Contributing author: Ali Bates
Prioritizing Eco-friendly Habits at the Pecan Street Festival
Around 32 million people attend a music festival in the United States annually, according to research by Billboard. That can lead to a vast amount of environmental damage if organizers and festival-goers aren’t resourceful and respectful to the site or to the event. Being an eco-warrior, stall-holder or someone who doesn’t think about ways to be green in a festival, lowering the carbon footprint of Pecan Street Festival, one of the largest and longest running arts and crafts festival, is high on the list. With today’s awareness combined with alternative, eco-friendly solutions, there are many ways to reduce waste, be kind to our planet and have a fabulous time in Austin.
Be more energy-efficient
Many festivals are making energy-efficient changes to their practices in order to reduce their impact on the environment. Using compost or portaloo toilets at festivals is considered one way of the beneficial alternatives to lessen water waste. Designed to handle large numbers, they won’t compromise on hygiene and are an excellent way to use water responsibly at a festival. Additionally, organizers are using biodiesel fuel in generators as a contribution to being more energy efficient.
Support for local businesses
Stall-holders in a festival, particularly in a street festival are likely to be local businesses dependant on support for helping the local economy grow. Showing collective encouragement by purchasing food and other items such as art and crafts, will also help the local community at the same time. Many businesses in Austin pride themselves on being sustainable, and there are a range of reasons to buy local that can play a positive part in supporting businesses in the area.
Aim for zero waste
Zero waste implies only using items that are biodegradable, reusable, and recyclable. There are plenty of times in a festival where people will end up throwing away sustainable items but by having recycling stations set up means waste can be disposed of responsibly. Recycling areas are clearly signed for glass, aluminum, plastic and other recyclable materials to be carefully discarded. Similarly, having a composting area for food waste is equally important to help achieve a zero waste festival.
Choosing green transportation
This free festival brings in thousands of locals and visitors each year so in order to cut back on gas, organized bus rides or carpooling can help solve the problem of producing too much carbon emissions. The Pecan Street Festival provides a local bus service to ease congestion from people arriving and leaving the festival without leaving a drastic carbon footprint. Alternatively, using a local bike map or taking a ride on the Metrorail to help navigation to and from the festival will additionally help to impact less on the environment.
Collectively, these practices will go a long way to keeping the festival area clean while offering continued awareness about waste management and energy-friendly alternatives. Making a valued contribution will help to leave a positive and lasting impression in Austin, Texas.
It’s 1975, and Emma Lou Linn has just been inaugurated as only the second woman to the Austin City Council. With tongue in cheek, she’s wearing a button on her shirt, “Uppity Women Unite,” and is quickly thrown into the fire at her first councilmeeting with a dramatic vote on renaming 19th Street as “M.L.K Blvd.” – a measure she eloquently advocated for. The drama was not just due to the explosive testimony – the opposition peppering theirs with racist venom (exposing Austin as not-so-liberal and tolerant a city as it believes itself to be) – but when Huston-Tillotsen’s president emeritus J.J. Seabrook stands to argue for the M.L.K. designation to continue west of I-35, he suddenly collapses onto the floor in pain. Ms. Linn rushes from behind the dais to administer mouth to mouth resuscitation, and a photo is taken that goes nationwide.
Unfortunately, Mr. Seabrook succumbed to his heart attack, but Councilmember Linn was now both a hero and a villain for attempting to save the life of an African-American man, for which she received a multitude of death threats.
Besides her many preservation efforts and various accomplishments – academic and otherwise, Dr. Linn helped found the Pecan Street Association, and for decades, administered to its longevity – for which we are eternally grateful.
Please read Michael Barnes’ extraordinary portrait of this “truly remarkable” woman’s life (especially if you’re wondering why we dubbed her a “rodeo queen”!).
