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Photo courtesy of Old Settler's Music Festival

Music festivals nearby are one of the best benefits of city living, but sometimes they could stand to be a bit more rural — even if they’re not country festivals. OId Settler’s Music Festival fills that niche without sacrificing relevance; the festival, taking place this year from April 20-23, brings in some of the best names in folk, Americana, and Southern traditions. As announced on January 25, this means 31 groups and solo artists across four days of camping and enjoying the outdoors in Dale, about an hour-and-a-half northeast of San Antonio.

Old Settler’s Homestead, a 145-acre ranchland, has been hosting this barn dance, so to speak, for 36 years. Over time, it’s succeeded in drawing some major talents, but stayed grounded. While the lineup will excite many yearly attendees and fans of similar artists, these approachable sounds are great for visitors new to the fray without pandering with crossover names.

  • Yola sounds like the American South but hails from the United Kingdom. The powerful singer is known for her emotional rawness over smooth instrumental arrangements, both leaning into genre conventions (country, soul, disco, and beyond) and floating stoically above them.
  • The Wood Brothers bring the poetry to the festival, and that’s saying something in such a lyric-heavy genre. The trio has stuck together for nearly two decades and been in the industry even longer, and the wisdom comes through the introspective acoustic-electric jams.
  • Shovels & Rope play with chemistry, abundant between Michael Trent and Cary Ann Hearst, whose weathered, twangy voices bring a frankness to dramatic songwriting. This duo could play their own festival as moods and styles change from track to track.
  • Shinyribs is a warning from Austin to anyone who thinks folk music is always reserved. Frontman Kevin Russell, initially from Beaumont, is known for his performance antics — a force to be reckoned with, or otherwise, willingly swept up in.
  • Buffalo Nichols is turning the green venue blue with twangy slide guitar and a rich, nearly gravelly voice. The singer commanded a small, but dense crowd at his first year at Austin City Limits Festival in 2022, with a mellow tone amid the madness.
  • Matt the Electrician represents more country than many on the lineup, and has been active in the Austin music scene since 1998. His songwriting comes from cerebral origins, but sounds welcoming and promises easy listening as the festival rolls on.
  • Ley Line, also from Austin, is a standout for its comparatively exotic style. The four women sing in English, Portuguese, Swahili, and more, reminding fans in attendance — mostly seeking Americana — that the sphere of folk music extends far beyond our own borders.

In addition to the main attraction — the music — there will be food and artisan vendors, music workshops, and a youth talent competition. The camping, powered with renewable energy, sprawls around the active performance area, and the festival prides itself on the atmosphere away from the stages. Old Settler’s is a 501(c)(3) organization staffed by volunteers, so in addition to providing a good time, it aims to foster a lasting appreciation for Americana and the human connections available through it.

"This is one of the greatest festivals I've ever been a part of,” said Kevin Russell of Shinyribs in a press release. “In fact, I think of this as my home festival."

Tickets (starting at $35, kids under 12 free) to Old Settler’s Music Festival 2023, from April 20-23, are currently on sale at prekindle.com.

Photo by Aella T on Unsplash

San Antonio's Pearl District lights the menorah in 8th annual Chanukah celebration

Eight nights and years

Chanukah is underway in San Antonio, and it’s time for one of the city’s favorite Jewish traditions.

This is an auspicious year for Chanukah at Pearl, now in its eighth year. The community celebration, taking place Wednesday, , on December 21, includes the best parts of celebrating at home — kosher foods, traditional music, and more specifically Texan traditions — on a larger, citywide scale.

The festivities will be led by Rabbi Eli Block, a San Antonio native who left the country to study and returned to work in service of the city’s post-college Jews. His organization, Young & Jewish San Antonio (YJSA), partners with musician Yaakov Chesed and chef Jason Goldblum on this event, which will also include remarks from San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg. Rabbi Block will join the mayor in speaking.

Along with traditional Jewish comfort foods like matzah ball soup, this Texas celebration also includes churros and tamales. The rabbi will light the giant menorah on display at the Pearl throughout Chanukah, and celebrants are invited to dance the night away — until 8 pm.

