Photo by Daniel Cavazos

In an effort to amp up the vibes in the Live Music Capital of the World, some longtime champions of Austin’s music scene are fine-tuning a cherished local venue and simultaneously launching a new bar and listening lounge that’s sure to strike the right note with Austinites.

Independent concert promoter Heard Presents and live-music booking agency Resound announced Thursday, February 10 that the businesses will collaborate to rebrand and relocate one of Austin’s most noteworthy music venues — The Parish — from its home in the historic Sixth Street District to the near east side, and open an adjoining concept dubbed My Oh My.

The Parish, which will now be known simply as Parish, will move from its 214 E. Sixth St. location to 501 Brushy St., in the space that formerly housed the North Door. The COVID-19 pandemic caused that music venue to close in the fall of 2020. (It has since reopened in a smaller space at 500 San Marcos St.)

The new Parish venue and accompanying My Oh My bar and listening lounge concept — which the project’s partners are creating in the attached back area of the complex — are set to open March 10, just in time for South By Southwest.

The idea to refresh and relocate the Parish venue came about when the partners heard the North Door was closing and saw an opportunity to boost their collective booking, promoting, and branding business while also reviving the Brushy Street complex and concurrently breathing new life into the Parish brand.

And considering their combined experience, they’re hardly just playing it by ear; indeed, both companies are jam-packed with experts who have a storied history in the Austin music industry.

Central Texas-focused Resound was founded in 2021 by Graham Williams and Ian Orth, whose Margin Walker Presents shuttered in 2020. And Williams was also previously a partner in Transmission Entertainment and Austin’s Fun Fun Fun Fest.

Likewise, Stephen Sternschein and Dave Machinist, the co-founders of and brains behind Heard — which has long operated Austin’s Empire Control Room & Garage and The Parish — have been producing live music for the Austin community since 2012.

While the partners comprise a powerhouse group of Austin music industry pros, this is the first time they have partnered as owners of a venue.

“I’ve been in love with the 501 Brushy space for well over a decade. Being a native Austinite, I can remember when it was all soundstages back in the ’80s,” says Resound’s Orth. “It’s such a unique and special place, both in its feel and location. From throwing countless shows and DJ events there over the years, I’ve always dreamed of being able to transform the space into its full potential. To be able to finally have that dream realized with this team we have behind it is beyond exciting. Fully rebranding Parish and building My Oh My have also been a dream come true. It’s become a project I’m deeply passionate about and we can’t wait to share our vision with everyone.”

The new Parish venue will feature a 350-person capacity, a modernized look, and a lighting setup that should make for excellent photographic moments. The goal, the partners say, is to “create a vibrant and welcoming place that provides the kinds of experiences that fans and artists continue to come back for.”

Joining Parish at its new home is My Oh My, which aims to be “a small bar for big hangs” and will evoke a modern lounge vibe, with wood finishes, smoky mirrors, LED and neon lights, and a slew of colorful fixtures. More tweaks will be made to the décor and structure this year and next, according to a release.

The bar’s menu will include classic and batch cocktails, beer, and wine. Food will also be available from the kitchen connecting the complex out front. My Oh My will be open daily, and programming will be planned for the complex most nights of the week.

Additionally, Resound and Heard are partnering with Eastside Music School to incorporate AV recording capabilities into the space so it can be used as a soundstage.

“For the last 10 years, we’ve established ourselves as passionate music entrepreneurs who, at the core, want to sustain and enrich the community around us,” says Heard’s Machinist. “The rebirth of Parish on Brushy Street is our phoenix rising. We have the opportunity to create a space from all of the wisdom earned promoting and producing thousands of events in Austin. Doing this with expert partners like Graham and Ian makes it easy to transcend from visions of an ideal to a reality, and we couldn’t be more excited.”

The venue and new bar will open on March 10, with the already listed show featuring TWRP and Rich Aucoin as the first performance at the new spot. That show will be followed by performances from Soft Kill with Alien Boy and Topographies on March 22, Lala Lala on March 30, Chori Boy on April 4, Naked Giants with Wombo on April 7, and Carl Craig on May 6. More scheduled spring shows will be announced soon.

Official SXSW shows start March 14 and will be announced in the coming weeks. Any shows booked at the former Parish location after March 10 will take place at the venue’s new home. Additional shows, along with specifics about grand opening events, will be announced at parishaustin.com.

Parish will settle into its new location on the east side next month.

