Is Austin the Live Music Capital of the World? Yes, but one thing people don’t often consider is how the city earned this moniker: by creating a friendly atmosphere towards musicians and venues.
Why AMP Is Important
As Bob Dylan once famously wrote, “The times, they are a changing.” Austin isn’t the same city that it was in the 70’s and 80’s. The influx of people has brought with it an influx of development, political views and philosophies. Those not represented are often swept to the side and replaced by those with louder voices.
This is why Austin Music People (AMP) is important. AMP is a voice for musicians and venues at City Hall, serving as a middleman between venues, developers and local politicians. Things haven’t slowed for AMP’s Executive Director, Jennifer Houlihan, since last year’s UnGala.
Between keeping a finger on the pulse of Austin’s music scene, working with city council members like Mike Martinez, and helping new developers understand Austin’s music culture, Jennifer has also been planning AMP’s 1st annual United We Jam music fest.
United We Jam
AMP’s United We Jam music fest is a two-day event this weekend, August 23-24th. The festival will feature only local artists like The Sour Notes, Gentlemen Rogues, The Midgetmen, Texas Microphone Massacre, and Silas Lowe (get the full list of artists here).
There are 15 venues signed up, located in the Red River District and on the eastside. Choose from Cheer Up Charlie’s, Mohawk, Red 7, The Scoot Inn, The White Horse, and many others. The music plays from 7 PM-2 AM on Friday and Saturday.
Organizing an event like United We Jam, with so many acts and venues, has to be arduous right? Jennifer told me her secret to setting this up: “We had each of the venues do the booking. I’m not a booking expert. In fact, you probably wouldn’t want me booking more than a couple hours of programming.” AMP’s only stipulations were that all the acts be local and that the artists get paid.
AMP enlisted the help of Do512.com to set up the schedule and organize the event calendar.
“The event is pretty simple,” Jennifer told me. “Just check out the listing, find a band and go to the club and pay the $5.00 cover.” She went on to say that there are no passes, only the cover charge. This isn’t a bad price when you consider how much music you’re getting with five dollars.
AMP’s existence is vital to the survival of the Austin music scene. In the grander scheme of things, they aren’t only representing an underrepresented part of our city, but they are working to help Austin retain what makes it unique. So let’s see, live music? Local artists? Cool venues? Sign me up. Oh yeah, there is no signing up, just showing up.
If you’d like to know more about AMP and their work, they can be found on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. You can also join their mailing list, which provides subscribers with information regarding the local music industry.
What is your favorite local band and venue?
Cover photo via Flickr CC, courtesy of Roger Ho.