Nature as Storyteller

Nature as Storyteller

The Pecan Street Association board of directors is proud to present the art of one of Austin’s own native residents.

“The opportunity to be the featured artist for this spring’s Pecan Street Festival is an honor.” – Peter F. Ortiz

Peter F. Ortiz was born Dec. 20, 1960 in Austin, TX, and raised in Austin’s barrio Montopolis. His heritage in central Texas dates back several generations.

Peter graduated from A.S. Johnston High School in 1979, then attended Austin Community College and continued his education at the Otis Art Institute of the Parsons School of Design in Los Angeles, CA. From 1981-1991, he lived in LA, moving to Long Island, NY before returning to Austin in 1993. He strives to immerse himself in various cultures to soak up the rich aesthetics, which has added texture, depth and perspective to his experiences and his art. Peter’s work has been exhibited in numerous galleries, museums, cultural centers and universities throughout the United States, Mexico and Spain.

Peter utilizes a variety of techniques and mediums in his work and often features “elements of nature and the environment intertwined with the human form in various shades of colors that invite the viewer to see the beauty in diversity.”

“In my images or stories, I describe some as spiritual or earthly matters using people in not so ordinary colors to connect with all races, fish, water and plants. I try not to use contemporary elements or clothing in belief this keeps my work timeless.” – Peter F. Ortiz

For Peter’s original piece for this festival’s image, “Cinco de Mayo,” he explains that the color road is symbolic for the iconic Mexican dress. You can find his booth, next to the Pecan Street Association booths with posters and t-shirts of his design, at Sixth St. & Trinity during the festival.


Music Musings: The Spring Festival Line Up is HERE!

Music Musings: The Spring Festival Line Up is HERE!

We warmheartedly present the newest addition to our Pecan Street family, Michael Howard, and his booking/events management company, Apogee Presents.

Michael Howard

Having presented several alternative festivals in San Marcos, Michael bridges the two “college towns,” bringing an old-school “keeping it weird” vibe back to Austin while having his pulse on the latest and greatest sounds of central Texas.

His Spring Festival (May 4th and 5th) music line up builds on our commitment to diversity and supporting local up and comers, and embodies the same positive energy Michael brings to the table.  His hard work and enthusiasm means that – way ahead of schedule – we are announcing our music line-up; and our Spotify channel is ready to enchant your earbuds!

Michael Howard and friends at the Martian Arts Festival, an Apogee Presents production

Thank You For Your Service Ryan Cano!

Thank You For Your Service Ryan Cano!

It is with much sadness that we have to announce the departure to Ryan Cano, our Music Director and Talent Buyer for the Pecan Street Festival the past 5 years. Ryan has lead every music initiative we’ve had over the last half decade including the growth of our audience attendance from around 80K people to nearly over 210K people now. During this growth he booked 9 festivals and over 375 artists in his tenure. He created standards of quality at the festival, always curating a different festival each time, booking over 88 different artists a calendar year and creating playlists on Soundcloud to showcase the festivals music to fans digitally. Ryan expanded music programming including introducing Hip-Hop, R&B and Latin sounds to our stages.  While other festivals struggle with gender balance and genre representation in their lineups, i.e., barely reaching 20% female artists booked, the Pecan Street Festival exceeded 55%+ each lineup during Ryan’s leadership. 

His organization, passion and follow-through lead to many accomplishments. Quite simply, Ryan Cano is going to be hard to replace.  

Photo by Kat Alyst

“While it is too early to announce anything just yet, with some of the things happening for me professionally it felt increasingly unlikely that I would still be at the Pecan Street Festival in the next 90 days. Three months from now, the festival would be in the busiest moments of the festival’s organization. The timing just felt right for us to depart. Sometimes the story feels written and I feel more than satisfied at the work that has been achieved the last 5 years! I would like to thank the Pecan Street Festival for the opportunity to book such an esteemed fest drenched in tradition and allowing me to book my vision of what that looked like today. I am proud of so many things we accomplished in my time here. I am proud to have worked with so many exceptional and diverse Artists and being able to see them perform on the stage. I want to thank all the Artists that have performed over the last 5 years. Thank you to all the Artist Managers, Booking Agents and those who represent themselves. It has been an honor working and growing with you. I want to thank Executive Producer Luis Zapata and Producer Chris Haddad for giving me the opportunity. I want to send a big thank you to previous Music Director Jenna Wedgewood for recommending me many years ago. Without her recommendation, none of this would have kick-started. I want to especially thank Executive Director Debbie Russell for working alongside me and developing me as an Executive while I directed and booked the Music portion of the festival. Thank you to the Board of Directors for believing in me all these years. It has been my pleasure and I can’t wait to see what’s next for the Pecan Street Festival while I convert to being a fan!” – Ryan Cano

Ryan Cano has been the owner of The Loyalty Firm for the last 14 years. He currently manages and consults for music artists My Education, Built By Snow, SoundMass. He consults with visual artist Velcrowolf. He was previously a co-owner of Holy Mountain. He is a thought leader on the Music Industry and contains immeasurable institutional knowledge. Be on the lookout for what’s next professionally for Ryan Cano by connecting with him on LinkedIn.

Greening Festivals

Greening Festivals

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.  

Dr. Emma Lou Linn, Ph.D. – “Uppity Woman,” Rodeo Queen and PSA Founder


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