Top Music Moments

Shake-ups, shut downs and shuffles: Austin's defining 2013 music moments

Photo courtesy of ACL
KUTX Studio 1A Patty G Robert Plant
Photo by Filipa Rodrigues
Austin Photo Set: jon_antones farewell_march 2013_9
Photo by Jon Shapley
Margaret Moser at the AMP Ungala
Photo by Jon Shapley
ACL Festival 2013 Weekend 2 Day 1 4825
Photo by Charlie L. Harper III
Dale Watson at Ginny's Little Longhorn
Photo courtesy of ACVB
Doug Sahm
Courtesy of Doug Sahm / Facebook

2013 was a defining year for the Live Music Capital of the World. Festivals grew, festivals were canceled. There were honky-tonk shakeups, club relocations, and a few legendary performances in the mix. We've culled together the biggest Austin music moments of 2013, which prove that our city is moving forward without forgetting its past.

Presented chronologically, our list starts with a new sound hitting the airwaves and ends with the remembrance of a true local legend. 

A new "Music Experience" hits the dial

On January 2, 2013, KUTX 98.9 FM hit the local airwaves. The sister station to KUT 90.5 FM, KUTX is revered for its inventive local programming and intimate performances from Studio 1A. 

Another claim to fame? It's also the permanent radio home to the one and only John Aielli.

The Antone's shuffle

The new year started off with some rough news for famed blues club Antone's. In January, the club's Fifth Street home was purchased and its future remained uncertain. Post-SXSW, Antone's relocated to East Riverside, but the tide would soon change again.

In November, the club was purchased by new owners who plan to reincarnate Antone's in the downtown corridor. The final East Riverside show will take place on December 31, 2013 — the future home of the blues is, for now, undisclosed. 

Unsung music heroes find the spotlight

In April, Austin Music People (AMP) turned the spotlight on the behind-the-scenes heroes of Austin music with its first ever UnGala. The event honored recording studios, sound engineers, poster designers and promoters.

Also presented was the Esme Barerra Award for Music Activism and Education, a tribute to a friend of Austin music who was taken too soon. 

Paul McCartney finally plays Austin

Beatlemania swept Austin in May when Paul McCartney played two sold-out shows at the Frank Erwin Center. 

“I’m just gonna take a moment to drink it in for myself,” McCartney said of the performance that was a truly retrospective trip through the legend’s decades long career.  

The Broken Spoke survives infringing development

Monstrous construction surrounding the Broken Spoke meant a new parking lot — and paved sidewalks — for the iconic honky-tonk in June. Despite its new surroundings, the spirit of the Spoke lives on. 

“We’re kind of like the Alamo, we got big buildings all around us, but we’re still the Broken Spoke,” said owner James White. “We’ve been here for 48 full years. Folks may be overwhelmed by the buildings, but once they come inside, they know they’re in a real honky-tonk.”

Flooding cancels the final day of ACL Fest

Austin City Limits Music Festival was forced to cancel the final day of its two-weekend event in October due to flash flooding. The first ever cancellation of the festival meant thousands of festival-goers were issued refunds — and none would groove to Sunday's headliner, Lionel Richie. 

Red River becomes a cultural district

On October 17, 2013, the Austin City Council declared the area around Red River Street an official cultural district. The district, which is home to many a music venue, runs from the 600 to 800 blocks of Red River. The declaration will help to preserve the area for cultural interests and curb development.  

Ginny's Little Longhorn reopens with the help of a friend

After abruptly closing in August (and ruffling the feathers of Chicken Shit Bingo fanatics), Ginny's Little Longhorn Saloon reopened in November, thanks to the help of country crooner Dale Watson. A longtime performer at the tiny club, Watson paid for renovations that allowed the venue to reclaim its title as one of Austin's favorite honky-tonks. 

Documentary honors Sir Doug Sahm

On November 18, 2013, a documentary sizzler honoring Doug Sahm premiered at the Cactus Cafe. The proposed film would highlight the music pioneer's unmatched influence on the Austin scene.

"It's time to let folks who have no idea who this Sahm character was/is appreciate one of the most beautiful cats to have graced a stage in Austin," said Joe Nick Patoski of the proposed documentary, which was shown on the 14th anniversary of Sahm's death.