For a lot of people, last year's Austin Music Awards is time-stamped as the final public outing they enjoyed before the pandemic hit.
Back in the fall, when we first started talking about this year's AMAs, we sure liked the idea of the 2021 ceremony marking a kind of welcome back to being together again, a post-vaccine party to celebrate getting through a grueling 12 months. What sweet symmetry that might have been.
It wasn't meant to be.
So what did we do instead to celebrate the music artists and industry workers who won the annual Austin Chronicle Music Poll? Same thing everybody else has been doing this past year: We got crazy creative.
Music Editor Raoul Hernandez and staff writer Kevin Curtin cooked up a marvelous idea – why not bombard winners at their own homes, Publishers Clearing House-style? The idea grew from there (oversized prop checks were a must, naturally). Our marketing and art departments got busy building it out. Our friends at Arts + Labor came on as creative collaborators. The participation of the Society for the Preservation of Texas Music, title sponsor Capital Metro, and a host of other sponsors enabled us to cut $500 checks for every winner.
On Monday of this week, Kevin put on a bow tie, climbed in his 1995 Dodge Ram 3500 van (redubbed "the Winner Wagon" by Digital Coordinator Tamar Price), and started hand-delivering winner plaques and those comical checks. Arts + Labor filmed the whole thing, staff photographer David Brendan Hall took stills, and we've been blasting the videos out "almost live" over social media. As I type this, we're on day two, and I'm starting to worry Kevin's voice is going to give out. But the good cheer he's spreading – of that, he seems to have a limitless supply.
You can find all the footage at austinchronicle.com/ama, and read profiles of the winners. Seek out their music – buy some merch if you can! – and save the date for sometime next March. We'll get the party started again then.
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