New Parish
Photo by Daniel Cavazos
Parish will settle into its new location on the east side next month.
Photo courtesy of Resound

Austin music scene champions reunite with resounding new venture

Walk it off

One of the unwelcome horsemen of the Austin music apocalypse was the permanent shuttering of ubiquitous independent concert promoter Margin Walker. Once the largest in Texas, it lost steam as concerts dried up.

Margin Walker isn’t coming back, but its three largest players — owner Graham Williams, creative director Ian Orth, and director of talent buying Rosa Madriz — are starting a grassroots venture in concert promoting and creative branding, aptly named Resound.

They’re joined by marketing manager Gab Soong, digital advertising administrator Zane Ruttenberg, and administrative bookkeeper Chanel Quinones. The new venture’s first booking is at the end of the summer, and in the meantime, the music maestros are taking their time rebuilding for sustainability.

“The world isn’t even open yet,” laughs Orth. “Let’s just pump the brakes.”

As the Austin music scene started getting its legs again, the former promoters began fielding requests from agents in their personal inboxes. Margin Walker left a void. Who could fill it better than the original team? It made most sense to start over, with a new mission informed by the catastrophe of the past year, and a better sense of how to prevent something similar from happening again.

“There’s a lot of lessons that we learned from Transmission [Events], and Fun Fun [Fun Fest], and Margin Walker,” Orth says. “We’re kind of approaching everything with a real new outlook towards not only the music industry, but creative society in general, how it can help our community.”

Orth, Williams, and Madriz have all been working in the music industry for more than 20 years, since they were in their teens. Orth was considering a pivot to graphic design, and the others were equally unsure of their futures. When lifelong agents started digging through long-past emails to reestablish communication, the solidarity motivated Orth and his partners.

They watched the community join together to help individual artists and service workers, and were especially inspired by Cody Cowan’s resilience as executive director of the Red River Cultural District. Photographers sent old photos to reminisce and express gratitude for past collaborations. Even Williams’ and Orth’s wives pushed them to start up again, if only just as an excuse to get out of the house.

Riding on the spirit of its organic origin, Resound is adopting a robust community outreach program that entails making conscious choices to work on social projects, and donating a percentage of ticket sales to a monthly cause. The team is preparing a more specific platform for accountability, but wants to remain responsive by keeping a relatively open process for selecting benefactors, from nonprofits to individual workers in the music and service industries.

Orth says the responsibility of a concert promoter, who makes a living drawing attention from the public, is to give that energy back. The role of the city, to him, is to protect this symbiotic exchange. He also points out that the health of the Austin music community rests on several small organizations, unlike the scenes on the East and West coasts that are littered with labels and massive opportunities.

Austin’s city-chosen tagline, Live Music Capital of the World, Orth says, “needs to be protected and defended, because ... it will evaporate and disappear quickly if it’s not. There’s a lot of things like HAAM and SIMS that so many other cities don’t have that I think need to be advertised more.”

Resound is an answer to these holes in the system, one Orth hopes can amplify artists to new levels of thriving. It has to be a tailored approach, he points out, as some bands and genres need more of a boost than others.

The company already has more than 40 shows booked, with sold-out dates for Arlo Parks, Beach Bunny, IDLES, and Bikini Kill. With fewer shows and venues than the late Margin Walker, Resound is assigning its expanded creative scope to tying the market to San Antonio. Hopefully, the “sister cities,” as he calls them, can work as allies and emerge together into a stronger, more unified cultural community.

Photo courtesy of Mardi Gras Galveston

Follow the beads to these Mardi Gras beats, bashes, and balcony parties in Galveston

Let the good times roll

It's that time of year when tourists descend upon Galveston — no, not for spring break — but to go crazy during the two weekends that make up Mardi Gras Galveston. While some gatherings are private, there are plenty of events where bead-bearing folk can respectfully get their party on.

If you'd rather forego the Mardi Gras crowds in New Orleans this year but still want to take part in parties and parades, point your car toward the popular Texas beach town. In a few hours, the good times will be rolling.

The parades
Expect myriad Mardi Gras parades, mostly going down in the Strand District. The weekend of February 22-24, there will be the George P. Mitchell Mardi Gras Award Parade (7 pm February 22), the 8th Annual Zaniest Golf Cart Parade (1 pm February 23), the Krewe D'iHeartMedia Art Car Parade (3 pm February 23), and the Fiesta Gras Parade (1 pm February 24).