YJSA puts on a variety of other events throughout the year, from the more traditional to creative and casual, like a recent women-only oil infusion workshop. It hosts regular Shabbat dinners and other holiday events with a modern flare often including live music and cocktails, for Jews in their 20s and 30s.

The 8th annual Chanukah at Pearl begins at 6 pm on December 21 at 312 Pearl Parkway, near Boiler House. The event is free and open to the public.

Photo by Daniel Cavazos

Legendary Austin blues club brings the show to you with new indie livestreaming platform

Live on Live

If legendary Austin blues club Antone’s is your vibe, but the drive down I-35 isn't, know we get it. Saving San Antonians the trip, Antone’s Nightclub launched a new service for livestreaming its shows in November.

Kicking off with New Orleans-based funk and jam band Dumpstaphunk, for their special “Phunksgiving” show last month with Michael Hale Trio, the full lineup is delineated on the Antone’s website. Specifics were still loose before the launch, allowing the famous blues club to call the shots. The partner agency that created the streaming service, 3rd + Lamar, created the system to give Antone’s as much freedom as possible.

"Partnering with Antone's to build their livestreaming platform and produce each of their shows is an incredible opportunity for 3rd + Lamar," said the agency’s co-founder Nick Schenck in a press release. "The amazing talent that performs at Antone's – and their fans worldwide – deserve best-in-class live production quality, and we're thrilled to play a part in this operation."

Not that Antone’s needed to stand out more in the music industry (the nearly 50-year-old venue has always been one of the best places to see both local and national talent), but this achievement places it among relatively few venues across the country, especially those that operate their system independently.

The intimate Antone's shows are filmed by four Blackmagic 4K cinema cameras on tracks overhead, which ensure that the whole space is easily visible without having camera operators amid the audience.

“We did over 430 individually ticketed shows in 2019 and we felt like we were bursting at the seams,” said Antone’s owner Will Bridges. “Then when livestreams became more prominent during the pandemic we realized, this is our opportunity to take Antone’s outside of our four walls. … [W]e see people in the comment threads all the time saying ‘If I could only be teleported to Antone’s!’ Well now they can.”

The release emphasizes that the system means Antone’s “fully retain[s] ownership of their content, which can then be utilized at their discretion.” It also calls the service “an add-on option for all artists performing at Antone’s,” positioning the service as not just an audience luxury but a performer’s low-cost marketing tool. Suddenly, artists playing at Antone’s are afforded a choice without needing to be invited to record or pay an independent video team, while reaching even more viewers with no extra time spent advertising.

“Our ultimate goal is to make these amazing musical experiences accessible to everyone. Life is busy, but we want to give everyone the opportunity to participate no matter where they are or what they have going on,” said Bridges. “We want to make livestreams from Antone’s totally commonplace. When we announce our upcoming shows, fans have two options: watch it at the club our watch it at home.”

Livestreams are at antonesnightclub.com, and links also appear with each applicable event across the site. Prices are listed on the website, and livestreams start 10-20 minutes before each show.

Photo by Angiola Harry on Unsplash

San Antonio restaurant group paints the town pink for breast cancer awareness

Drink Pink

This Breast Cancer Awareness Month, one local company is painting the town pink for the first time in what it hopes will be an annual tradition. FreeRange Concepts — parent company to five Texas restaurants, including The Rustic — is leveraging its three San Antonio businesses in Pink Out Week to raise money for breast cancer patients.

From October 16-23, The Rustic, Bowl & Barrel, and The General Public are hosting fundraising events benefiting the Pink Fund, each with a different public draw. The Rustic will serve frosés (frozen rosé wine), setting aside a dollar per drink. Bowl & Barrel and the General Public are running similar programs, swapping the frozen drink for a cosmopolitan with Tito’s Handmade Vodka.

All three restaurants will accept donations in-person or through a QR code; donors at The Rustic will be entered to win prizes like entrance into local events and gift cards, and donors at the other two participating restaurants are invited to sign cards that will be hung on the walls.

The Pink Fund’s main goal is providing financial assistance to patients, with more than half of that aid going to housing costs, and significant portions going toward transportation and utilities. Since 2008, it has awarded more than 3,200 grants. It has renamed October Breast Cancer Unawareness Month, to reflect the disparity of awareness of the disease, versus the financial strain on seemingly normal life.

