Live music, gallery showings and a Stand With Austin donation drive are a go for Austin’s Art Community
Despite South by Southwest’s cancellation over Coronavirus fears a number of events will continue in Austin’s art community this weekend.
Each March, thousands of people descend on Austin, TX, to attend South by Southwest, one of the world’s largest celebrations of live music and artistic culture.
Unfortunately, this year will be different.
At the insistence of the City of Austin, festival organizers canceled SXSW for the first time in 34 years.
“We are devastated to share this news with you,” SXSW leaders said in announcing the cancellation. “‘The show must go on’ is in our DNA, and this is the first time in 34 years that the March event will not take place. We are now working through the ramifications of this unprecedented situation.”
The cancellation of the massive, nine-day event, has locals—and the thousands expected to fly in even though the festival is a no-go—rallying around Austin’s creative community. Since SXSW’s start in 1987, Austin’s art community, including musicians, artists, mom-and-pop shops, restaurants and bars, pull out all the stops deliver an epic festival.
Here are a few ways to celebrate Austin’s uniquely creative culture outside of SXSW itself:
1) Cosmic Coffee & Beer Garden
If you’re looking for a chance to combine live music with getting a true, authentic taste of Austin culture, stop by Cosmic Coffee & Beer Garden.
From March 18 through 22, the coffee and beer garden will spotlight the best of local music. The folks from independent station Sun Radio Sessions will be on sight to provide all the deserved hype for the performers in the line up.
Cosmic is more than a quirky hangout. It’s a nationally recognized wildlife habitat providing shelter, water and food sources for a variety of creatures. While you’re enjoying the music at Cosmic’s outdoor stage, stroll through the premises to see the coffee and beer garden’s waterfall gardens, biological ponds, chicken coops and rainwater harvesting system.
2) Enjoy 50 bands over 5 days
Still Austin Distillery hosts this independent—completely free—music showcase from March 17 through 21. Attendees can hear some of the best emerging artists, both local and from afar. If visual art is more your style, the event will also feature live spray-painting.
And you’ll want to go thirsty; Still Austin has one of the most robust whiskey and gin menus in the city.
3) John Douglas – the man who paints rock ‘n’ roll
The work of world-renowned drummer and visual artist John Douglas will be on display at the Russell Collection of Fine Art from March 6 through 15. Douglas’ detailed sketches of rock ‘n’ roll icons are some of the most collected works among celebrities and music enthusiasts.
Douglas has performed with multi-platinum musicians including ZZ Top, Slash, Van Halen, and Bon Jovi. Stop by the Russell Collection of Fine Art gallery from 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday, March 14, to meet Douglas and hear some of his wild stories from life on the road.
4) Donate to keep Austin’s artists afloat
If you’re not headed to Austin this month, you can still support Austin’s art community. The Austin Community Foundation will host the Stand with Austin fund. It’s meant to encourage donations to help individuals and small business owners economically hit by SXSW’s cancellation.
Austin Mayor Steve Adler and Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt announced the Stand with Austin fund in a YouTube video this week.
“Now is the time that we should be going to restaurants, going to clubs, buying musicians’ merchandise, helping one another,” Adler said.
“We want to make sure everybody knows: it’s still safe and a wonderful thing to stand with Austin, to eat with Austin, to take ride-shares with Austin, and to go to shows with Austin,” Eckhardt added. “So y’all get out and enjoy yourselves.”
5) Austin’s Got Art, Music, Food, Tech, Biz & More…
Austin is a hotbed of a art, music, food, culture, business and technology year-round, especially in mid-March when SXSW comes to town.
Check out the full list of upcoming Austin events via the Austin EventBrite page, including: ProRodeo & Aaron Watson at Austin Rodeo (March 14), Africa House Day Party (March 15), Indie Fest Live Music Austin (March 17) and much, more.
Journalist and author Danielle Nadler grew up in South Dakota, where a patient writing teacher fostered in her a love for stories told well. She's worked for newspapers across the country and recently launched a storytelling company called Tales and Ales.