The following weekend, there's the Danny Weber Memorial Fire Truck Parade (7 pm March 1), the Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler Parade (3:30 pm March 2), and the Krewe d'Esprit Rosaire Parade (11 am March 2) on Seawall Boulevard.

The entertainment
This weekend's Main Stage headliners are Texas country artist Pat Green (6 pm February 23) and Baton Rouge funk band Zaemon (10 pm February 23). Coming from Roma, Texas, Norteno band Duelo (2:30 pm February 24) will handle the music for Fiesta Gras.

Next weekend, Lone Star country stars Jason Cassidy (10:30 pm March 1) and Drew Womack (8:30 pm March 1) will headline a "Salute to Texas" show.

And, for the EDM-loving kids, there's also Electric Mardi Gras, where DJs will be keeping things loud on the Electric Stage at the intersection of 21st and Mechanic. The two big draws this year are Phoenix's Grey the Mute (9 pm February 23) and Austin's Buck Rodgers (11 pm February 23).

The balcony parties
Savvy locals know that half the fun is observing the events from the numerous balcony parties that'll also be going down. The Mardi Gras! Headquarters Balcony Party will be happening all through Mardi Gras at the Dargan & Tobyn Building. A Mardi Gras Mask-Making Party (5:30 pm February 21) will kick things off at the Galveston Arts Center.

The King's Court Balcony Party will be on both weekends at Trolley Station, while the Queen's Court Balcony Party will also be happening at the Trumpets Building. And fans of all things '80s might want to check out the 2019 Krewe of Thalasar '80s Mardi Gras Ball (5 pm February 22) at the Trumpets Building.


For more information on Mardi Gras Galveston parties, visit the official site.

Photo by Daniel Cavazos

Popular Austin music festival unexpectedly pulls the plug


Just as ACL Fest is getting underway, another anticipated Austin music festival has called it quits. On Friday, October 6, Sound on Sound Fest — the popular destination festival from the founder of Fun Fun Fun Fest — canceled its upcoming 2017 event.

"We are extremely saddened to announce today that Sound on Sound Fest 2017 is being canceled. This is one of the hardest decisions we have ever had to make. Due to several recent roadblocks outside of our control and in an effort to do right by our fans, the decision to cancel the event was our only real option," reads a statement released by the festival via email.

The second annual Sound on Sound was scheduled to take place November 10-12 at Sherwood Forest in McDade, Texas. Headliners included Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Iggy Pop, Grizzly Bear, and The Shins, along with Blood Orange, Pusha T, Washed Out, Kehlani, Vine Staples, Sleep, Taking Back Sunday, and more.

Festival organizers are working on rescheduling many of the acts slated to play the festival; in the meantime ticket holders will be refunded 100 percent of the ticket price.

"There are many acts who were touring through November 10-12 who are still performing, as well as a number of artists who will be flying back in for new dates this year. For all these rescheduled shows, fans who purchased Sound on Sound tickets will get the first chance to purchase single tickets to any makeup shows this fall," the statement says.

Those shows will go on sale to festival ticket holders October 16; they will be available to the public October 19.

The inaugural SOS Fest was held in November 2016. It was the first event of its kind at Sherwood Forest, a 23-acre, Renaissance-themed village located about an hour from Austin. The unique destination offered a well-rounded festival experience crafted by Graham Williams and his team at Margin Walker Presents.

"We truly love our fans," the statement concludes. "We appreciate you sticking by us while we work hard to make this right. Be on the lookout for new show announcements from Sound on Sound Fest artists and ticket links for these replacement shows."

Photo by Daniel Cavazos

The best music moments captured at Fun Fun Fun Fest

Song Stills

It almost seemed as though the 10th anniversary of Fun Fun Fun Fest was bound to be doomed. Arguably the most anticipated performer canceled due to illness. Then, a top comedian’s flight was canceled due to weather. Day two brought uncertainty as the festival awaited approval from the City of Austin to open the gates, unsure if rain would cause delays.

But in true music fashion, the show did go on, and Fun Fun Fun Fest did not disappoint in the slightest. Replacing the canceled D’Angelo show was the legendary Lauryn Hill; Tig Notaro’s standup show was rescheduled from day one to day two; and, eventually, music fans were let into the soggy festival grounds on the second day, causing almost no delays to the schedule.

We at CultureMap donned our best rainproof clothes and faced the fest head on to capture top music acts from around the world. From old school rock ‘n’ rollers to up-and-coming rappers and heavy metal wailers, FFF Fest managed to curate a unique — at times oddball — lineup of major music influencers and those just breaking into the game.