Emma Lou Linn attempting to revive J.J. Seabrook, April, 1975
Join us on Friday, October 26, 2:00pm, at Wesley United Methodist Church, 1164 San Bernard Street, for a short presentation and reception honoring the Rev. Freddie B. Dixon, Sr., Ph.D. – as the Pecan Street Association and its board of directors presents Rev. Dixon with their 2018 Heritage Award.
It’s hard to think of the history of central east Austin, or, rather “East Austin,” without thinking of the beloved Rev. Dixon and his work to help its underserved residents and to enrich and preserve it.
The son of Bishop Ernest T. Dixon, the first African-American leader of the Southwest Texas Conference in the United Methodist Church, Freddie Dixon, born in 1944, pursued theology as a career, obtaining a Masters of Divinity from the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta.
Besides becoming pastor of Wesley United Methodist Church in 1973 (the church’s roots predating the civil war), Rev. Dixon ministered to the community in a variety of ways, namely advocating on behalf of civil rights. Known as the “Father of the Austin Area Urban League,” he co-founded the local chapter in 1976 alongside LaVonne Mason, and housed their offices in the basement of the church. This was par for the course that Wesley United Methodist Church physically served community needs outside of Sunday services. Before Huston-Tillotsen bought and developed the university acreage, the church housed most of the classes of what was then-known as Samuel Huston College.
The Austin Area Urban League’s first major undertaking was taking on Austin ISD and the disproportionate suspensions for students of color. Their groundbreaking work led to progressive legislative changes addressing discipline in schools. They went on to prevent the outright closure of AISD’s African-American junior high, Kealing Middle School, and instead moved the board of trustees to construct a new building for “Kealing Magnet School.”
The Church followed suit to help area students by setting up scholarship funds to assist seniors in post-secondary education.
Rev. Dixon secured the church’s inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places (as a National Site), while The United Methodist Church recognized it as a Historic Structure.
Meanwhile, the AAUL‘s services to the community expanded to include “minimal employment services, voter registration activities, GED preparation training, housing counseling and small home repairs to the current expanded employment placement services, workforce and technology training, programs in education, youth development, and emergency home repair….promoting parental involvement, community education that encourages greater participation in our government’s decision-making, and a climate of appreciation, cooperation and tolerance for all citizens.” If there was a need, the AAUL filled it.
Rev. Dixon’s work wasn’t limited to the activities coming from San Bernard Street. “As a relentless community activist,” he was a member of the Austin Black Assembly, which led the charge for the renaming of 19th Street to Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. – which culminated in an explosive city council meeting in 1975, where when Huston-Tillotson president emeritus J.J. Seabrook rose to speak but instead crumpled to the ground and our 2014 Heritage Award winner Emma Lou Linn, then a newly inducted councilmember, jumped into action and administered mouth to mouth resuscitation, although he unfortunately succumbed to a heart attack.
Rev. Dixon served on many boards (including Capital Area United Way and Child and Family Services, Inc.), and served on the Austin Planning Commission for six years…working to protect East Austin heritage.
Now retired as a pastor, Rev. Dixon serves as the Special Assistant to the Vice President of Diversity and Community Engagement at the University of Texas – Austin, where he has also donated much of his personal archives.
His latest venture as co-founder and chair of Six Square formalizes his ongoing work to educate on the African-American legacy of East Austin. “Six Square” denotes the six square miles referred to in Austin’s racist 1928 Master Plan (some Hispanics and African-Americans referred to it as the “Yes, Master Plan”), that was designed to increase segregation. They are soon placing historical wayfinding markers and will have a groundbreaking for a mural garden in the district.
As the Pecan Street Association continues to dig for the diverse history of East Sixth Street, we look forward to learning more from Six Square about the history of the area immediately east of us; the two quite integrated well into the start of the 20th century (with streetcars going back and forth), but torn apart by Jim Crow and the Interstate. We hope that the white influx into the district will also take note as gentrification serves to reunite the areas, for good or ill. We are at a juncture to either celebrate our diverse past or bury it. We applaud those working hard to celebrate it, and it is with this in mind that we chose the Rev. Freddie B. Dixon, Sr., for our 2018 Heritage Award.
