The iconography of Austin is vast, from the State Capitol building to the long-gone Armadillo World Headquarters, from the Slacker landmarks to that guy who always rides his bike around town in his thong. Dart Music International, a local non-profit tasked with the mission of “introduc[ing] people in our part of the world to the modern face of people and cultures from around the globe through cool indie/rock/pop music” may be the first to quantify and offer awards for these icons, with their appropriately-named Austin Icon Awards.
The awards, which debuted last year and honored luminaries like psychedelic music legend Roky Erickson and Austin City Limits executive producer Terry Lickona, announced their 2011 winners today. CultureMap got a sneak peek at the list.
It’s a good group: headlining the lineup is filmmaker Richard Linklater – honored as much for his work as the artistic director and founder of the Austin Film Society as for his creative achievements – along with Waterloo Records owner John Kunz, Health Alliance for Austin Musicians (HAAM) executive director Carolyn Shwarz, and House of Songs founder, Austin events promoter, and songwriter Troy Campbell.
The list ranges from the world-famous – Linklater films like Dazed & Confused and School Of Rock are beloved anywhere they have DVD players – to behind-the-scenes figures like Campbell, who’s been toiling in the trenches as an ambassador for Austin music for decades. That breadth and scope of the honorees is one of the cool things about this list. Activities like, say, cutting up a Waterloo Records bumper sticker and re-arranging the letters so that it says something else is a time-honored Austin tradition (not to mention poring over the bins at the store), and recognizing the person behind the icon is a worthwhile endeavor.
Similarly, Schwarz’s HAAM is one of the most worthy causes a purported Live Music Capitol can invest in, and works hard to solve a fundamental challenge in treating music not just as a hobby but as a way of life. Campbell’s production of the annual Roky Erickson Ice Cream Social during SXSW is part of what helped return the psych godfather to national prominence. Linklater’s promotion of not just his own films, but of a thriving, sustainable film culture in Austin has kept the city a hotspot in ways that now pays dividends, from Fantastic Fest to SXSW Film and more.
To honor the winners, the Austin Icon Awards will be held September 9th at another Austin icon: the original Austin City Limits studio on the University of Texas campus. In the interest of fulfilling Dart’s mission of introducing Austinites to global indie/rock/pop musicians, the awards features performances from England’s Viva City, New Zealand’s Jackie Bristow, and the locals in Speak. VIP ticket holders will get a chance to see Sahara Smith perform in a pre-show reception, as well. For tickets and more information, visit www.dartmusicinternational.org, or follow DMI on Twitter.