars!). They also play free concerts on July 4th and on Sunday evenings in the summer. Peter Bay has directed the Austin Symphony for 18 years.