See the amazing 1 minute recap video done by the beautiful people at mediaonedge.com – and get ready for this weekend’s fest!
If you’ve seen his work – and if you’ve driven east Austin, you have – you’d think Chris Rogers was a lifelong Austinite; but amazingly, he’s only been with us six years. Many of his local murals have captured the essence of east Austin life and history, one of which inspired an uproar when it was painted over in May, 2017 – with eastside preservation group, Six Square Austin, coming to the rescue to negotiate a new mural by Rogers in that spot.
While hailed for his urban/street artist credentials (“Best Street Artist,” Austin Chronicle, 2015), many art critics are finally seeing the lines as blurred between street and fine art. Chris further erases that blur.
The Pecan Street Association is honored to host Chris as our featured artist this fall festival. Stop by the PSA booth for the poster or t-shirt, and next to it, Chris’ booth! (Sixth St. and Trinity).
When I arrived in Austin six years ago in my grandfather’s 92’ Lincoln town-car and $1500 to my name, I had no bearings on the city and hardly knew a soul. I moved from my hometown of Hilton Head, SC to Austin to be enveloped by other creatives. Passion is contagious, and I knew that I couldn’t fuel my own flame. Music, especially, has always been a catalyst for my creativity. Live painting in concert with musicians is a favorite for me, and the first place that I did that in Austin was on S. Congress. That was where I set my easel up for the first time in Austin.
My art has always reflected my environment. Portraiture work is big focus for me because I love the human form and enjoy capturing in any number of fashions. Impressionism, surrealism, and neo-cubism are s few of my favorite focuses. Having grown up on the lush Carolina coastlines, landscapes and seascapes are big part of repertoire, and something that I wanted to bring with me and further cultivate in Texas.
It’s been a slow, but steady gathering of momentum for me as I’ve had the opportunity to share my art with the city through various murals, exhibitions, and live events. Austin completely exceeded my already high expectations. Over the last six years, I’ve had the honor of meeting and collaborating with so many amazing creatives. Through these channels, I’ve received so much inspiration, and an immense amount of love and support, much more than I could have hoped for. Having been honored with being this fall’s Pecan Street Festival’s “featured artist” is no exception.
“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” – A.A. Milne
The Pecan Street Association is sad to lose a most valued contractor, our bookkeeper, Barbara Weems. She’s been with us for many years, but is finishing her CPA degree and moving on to bigger and better. She will be sorely missed by the board, producers and myself; we all wish her the VERY best!
That means we are hiring to replace her, so if you qualify or know someone that does, please respond by August 20:
EXTENDED METRO RAIL HOURS for Cinco de Mayo & the FESTIVAL! Here’s the Saturday schedule.
Cinco de Mayo and Pecan Street Festival…a match made in heritage heaven. We have the biggest party in town Saturday with mucho bands, tasty beverages and bueno eats!
Music on Saturday includes lots of Latino sounds, many on our main/Neches stage, including DJ Chorizo Funk (of Peligrosa), Liz Burrito, Ley Line, Chulita Vinyl Club (both all-female bands), and Ex-Romantica. You can hear more on our 100-track/10-hour soundcloud.
Our featured artist is local J Muzacz with an original piece, including one of his signature low-riders, for our posters and t-shirts sold at the PSA booth; his booth adjacent (Trinity and 6th St.).
Lots of great street performers will be permitted on the sidewalks, like the underserved youth of The Austin Community Steelband, setting up at Brazos around noon on Sunday.
A special addition to Sunday’s stage line up: a Hare Krishna festival blessing in song form from His Grace Sriman Sankarshan Das Adhikari (Sun., Neches Stage, 11:30 am).
We have a wonderful array of vendors, offering festival-goers pottery, printmaking, pen and acrylic work, hand blown glass, jewelry, assemblage art & more!
