South by Southwest returned in March with a scaled-down but generally well-acquired occasion, and we’ll obtain out following 7 days who’s taking part in this fall’s Austin Metropolis Boundaries Audio Pageant. But various lesser Central Texas audio fests are also obtaining back again into a groove this calendar year after an extended pandemic hiatus.
On its ranch in Tilmon just south of Lockhart, Aged Settler’s Music Competition held its 1st standard springtime event considering the fact that 2019 previous month. Outdated Settler’s was dormant in 2020 and also skipped the spring of 2021, ultimately having back into motion final fall with a four-day fest in Oct that featured typically community and regional acts.
This year’s competition highlight was bluegrass legend Del McCoury, who served as artist in home and performed quite a few situations for the duration of the April 21-24 operate. A Friday evening performance on the major phase proved McCoury and his band (that includes sons Ronnie and Rob) remain at the forefront of bluegrass audio, highlighting a working day that also provided performances by neighborhood favorites Sir Female and Brownout as well as North Carolina alt-region band American Aquarium.
It was not a specified that Outdated Settler’s would endure the pandemic crack. The festival’s board of administrators laid off director Jean Spivey in 2020. Board President Diana Harrell booked the 2021 drop pageant on an interim basis new recruit Talia Bryce assisted her and then took above as director to ebook this year’s lineup. The fest also just lately hired Josh Ball as functions director.
Outdated Settler’s was scaled-down in scope this 12 months, compared to an ambitious 2019 growth that showcased Grammy-successful headliners Brandi Carlile and Jason Isbell. That was partly owing to a small lead time: Options solidified for the April festival just as the omicron wave of COVID-19 commenced to subside in excess of the winter season.
That intended missing out on some acts who ordinarily would’ve fit the festival’s plan properly. Grammy-successful singer-songwriter Sarah Jarosz, who grew up in Wimberley, has a extensive record with Outdated Settler’s and was touring the space in mid-April, but she booked gigs at Austin’s 04 Heart and New Braunfels’ Gruene Hall this time by.
“We’re just kind of finding back on our ft as everything’s opening up again,” mentioned Bryce, who’d earlier manufactured a small festival termed Farmgrass in close by Niederwald. “We place the whole competition collectively in about 3 and a 50 % months.”
Over-all attendance was down as a result of the additional modest bookings, but Old Settler’s depends largely on longtime fans who’ve been camping at the festival for yrs (or even a long time). Individuals patrons loaded the campgrounds with tents and RVs. Right after several hours, numerous campers created the rounds between official and unofficial jam sessions. Camping parts ended up wired for electric power for the duration of the pandemic crack, which minimized the need to have for noisemaking generators.
“It was a really fantastic vibe out there,” Bryce said. “Everybody was truly joyful to be again to our April dates and have it experience like a normal festival once again.”
Bryce acknowledged that the festival’s 2018 go to its present-day site immediately after more than a 10 years at the Salt Lick Pavilion in Driftwood has adjusted the character of the event.
“We are a very little bit farther out from Austin,” she mentioned. “Our regulars who have been coming for years are as potent as at any time. But folks coming out for the day from Austin, that is variety of distinctive now. So we are wanting at it a minor otherwise, and observing what helps make perception.”
Among the the festival’s ideas for the long run is to rent out the property for utilizes further than Old Settler’s. “There will be other functions all through the 12 months — festivals, weddings, distinct forms of points that we want to convey out to this property,” Bryce stated. “We’re a number of actions away from that the up coming move will be creating some additional lasting infrastructure.”
They’re also actively trying to find sponsorships. Lockhart establishment Black’s BBQ sponsored the primary stage in 2018 and 2019, as very well as last fall’s fest, but its emblem was significantly absent from the stage in April. Bryce said the festival had a 3-12 months deal with Black’s, which opted to concentration its advertising attempts this spring on a 90th-anniversary bash which is established for May 14.
It’s possible Black’s will return subsequent calendar year. “We would adore to have them back again,” Bryce said. “But there is prospect for other sponsors to come in, for stage sponsorships and over and above.”
Other Central Texas festivals also are getting back again in the groove this 12 months following hard pandemic breaks. In the Hill Country, Kerrville Folk Competition will rejoice its 50th anniversary with a total return to its classic 18-working day operate at Peaceful Valley Ranch May well 26-June 12. Performers incorporate Shawn Colvin, Edie Brickell & New Bohemians, Kathleen Edwards, Jackie Venson and David Ramirez.
Float Fest, a river-tubing and new music weekend in Gonzales, just lately unveiled an impressive lineup for July 23-24 that includes Chance the Rapper, Vampire Weekend, Cage the Elephant, CHVRCHES and much more.
And Utopia Fest, which moved a few yrs in the past to Reveille Peak Ranch in Burnet, has introduced an Oct. 14-15 celebration showcasing Shovels of Rope, Victor Wooden, Sir Girl, Erin Ivey and other people.