Outdoor Austin concert crops up to aid Texas farms after winter storms

Outdoor Austin concert crops up to aid Texas farms after winter storms

Dreamland Dripping Springs
Dreamland is hosting a benefit concert for local farmers. Photo by Matt Lankes

Texas farms crippled by the recent winter storm are getting some relief, thanks to a few of Austin’s most notable musicians and brands.

The Texas Strong Relief Concert, scheduled to take place from 3 to 10 pm on March 13 at new outdoor entertainment venue Dreamland in Dripping Springs, will benefit the Texas Farmer Winter Storm Relief fund, with all profits from ticket sales and donations providing assistance to small- and medium-sized farms throughout Texas affected by the storm.

Beloved Austin artists Bruce Robison and Kelly Willis will headline the concert, with other Austin faves, including Jackie Venson, Ray Prim, Sir Woman, and Rochelle & the Sidewinders, also taking to the outdoor stage in support of Texas’ family farms and ranches.

In terms of dishing out the funding, priority will be given to farmers of color and those using sustainable and organic farming methods. Money raised will also support future disaster-relief work and ongoing climate adaptation for farmers, according to an event release.

The fund was created by a coalition of Texas farm organizations in the wake of the worst winter storm in Texas’ history, which, in addition to paralyzing the energy and water infrastructure, dealt a particularly devastating blow to the small farms and ranches that provide the majority of the state's agricultural resources.

“Farmers and ranchers all across the state lost field crops, animals, eggs, and seedlings to the freeze,” says Carolina Mueller, president of the Central Texas Young Farmers Coalition, which is part of the steering committee for the Texas Farmer Winter Storm Relief fund. “Irrigation and greenhouse infrastructure buckled under the cold and snow. This disaster is a symptom of a larger problem, a lack of resources and support for small and medium-sized independent family farms. But as hard as we have been hit, our farming community is meeting this moment by coming together even harder. The recovery process will be long and challenging, but we will build back stronger together.”

Other local organizations partnering for the benefit concert include Dreamland, Richard’s Rainwater, Deep Eddy Vodka, Texas Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association, Well Aware, Blue Norther Live (former ACL Music Fest director Lindsey Sokol’s new event production company), Urban American Farmer, and the Central Texas Food Bank, which is also hosting a food drive leading up to and during the event.

Tickets for the event are currently on sale, with general admission tickets recently lowered to $50 and including free beverages, mini golf, and parking. VIP tickets are now available for $200 and include reserved premium concert seating, table service, access to a back-of-house VIP lounge and private bathrooms, free beverages, free food, mini golf, and parking.

Organizers are quick to point out that the outdoor event will strictly follow CDC guidelines, and a rapid COVID-19 test will be required for all staff and attendees before they can enter the venue unless they supply a vaccination card. That testing will be provided free of charge. Other safety measures for the socially distanced event include maintaining a 50-percent capacity at the 64-acre venue, public surface areas getting sanitized at regular intervals, and staff hygiene and health being monitored.

The event is one of many grassroots efforts recently developed by Austin organizations to aid Texas farms ravaged by the winter storm.

Chef Andre Molina of Aviary Wine & Kitchen and chef Zechariah Perez of Sour Duck are also teaming up to provide support to two area farms that experienced heavy crop loss during the storm.  

On March 9 and 10 starting at 2 pm, Aviary and Sour Duck will host a collaborative burger pop-up at Aviary’s 2110 S. Lamar Blvd. location, with all proceeds benefiting Fredericksburg farm Hat & Heart, as well as VRDNT Farms.

The event will feature three different gourmet burgers ($12 to $15), which all come with a side of fries and are available for takeout and patio dining. Selections from Aviary’s wine list and non-alcoholic beverages will also be on hand. And burgers will be available until the pop-up sells out.

The pop-up will also adhere to strict safety guidelines, with organizers noting, “No mask, no entry, no burger, no wine.”