The PSF is the largest, and longest-running, of Texas’ arts/crafts and music festivals. It draws nearly 300 local and national arts, crafts and food vendors, +/-50 musical acts and a quarter-million attendees during the weekend. PSF is also FREE; the ONLY large-scale, festival around that can boast this.
The Pecan Street Association (“PSA”), the non-profit behind the festival, gives back to the community via donations to local non-profits and towards preservation of the Pecan Street Historic District.
Our friends over at CapMetro are once again extending rail ridership during the weekend to help you easily pop on down to the festival on Saturday, May 5th!
For bus options, plan your trip here.
The Pecan Street Association is proud to present our 2018 Spring Pecan Street Festival featured artist/muralist/author/teacher: J Muzacz, and his original artwork for this festival’s t-shirts and posters – seen above.
The Featured Artist booth is adjacent to the Pecan Street Association Booth at Sixth St. and Trinity…where you can purchase festival t-shirts and posters!
Hailing from Houston, Muzacz has called Austin “home-base” for 16 years. While a sophomore at UT-Austin, he cut his teeth on the Sixth Street nightlife by apprenticing with live spray painting-artist Carey Huckaby, painting intergalactic scenes at clubs to blaring techno music into the wee hours of the morning.
After graduating with a degree in Sociology from UT-Austin, he’s spent time traveling abroad, teaching English, working odd jobs and painting murals in Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, Japan, Taiwan, Australia and New Zealand. Between that, his work in New York and here at home in Texas, he’s created a prolific number of large-scale commissions for businesses, residences and high-profile spaces in the public sector. You can read his full resume here.
His signature stained-glass painting technique in his works incorporates a contemporary abstract expressionism – “think Kandinsky with a spray can,” Muzacz says. Recent shows include “Scene Builders” at Art For The People Gallery, PRISM at Print Press Gallery, and the Bombay Sapphire US Artisan Series Regional Showcase at Art on 5th. You can also see his amazing murals around Austin such as at Encore Records, The Monarch Food Mart, Eastside Memorial High School, Manor New Tech High School, Lustre Pearl and many will easily recognize his mural at the Dougherty Arts Center.
In 2013, while living in Okinawa, Muzacz published, Life Is Sweet: The Story of a Sugarcane Field is a 60-page, full-color, bilingual (English & Japanese) children’s story teaching the appreciation of nature and the value of a hard day’s work. Prior to this, in 2012, he published the bilingual, JAPAN 365: A Drawing-A-Day Project, a hand-drawn retrospective illustrating the history of Japanese art.
Besides his engaging art and publishing efforts, what also caught our eye is his work with children. He taught Urban Painting through the City of Austin’s Totally Cool Totally Art teen program – where the children developed mural concepts like the bespectacled cephalopod mural at The Northwest Recreation Center or a 40-foot long shipping container at Turner-Roberts sports field or spawning spontaneous block-dance-spray painting parties; mentored the Caminos mural painting interns at the Mexican American Cultural Center; and produced an unique art curriculum for Skybridge Academy, an alternative private junior and high school in Dripping Springs, where he now teaches two days a week collaborating with students on pop art projects, portraits and even landscape design.
Currently heralded as one of the best books on the Austin 70’s music scene, Armadillo World Headquarters will be for sale at the Pecan Street Association booth (“MERCH” booth, Sixth St. & Trinity) during the festival.
As an extra-EXTRA-special treat, authors Eddie Wilson & Jesse Sublett will be at the booth on Saturday, 2-4pm, signing copies!
Many know Eddie Wilson as the owner of Threadgill’s, and former owner of the Armadillo World Headquarters where Austin’s Live Music Capital legend took root. The Austin Chronicle’s Kevin Curtain described Eddie “as a Texan amalgam of concert promotions legend Bill Graham and circus tamer P.T. Barnum, but the memoir reveals a Mark Twain streak of insightfully folksy prose.”
He joined former Skunks bass guitarist and multi-genred and heralded author Jesse Sublett to create a colorful record of the Armadillo’s heyday.