When I was young, dumb and 18 (redundant?) I spent almost a year traveling with the circus (The Circus - Ringling Brothers & Barnum & Bailey). I was in Austin, newly employed at the local Arena as an usher, when I pulled up my tent stakes and hit the road with The Greatest Show on Earth. I lost count of how many cities we visited, Dallas, Tulsa, Wichita Falls, Kansas City, Detroit, Cleveland, Birmingham, Pensicola...with major stops in Boston and Miami. I caught the flavor of the midwest and the eastern states. In the end, I decided Austin was home. Shortly after my return to Austin, I met my wonderful husband and settled down for a life filled with as much fun, adventure and drama as any 3-ring circus could have offered.
One of the things I love about this town, my town, my home of choice...is the live music scene. From the first time I came here in '82 when I was 17 years old, I have been enamored with the local musicians. Sure, back in my really youthful youth I got to hear Joe Ely, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, and other names you may or may not recognize ... enjoyed through slightly illegal entry into Dallas clubs. I got to see the Who and be deafened by ZZ Top in the Dallas music scene. But Austin venues hold a charm not to be outdone. Mostly they are open air and free. Zilker Park is most notable for its free concerts - and I've enjoyed many. When we lived in Lago Vista (just west of Austin), the town of less than 5,000 had 4 (yes, FOUR) live music venues.
Why am I reminiscing? Today, hubby and I dropped in on the Wheatsville Arts Festival. It was truly a blast to the past. Not because the music was retro, but because all of the people who were hanging out at the free concerts 20-something years ago where there. Not that we recognized anyone...it was just that we were all of an era. Austin's gay/lesbian community were well represented. Austin's artistic left were also out in force. Dreadlocks and tie-dye (we bought some of the latter, as well as some home-spun glass art), long skirts and sandals, long hair for men and women, all on folks my age (40+) or older. Very little in the way of piercing and tats.
I'm not sure if there was a memo or what's going on with the UT collegiates. Today's happening was at a park just north of campus. Where were all of the 20-somethings? Has Austin moved on? Have we (hubby and I)? Are we a dying breed? Maybe we just need to get out more.
In the end, I guess I don't need to be hip or cool - I just like knowing that there is good music available for free at Art Festivals. I love Austin, Texas!