Musicians March: Heart of Austin Takes a Stand to Save Local Venues
Austin artists have taken their music to the streets. On Wednesday, a group of musicians marched from the Austin Convention Center to Austin City Hall to protect their music venues from getting shut down. Our Stef Manisero shows us why these performers feel the heart and soul of Austin it's on its way out.
A group of artists is making noise, in the hopes Austin city leaders will do the same.
"Sometimes you’re just rolling in the dough, you can eat sushi every night, sometimes, you’re just like ‘Oh, peanut butter sandwiches again,’” said Austin Musician Amanda Kitchens.
Kitchens makes her living playing music.
She says in the 15 years she's lived in Austin, she's seen many music venues get shut down.
“Ruta Maya, Rhizome Collective, all sorts of spaces that have become home to us,” Kitchens said.
And on top of the shortage of gigs, she says it's hard to prove her income, making it difficult to find a place to live.
"Because it’s not like you get a written thing from every bar you’ve played, you know,” said Kitchens.
She and dozens of local performers took to the streets, trying to prove their importance to the city that calls itself the Live Music Capitol of the World.
They believe, musicians more than anyone else, suffer from Austin's increased cost of living.
"Because musicians have the same income now as they did 26 years ago,” said Austin musician Guy Forsyth.
They say high costs are pushing them out, and as they go, so goes the heart of Austin.
"If the art scene goes away, the value of Austin and the value of investment in properties here will diminish,” said Forsyth. “It will just be another big Texas city if it doesn’t have its soul, which is live music.”
A city losing its soul, one musician at a time.
On Wednesday, Austin City Council adopted next year's budget, without setting aside any money for music venues.