Grimes brings the energy to the blue stage during FFF Fest.

Fun Fun Fun Fest 2015 Grimes Claire Elise Boucher
Photo by Daniel Cavazos
Grimes brings the energy to the blue stage during FFF Fest.
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CultureMap Emails are Awesome

Charming Austin suburb is the fastest-growing city in the country, plus more top stories

hot headlines

Editor’s note: It’s that time again — time to check in with our top stories. From Georgetown to Brenham, and of course inside Austin proper, here are five articles that captured our collective attention over the past seven days.

1. Charming Austin suburb is the fastest-growing city in the country, with neighbors close behind. Georgetown had a 14.4-percent population increase from 2021 to 2022, bringing the city's total population to more than 86,500 residents.

2. Austin dethroned from top spot in new ranking of top summer travel destinations for 2023. Some Austinites are happy to hear the summer will be less crowded, but tourist revenue may suffer.

3. Lengendary Texas ranch resort makes waves on the market with $15 million price tag. It's a stretch to call it rustic, but this resort for sale includes horse stables, wildflowers, and an organic farm.

4. This is how big Austin apartments get for $1,500 a month. Unsurprisingly, it's not as much square footage as you can get elsewhere in Texas, but it's still not even close to Manhattan.

5. Here are the top 7 things to do in Austin this holiday weekend. The Memorial Day weekend brings chances to try great barbecue, take a walk with faeries, and hear lots of live music.

Dip your toes into these 7 Austin pools with passes, snacks, and summer events

Wet Hot Austin Summer

Memorial Day is here, which means so are the days of sitting in a lounge chair and sweating while looking unreasonably fabulous. Whether it's to beat the summer heat or to show off a new swimsuit, Austinites may have more options than they think to take a swim at the many pools around town. Even if you haven't committed to an overnight stay, most hotels offer day passes, and some even offer other deals or poolside programming.

One great way to find passes not just to pools around town, but also to spas and other hotel amenities, is to browse ResortPass. (Not sponsored, just cool.) There are 26 Austin options on the site right now.

But we wanted to let you know what's going on beyond the pass — who will set you up for a great meal, who lets you drink out of a coconut, and whose views (or lack thereof) provide the best ambiance for your day off. Some of our choices aren't even on the platform.

Go grab your sandals, and save us a towel.

Greater Austin YMCA
Let's start with the less glamorous before we break out the poolside fashion. The YMCA is a family staple for a reason, and if your goal is just to get in the water regularly throughout the summer, especially with kids, it's a great place to start. There are "interactive hours" at the outdoor pools (more fun than swimming laps) at the East Communities, Hays Communities, Northwest Family, Southwest Family, and Springs Family YMCAs, as well as the YMCA at Camp Moody. The Y is semi-affordable; It would probably be cheaper to visit a hotel pool once or twice, but a Y membership includes a month of access, guest passes, and much more, and may replace your gym membership for the summer. $69 per month, with age and household discounts. austinymca.org

Hotel Van Zandt
If your pool visit doesn't include spritz and giggles, why are you even there? Hotel Van Zandt is opening up its stylish rooftop pool for the "Spritz & Giggles Poolside Happy Hour & Sunset Swim" event series. Every Monday through Thursday, visitors can enjoy $8 frozen Aperol spritzes, $8 specialty cocktails, and a special pool menu with items like a refreshing green salad, pork belly al pastor tacos, and a spicy fried chicken sandwich. Geraldine's, the main restaurant, is right inside for even better drinks, expanded bites, and sometimes live music. Starting at $48 per day for adults, $15 for kids. hotelvanzandt.com

Carpenter Hotel
If one day at the Carpenter Hotel pool is just not enough, the hotel has now added monthly passes. In addition to unlimited access to the secluded pool in the Zilker neighborhood, a pass gets a $30 discount for the new monthly BBQ Pool Parties (bringing attendance down to $25). That will include a great spread of less commonly seen barbecue items like grilled bay scallops, mushroom skewers, elotes, deviled potato salad, and more. Monthly pass holders also get to bring one child under 8 for free. $40 daily, $200 monthly. Both Monday through Thursday. carpenterhotel.com

