If you're cataloging the current weekend warriors of Austin's Red River Cultural District, the glossary might look something like Hot Summer Nights. This year's huge lineup, some 140 acts, populates the live, original music alternative to Sixth Street weekly, but for the next four days, they perform free. The eight participating venues – Barracuda, Cheer Up Charlies, Elysium, Empire Control Room, Mohawk, Scratchouse, Stubb's, and Swan Dive – present marquee homegrown talent including ...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead, Peelander-Z, Holy Wave, Mobley, Mélat, and Magna Carda, but as Mohawk Marketing Manager Taylor Catherine recommends, "It's about discovery."
Increased sponsorship helped the 28-year-old market the event, now in its third year. Catherine has watched the backing Red River Cultural District Merchants Association grow since its 2016 founding by venue owners to include hotels, restaurants, and organizations like Waller Creek Conservancy. Upping foodie participation, board member Faraz Vohra of Seventh Street truck Shawarma Point coordinated a 20% discount at all district eateries for the weekend.
Catherine hopes to establish the festival as a summer staple in Austin. This year, Barracuda hosts a Feels So Good vinyl & clothing fair on Sunday at 2pm, and Mohawk's annual Quesoff commences at 1pm on Saturday.
"It's growing into a community block party," enthuses Catherine.
Like January counterpart Free Week, HSN distributes funds among participating venues (see "A Tale of Two Red River Fests," Jan. 4). Brodie Elkins, co-owner of Scratchouse, says sponsorship dollars "level the playing field." After serving as general manager, the 24-year-old purchased the bar last fall.
"By coming together as venue owners and getting funding, [Scratchouse] can book a bunch of great bands that we typically wouldn't be able to," explains Elkins, whose space previously housed Holy Mountain. "It brings out a new crowd that hasn't been to this venue in a long time."
Following Catherine's advice, here are 10 homegrown acts to discover this weekend.
Digital Tip Jars will be distributed to 10 local musicians for Austin's new "Tip the Band" program. Of over 100 applicants, the guinea pigs are: Atash, Church on Monday, Derek Phelps, Gina Chavez, the Human Circuit, Jackie Venson, Kathy & the Kilowatts, Superfónicos, the Watters, and Will Southern. Try it out at their shows starting August 1. In a press release, Music & Entertainment Division Manager Erica Shamaly wrote: "Research shows additional steps, like opening an app and searching for an account, decreases the likelihood of fans following through on tipping. This pilot will be an invaluable opportunity to see if this tool works to add more income to musicians' existing compensation."
Random Celebrity Encounters: Earlier this month, Shakira joined Austin company High Brew Coffee's star-studded list of investors, including Halsey and Kings of Leon. The pop legend approached the company after learning that they source beans from her home country of Colombia. Last week, Beyoncé dropped a video for "Spirit," featuring custom facial jewelry by local artist Nina Berenato. Dancers wore Berenato's gold "lioness masks" alongside similar pieces from Senegal brand Tongoro.
Klondike Steadman, prominent local music educator, offers his third book, Loving Practice, Developing Discipline: A Guide to Turning Music Lessons Into Life Lessons. The heartfelt read, available on Amazon, follows the recent opening of Steadman's second Orpheus Academy of Music location in Cedar Park.
Austin Terror Fest, whose third iteration in June behind headliners including Panopticon, Church of Misery, and Alcest broke out the festival beyond local borders, rebranded last Friday as Oblivion Access, emerging from under the Northwest Terror Fest umbrella as an independent event. Co-booker Dusty Brooks reports having locked down one major 2020 headliner already.
Copyright © 2021 Austin Chronicle Corporation. All rights reserved.