Tonight: Special Called Meeting
of the Austin Music Commission

Posted in Music Commission, Music Office on August 9th, 2011 by Gary Etie – 4 Comments

Don Pitts,head of the Music Office, Greg Gurnsey, head of the City’s Planning division, Clara Hilling, who issues Sound Permits, the Music Commission, and others will be addressing the current, thoroughly messed up Sound Ordinance (section 9-2 in the Code) The actions are necessary, in large part, to correct mistakes that were made on February 10th, in rushing a flawed ordinance into law.

I stayed up on the night that the Ordinance was passed, and caught the one provision that stood out as the most ridiculous, namely… measuring decibel level readings “at the source” (in front of the speakers!) instead of measuring at the property line, as it had been. That was amended, with an additional “emergency” Ordinance, 2 weeks later.

That leaves several more bad insertions into the ordinance that are now starting to raise their ugly heads, and must be addressed. Therefore, tonight’s Special Called Meeting of the Austin Music Commission.

From the Agenda ( )

1. Sound Ordinance Chapter 9-2 review – Clara Hilling and Greg Guernsey in attendance to
answer questions

One of the mistakes being discussed will be the decision to apply the “100 – 600 ft” rule to ALL permits under section 9-2. In the past, the rule applied to only Temporary Sound Permits. Currently, it must be applied to Outdoor Music Venue Permits, according to the flawed Code amendment.

That, coupled with a new and completely different legal interpretation of the term “Property Zoned & used as residential” … has created a quandary that has to be eliminated.

Currently, a Restaurant closer than 100 ft to any use consider by Austin legal to be residential, cannot get an Approved Outdoor Music Venue Permit, at all.

The term “residential” which in the past referred to ONLY Single Family Residences, is currently being ruled upon, by Austin legal staff, as including apartments, townhouses, condos &, significantly, RESIDENTIAL TOWERS (!)

This also affects the hours allowed for Restaurants that are closer than 600 ft to what is now being defined as “Residential” by the City of Austin legal eagle that calls these things … (cough – Brent Lloyd?)

The Ordinance passed on Feb 10th, was a blatant maneuver to subvert the process, with a rush to passage, on an emergency basis, on the Consent Agenda (no Council or Public discussion whatsoever), while failing (waiting?) to add the proposed Ordinance to the Council Agenda a mere 2-1/2 hours prior to passage, whereupon it went into immediate effect, it having been declared an emergency.

Many of the changes that made their way into the ordinance came directly from, or found their way into, a letter sent to the Mayor and City Council, by DANA, a neighborhood group that recently lost status, in several respects. I have a feeling that DANA may have overreached just a bit, on this one.

The problem remains, however, that DANA, and other “stakeholders” had to have one or more willing Council members, their staff, and their legal advisor involved, in making this happen the way it did, so expect a lot of the same kind of maneuvering for control that got us to this point, to remain as a proposed solution to the current problem. Inertia can be very difficult to overcome.

Austin City Hall
301 West 2nd Street, Austin, TX 78701
Room 1027 (Enter Cesar Chavez side, 1st room on he right after entry)

Welcome To the Future, Which is Already in Progress

Posted in Music on July 3rd, 2011 by admin – 1 Comment

DJ Larry Monroe’s recent interview with Austin’s KXAN TV

I’ve been troubled by a recent tendency to be aggravated by the simplest of inconveniences. Believe me, having experienced cancer diagnosis, surgery & radiation a couple of years ago, I have a new and fuller appreciation for the simple pleasures of life … but today, I’m wonderin’ if feeling dissatisfied might not be a necessity. Is being dissatisfied with existing conditions a driving force, in both the will to live, and in the evolutionary process?

Then there’s the major aggravations that I share with my community. Whether it’s over the right of owners to host live music, outdoors, at their place of business, or the changes at a beloved local radio station, I have a tendency to take it personally, combined with a feeling of obligation, and the need to try to do something about it, and, according to some people, a tendency to spend way too much time trying to do it.

A couple of years ago, I became very upset at the lack of respect my friend Larry Monroe was being shown by the corporate minded wankers down at KUT FM. What was once, hands down, the best radio station in the country, is now no better than a mediocre replica of countless commercial stations crowding the dial.

A group of people combined their efforts, and exploited some very strong connections, but we couldn’t really change what was happening. The fix was in. The PR firm that KUT hired to ease the transition created a slick, coordinated propaganda campaign. We were outmanned, and, simply, too late.

Deejay to Retire After Decades On Air:

Back to the Top – for a glimpse of the future Larry was referring to, although even he didn’t know what the future held, at the time.

The Rise and Fall of the Great SxSW Empire ©

Posted in Music on June 15th, 2011 by Gary Etie – 13 Comments

From where I stand, 2011 was the turnaround year for the SxSw Festival. Interactive registrants outnumbered Music, with music becoming a more-than-anticipated part of Interactive. The Music part of things very nearly got out of hand. The perfect example is where greed and egos combined to make a very poor performance by the Strokes into a news-worthy near-disaster.

On closing night, with Kanye doing the Kanye thang at Seaholm until 4 AM (how was that OK’ed or allowed by P.A.C.E.???), Red Bull at 4th & Congress, and other shows, both official and fringe, going violently overboard in their attempts to garner attention, it hardly felt like the good SxSW vibe of as little as 3 years ago.

