Local voices, rhythms, and love for music will be amplified across the city during this year’s Local Music Week, a campaign that starts Sunday, June 12, and is built to acknowledge and uplift the local music community.
The design of Local Music Week, now in its 8th year, is a collaborative effort that highlights seasoned veterans and up-and-coming artists, organizations, and loyal venues that make an impact on the local music scene and how we consume and connect with it. This year’s festivities kick off at a storied former church in Southtown – now home to Frank – which will host the Hot Dog Social on Sunday from 3-9 p.m.
According to Libby Day, general manager at Do210 and part of the team organizing Local Music Week, a huge part of the Local Music Week agenda is to bring venues and concerts for all audiences to the forefront.
“We want to turn young people into fans at an early age,” Day said. “Frank stepped up and so did Imagine Books and Records, who is hosting a multitude of (all-ages) shows. Lucky for us, they do this on a regular basis.”
The beauty of Local Music Week is its accessibility, both for the patrons as well as the players. Many of the shows are traditional parts of the entertainment lineup, such as jazz great Jim Cullum at Bohanan’s and Swing Nite at Sam’s Burger Joint with Bad Banjo Brown, while newer acts and events are on their way to becoming staples.
Co Lab, who will be hosting the Local Music Week Showcase on Monday at 7 p.m., will also set the scene and tone for this year’s Music and Media Mixer on Wednesday from 6:30-9:30 p.m. Ranger Creek Brewing and Distilling will provide local craft brews for the event. Media sponsors for local music week include the Rivard Report, SA Current, Out in SA, and radio stations KSYM 90.1 and KRTU 91.7.
(Read more: Co-Lab: A Space for the Artists)
Events like this are a free and worthwhile venture for members of the media industry to connect with local musicians and share opportunities for advertising and collaboration. They are also a prime occasion for artists to learn about acquiring earned media and, thus, make headway in their industry. You can RSVP for this and all other events here.
According to Day, several newcomers to the Local Music Week organizational team and to San Antonio’s music scene in general have made a positive impact on the development and growth of local music. Local Music Week’s home base is at Co Lab, hence the collaboration in hosting the mixer. “One of the most important developments in the past year is the growth of San Antonio Sound Garden (SASG),” Day said. “The passion and energy those folks have for local music has really re-energized the grassroots campaign.”
This past week San Antonio Sound Garden led their third Las Raices Monthly Musical Forum, a gathering of musical minds and community members who progress conversation on elevating the local music scene through sharing, advocating, expressing, and listening.
(Read More: SA Sound Garden Launches into Song, Community)
The most recent endeavor sought to recruit a robust group of volunteers who will act as the “street team” for Local Music Week – the boots on the ground so to speak.
“These folks will be helping collect data over the week so that we can get a better sense of numbers, how many people are attending shows, revenue generation for artists, and venues – the hard quantitative numbers,” Day said. “It’s a better look at the economics of local music and how LMW helps grow these areas.”
Day hopes that presenting these numbers will show community leaders, politicians, and private partners alike just how valuable investing in such initiatives for local music are.
“We’re taking a harder look at the qualitative as well, trying to identify what the value propositions for our community are,” Day said. “We want to advocate for what’s working, as well as identify speed bumps so that we can continue the discussion.”
It’s not a coincidence that 2016 has seen a slow and steady transformation of venues like Limelight, Paper Tiger, and The Mix on the North St. Mary’s Strip, the uprising of organizations like Imagine Books & Records and SASG, and the inception of the outside-the-loop hookah group Vapure, who will be hosting a handful of events during LMW 2016. Eyes at the city level and county level are paying close attention to the changes and seeing this moment, this time, as the season to move forward (see coverage of Judge Wolff’s call to action here).
Even the 1011 Bar, oft overlooked in its pocket on Avenue B, has undergone a distinct remodeling and renaming, and is unleashing a killer lineup for LMW 2016.
“1011 has always been a part of LMW,” Day said. “It has been re-branded as Ventura by Michael Carrillo (of Deer Vibes and Michael J. and The Foxes). There really is a lot of true love that is put into this work.”
Advocates from all sectors of the local music scene have jumped into the fray in the past couple of years to help make sure that this worthy endeavor grows and is seen as a highly anticipated moment in the year’s musical calendar. Jeannette Muniz of KRTU’s Live and Local, Gabe Mendez, and Zach Espinoza (responsible for all of this year’s graphic designs and promotional materials), are but a few of the team members who have stepped up to the plate and delivered.
“This was spearheaded by Local 782 back in 2009, which has now transitioned into the San Antonio Music Guild, led by George Garza,” Day said. “We’ve had our ups and downs, challenges around time and energy. The most important thing to us is that this continues to happen.”
So whether you find yourself flowing alongside the hometown crowd at the Phantom Room’s Hip Hop Showcase, digging into the sweet spread of shows along the Strip, jumping out to some all-age venues to see music relished by a greater audience, or simply going to a neighborhood dive bar to support your favorite musician, show some love this week to those who have dedicated their days to sharing their souls with you. Let them be a “starving artist” no more. Let them not “survive” but “thrive” in their art. Yet most of all, let them know that you’re listening.
Disclosure: Author Adam Tutor is active in the local music scene and volunteers with SA Sound Garden.
Top image: Lead singer and songwriter of fisherman Edwin Stephens leaves the stage area to sing with the audience during an SA Sound Garden concert and membership mixer at Paramour Bar. Photo by Kathryn Boyd-Batstone.