South Congress Hotel
The South Congress Hotel is right in the middle of where many Austinites want to be on a summer day, if it weren't so dang hot. This rooftop pool solves that problem in style, with daily pool passes every day of the week, as well as cabana rentals. Café No Sé supplies poolside drinks and snacks, and downstairs, Austin's Best New Restaurant Maie Day offers a hearty meal after a day of napping in the sun. Cabanas can be rented for four people and include self-parking, bottled water, and a bottle of champagne or bucket of High Noon. Days for $40 and cabanas for $300 on weekdays; days for $75 and cabanas for $400 on weekends. southcongresshotel.com

Hotel Viata
Hotel Viata is a bit of a sleeper hotel among Austin boutiques, as it's located a little beyond West Lake Hills. Still, if you want a taste of Italy, the drive to this retreat will be worth it. Not to mention, with the extra room these downtown hotels can't offer, a pool pass includes access to a hot tub, fire pits, and great views of the hills around the city. Pool passes are available, but if you want to see it for free before you spend, wait for June 10; The hotel invites guests 21 and up to check out the pool for free at the "Summer Festa in Piscina" party, with a "Taste of Italy" add-on ($55) for Aperol Spritz, limoncello lemon drops, and negronis all day. $45 per day for adults, $25 for children. resortpass.com

Wax Myrtle's
This rooftop bar and pool is known for its never-ending events calendar, and of course that energy extends to poolside entertainment. There will be live music on the weekends, plus live DJ sets on Saturday nights, alongside whatever other programming happens to be going on inside. Even if it's a do-nothing day, these large, over-the-top drinks will give you a delicious challenge. The "Boot Scootin Fruity" mixes rum, an aperitivo, hibiscus, and lime in a cowboy hat punch bowl ($90); the luxe "Mojito 75" combines Moët & Chandon with rum and mojito must-haves in a disco ball ($230); and an unnamed cocktail is worth trying just to enjoy it from a real coconut. Starting at $15 for adults, $10 for children, and more for daybeds and cabanas. waxmyrtles.com

Austin Motel
Perhaps one of the best known pools in Austin for its retro vibes, fun events, and accessibility to on-foot wanderers is the Austin Motel. This is a great, less expensive choice that's probably more fun for casual pool revelers who would feel a little put out by having to dress up and behave in a more luxe hotel setting. There are also frequent poolside events at this motel, like the free "Bounce Motel" series with live DJs, or the body-positive "Chunky Dunk." The pool is offers daily passes every day, even when there's nothing on the calendar. $25 on weekdays, $45 on weekends, or $600 in three-and-a-half-month "waves." austinmotel.com

Carpenter Hotel pool

Photo by Andrea Calo

Austinites don't need to stay at a hotel to be invited to the pool. (Pictured: The Carpenter Hotel)

6 Austin museums are offering free admission for military families all summer long

spread the museum love

Half a dozen Austin museums are honoring active-duty military personnel and their families with free admission through the Blue Star Museums initiative, May 20 through September 4, 2023.

Established by the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, and the U.S. Department of Defense, the Blue Star Museums program annually provides military families free access to 2,000 museums nationwide throughout the summer. The program begins yearly on Armed Forces Day in May and ends on Labor Day.

Free admission is extended to personnel currently serving in the U.S Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard (including those in the Reserve), and all National Guardsman. Members of the U.S. Public Health Commissioned Corps and NOAA Commissioned Corps are also included in the program.

Those who qualify can use their military ID to bring up to five family members – including relatives of those currently deployed. More information about qualifications can be found here.

There is no limit on the number of participating museums that qualifying families may visit. Admission for non-active military veterans, however, is not included.

According to the National Endowment for the Arts website, the initiative was created to help "improve the quality of life for active duty military families" with a specific focus on children. The site states two million have had a parent deployed since 2001.

"Blue Star Museums was created to show support for military families who have faced multiple deployments and the challenges of reintegration," the website says. "This program offers these families a chance to visit museums this summer when many will have limited resources and limited time to be together."

Among Austin's participating museums, the Blanton Museum of Art recently held its grand opening celebration to debut their new grounds, complete with a new large mural by Cuban-American artist Carmen Herrera.

“As a museum that has long been at the forefront of collecting work by artists of Latin American descent, as well as the place where Ellsworth Kelly realized his last great work of art, entering the collection at this moment marks a high point in my long career," Herrera said.

Here's a look at all the museums in Austin that participate in the Blue Star Museums initiative.

For those looking to take a drive around Central Texas, the Temple Railroad and Heritage Museum and Taylor's Moody Museum are also participants in the Blue Star Museums initiative.

More information about Blue Star Museums and a full list of participants can be found on arts.gov.