It wasn’t easy to leave Dallas. Scott and Traci and there kids made it very difficult to leave after practically making me a member of their family. Though the weather wasn’t very good at all, until almost the end, they were wonderful. I really can’t say enough about them and I may have to just do a blog post about them and my week there. We’ll see!
Anyway, I got to Austin on Friday, around 6:30 and I started playing around 7:00. A friend of mine, asked a friend of hers about the scene there and he she relayed what he said. It was most helpful and finding a good spot, it kind of took the guess work out of it, which makes for an easier time. I went to the corner of Congress and 6th St. All up and down the main part of 6th St. are bars and different venues playing live music. A lot of them with no cover charge, it is hard to compete with that as a busker. I went up a little further and set up. I played for almost 2 hours. There was guy working security there, his name is Bruce. Turns out he is from East Kingston, NH. Not far from my hometown. We had some cool conversations while he was making his rounds. I felt a little safer, knowing he was around. When I was done, I met up with my friend Nikki who used to live in Savannah. She took me to place called Friend’s where there was a great band playing. It is, so far, the only place I have been to see a band. She bought me a Lone Star and we caught up a little bit, before she saw a friend of hers who is leaving on Monday. It was fun hanging out listening to them and the band! Nikki asked if I wanted to go see this other band, but honestly, I was wiped out. We made plans for lunch on Saturday.
Based on the info I got, I went to San Antonio St. on Saturday morning. The Farmer’s Market was near there. I played there for two hours. I feel I may have got there a little late, but it was still a decent shift. I got to meet and talk to some cool people. When I was done, I went to Torchy’s Tacos. Apparently, in Austin, the thing to do is get food at trailers/food trucks- especially tacos. I wanted the full experience, so I went to the “Trailer Park Diner” to meet up with Nikki for a late lunch. Through some sort of miscommunication or perhaps I went to the wrong place, I ended up having a brushfire taco by myself. It was pretty good too, I must say! I would suggest anyone going to Austin, give it a try. There are also other trucks in the Park that have lots of different things. When I finished, I tried to see if I could get together with my friends Emily and Jim, also from Savannah. They were in the area for the holiday weekend. Apparently, not in the direct area. They were a little too far for us to meet up. It’s all good, I will see them when I get back to Savannah.
I went back out, and played for another 2 hour shift. This time, on 7th and Congress. There was a dude who likes to play a drum just for the sake of playing. He is not busking, just beating on an African drum. He was there the night before too. During that shift, there were a couple people who came from the restaurant across the street, who were dining on the balcony who liked what I was doing. I had a lot of fun on that shift. I had to feed the meter, so I took a break.
I did a third 2 hour shift. I went back to 6th, the drummer was gone. I got all set up and played 4 notes, literally, 4 notes and there was an incident. The police were pretty busy that night. Apparently, the corner of Congress and 6th St. is a place where a lot goes down. There were a couple of incidents earlier, when I was 7th. Oddly enough, I never felt unsafe, because of the police. Even when this incident occurred. I played 4 notes and a man was crossing the street. He starts yelling something at he top of his lungs while looking down 6th St. He has crossed the street and now on my side, about 6-8 feet away from me. I had my hand in my pocket, in case he got to close. He was hostile, and volatile, I wasn’t taking any chances. Let’s be clear- I did not have a gun, but I have a little something to protect myself. As he gets closer, here comes the police. Almost right up on the corner. He got out and told the man to stop. Also to get his hands out of his pockets, I took mine out too! There was another cruiser that pulled up and then two bike officers. THey don’t mess around in Austin. I saw the Paddy wagon out earlier twice, on my second shift. While they were cuffing this man, I started to play something soft and then stopped, it felt weird, So I waited until they were done and gone. I mean this all happened 6-8 feet in front of me. Damn phone didn’t have enough juice to work the camera! Fortunately, that was the last incident of the night while I was there. I got to see Bruce as he was making his rounds again that night. I enjoyed talking to thim.
I don’t remember the last time I had a 6 hour playing day, but it felt good. In some ways, I am glad I was not able to meet up with my friends earlier in the day as it gave me the time to go out and play. Though it would have been nice to see them! Although, it is so competitive in Austin, I had a decent day out there. But really, it was very cool to be out there for 6 hours. I mean I can’t do that everyday- yet- or I will have no lip! But I am definitely shooting for that! ,