Permits for the unofficial, unsanctioned Levi’s event, during SxSW, had been somewhat tricky, ever since 2005, when the temporary event popped up an outdoor venue at the Habaña Annex at 709 E 6th St. After 2 successful years, SxSW rented that venue out from under Levi’s, and went around town bragging about sticking it to Levi’s, and me.

So, I scouted and helped negotiate a new home, at the former American Youthworks warehouse, at 4th & Brazos. 2 more great years there.

Here’s where, from my viewpoint, it started to turn weird, and downhill … precisely at 12 Noon, at the very moment that the Levi’s-Fader “Fort” opened its doors, on the opening day of SxSW 2008, the SxSW organization hired a fairly large group of homeless folks, gave them PETA signs, and proceeded to march them adjacent to the entry line that was stretched around the block, allegedly protesting Levi’s cruel treatment of animals(?!). I started to intervene … I couldn’t help it … I was so taken aback by the “dirty pool” nature of the tactic, I started confronting the “protesters” … but quickly got shooed out of there, and rightfully so, by the event production crew. It wasn’t any of my business anyway, so, I left, even though I was shocked and ashamed of how low SxSW would stoop, to fuck things up.

For SxSW 2009, the planning arm of the SxSW org, High Beam Events, leased the Levi’s, venue location out from under them, again.

However, even though I had been explaining the set-up that made the Levi’s-Fader event possible, High Beam and SxSW couldn’t figure out how to use the property for a music event, much less one that would include alcohol. Lame So, what did they do with the space, having negotiated a $40,000+ lease, for a 4 day event? High Beam/SxSW let American Apparel (the company known for its ads that featuring offensive photos of 18 year olds that look like 15 year olds) put a bunch of cardboard boxes of not-so-sellable clothing out in the parking lot, for sale. I have no idea how that went, but Yuk!

Sooo .. in 2009, I found a nice little spot just east of downtown for the annual Levi’s-Fader event, even suggesting a name the owner liked, “Pine Street Station”, and got that fully permitted for a great outdoor music venue. Unfortunately Kanye West announced a closing night appearance at the venue, 4 days prior to the 2009 festival, and caused major problems. The next year, 2010, the City’s guard was understandably up, but we worked everything out, even as Transmission Entertainment’s “Mess with Texas” event (also my client that year) moved in across the street.

Not long after SxSW 2010, I came to the difficult realization that I did not want to be the one to pull the Permits for the event in 2011. That, it ends up, was a lucky call.

The first mention of something afoot was by Michael Corcoran | Wednesday, January 26, 2011, 12:05 PM:

The Fader Fort is celebrating its 10th anniversary of annoying South by Southwest officials with a new partner and plans to stream performances live in conjunction with MySpace Music. Expected to be held at the same Pine Street Station location at East Fifth and Waller Streets, the four-day invitation-only event will be called the Fader Fort by Fiat this year.

Rumors have been swirling about Fiat flying in some big names (the Strokes?) this year. In the past, such acts as Amy Winehouse, Lou Reed, Kanye West, M.I.A., Kid Cudi, the Black Keys and more have played the Fader Fort.

Although officially-credentialed SXSW-goers usually get some sort of priority entry, the Fader Fort’s practice of admitting some lucky fans without music business ties, has made it the hottest fringe party spot of SXSW.

As it turned out, Levi’s payed for the official, free SxSW Strokes show at Auditorium Shores. Was there a lack of proper security measures? Notice the guy in the video with “SAFETY” on his T-shirt. He isn’t a licensed Security provider, and has no idea what to do:


and how did it go at the “unofficial”, but behind the scenes – SxSW-won’t-try-to-block-your-permits-this-year” Fader Fort byFiat? You decide:


Austin Music, Volume 10

Posted in Music on June 15th, 2011 by Gary Etie – 16 Comments

The Austin Music Office, a division of the Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau (Austin CVB) just released their 10th annual Austin Music album. “Austin Music Volume 10″ is a compilation of local music artists that celebrates Austin’s rich musical history, while showcasing the future of established musicians, alongside the voices of rising stars. It features an eclectic mix of genres ranging from indie rock, Latin, folk rock and blues, to experimental pop, hip-hop and western swing.

Buy the album

In celebration of the ten-year anniversary of this compilation, vinyl albums will also be made available for the first time ever. “Austin Music Volume 10″ will be distributed at many of the leading festivals and music events this year throughout the country, including: Americana Music Festival and Conference, Austin City Limits Music Festival, Fun Fun Fun Fest, South by Southwest Music Conference, New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Sync Up Fest, Latino Music Month & Pachanga Fest, and Latin Alternative Music Conference. The CD will sell for $12.99 and vinyl will sell for $14.99. For further information or to purchase a download card, vinyl album, or CD, please visit

Outdoor Music Permits List Updated

Posted in Music on June 13th, 2011 by Gary Etie – 1 Comment

The complete list of Austin Outdoor Music Permits has been updated.
In the list, you will find:

  • A link to each and every OMV Application/Permit in the City of Austin database
  • The status of all OMV Applications/Permits
  • A link to a QR Code that provides a venue’s Permit information.