“We couldn’t be prouder to partner with The Pink Fund during Breast Cancer Awareness Month,” said FreeRange Concepts cofounder Kyle Noonan. “At FreeRange Concepts, we’re dedicated to being an active member of the communities that we are blessed to serve, and we have a lot of fun activations and events planned to make Pink Out Week an amazing experience. We hope to see everyone stop by each of our brands.”

The Rustic is also throwing a party on October 22 to celebrate the end of the fundraising week, with live music and a themed photo booth. There is no event flier out yet, but The Rustic’s performance schedule shows country singer-songwriter Lacy Brinson playing a free show from 12:30-2 pm, and the iconic, genre-shaping folk rock duo Indigo Girls from 9:30-11 pm ($32). Either way, it’s a good day to hang out at The Rustic.

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CultureMap Emails are Awesome

San Antonio suburb among the richest places in Texas for 2023, plus more top stories

Hot Headlines

Editor’s note: It’s that time again — time to check in with our top stories. Here are five articles that captured our collective attention over the past seven days.

1. San Antonio suburb cashes in among the richest places in Texas for 2023. Alamo Heights has been renamed the third richest place in Texas for 2023 in a recent study.

2. San Antonio home sales slowed in December 2022, report finds. San Antonio sold 36,477 homes all year, a 10 percent decrease from 2021.

3. Here are the top 5 things to do in San Antonio this weekend. Nina Simone, Pink Floyd, the Beatles and more music-centered events made our roundup of the best things to do in Alamo City this weekend.

4. San Antonio Home & Garden Show returns with HGTV star. Ati Williams will headline the San Antonio Spring Home & Garden Show, which takes place February 24-26.

5. H-E-B opens first location in growing San Antonio suburb. The state-of-the-art facility offers 110,000 square feet of floor space, providing everything from cat food to charcuterie.


Popular Pearl brunch spot remixes with new weekend DJ nights

OONCE OONCE OONCE

Though Full Goods Diner has barely been open for half a year, it has already become a San Antonio staple for working weekday lunches and lingering Sunday Fundays. Now the Pearl eatery is looking to be a hot spot after dark.

Via release, the popular local haunt just announced a new limited-time music series, Full Goods at Night. Starting on February 2, Full Goods Diner will open select evenings throughout the month.

The Full Goods at Night series will feature popular local San Antonio DJs, including El West Side Sound, Hector Gallego, DJ Plata, Steven Lee Moya, and Cami Gee. Guests can enjoy live sets while indulging in a specially curated food and drink offerings.

The menu will include some of Full Goods Diner's best—selling items, such as French toast sticks, barbacoa waffle fries, and jumbo cheesy tots. Libations like the Attaboy Negroni, Royal Bermuda Daiquiri, Pink G&T, and more will fuel the festivities.

In addition to enjoying moonlight brunch, guests can relish some prime people-watching. And, of course, the restaurant is just a hop from other nightlife destinations like Pink Hill, 3 Star Bar, and Summer Camp Bar, making it the perfect party starter.

The series runs every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from February 2-25, 6-10 pm. The complete DJ schedule is listed below.

February 2 — El West Side Sound·
February 3 — Hector Gallego
February 4— DJ Plata
February 9 — El West Side Sound
February 10 — Steven Lee Moya
February 11 — Cami Gee
February 16 — El West Side Sound
February 17 — Steven Lee Moya
February 18 — Hector Gallego
February 23 — El West Side Sound
February 24— Steven Lee Moya
February 25 — DJ Plata

4 San Antonio culinary pioneers win $21K from the Texas Food & Wine Alliance

CULINARY INNOVATION

Texas’ skyrocketing culinary scene is about to get a huge boost. The Texas Food & Wine Alliance’s grant program has awarded $107,500 to 19 culinary innovators around the state. This marks the Alliance’s 11th year providing funding to support culinary projects contributing to local communities.

The award winners were announced in a ceremony at Austin's Holdsworth Center on January 21. A private panel of distinguished culinary experts chose the winners out of 40 grant applications this year. Nine winners hail from Austin, three from Dallas-Fort Worth, three from Houston, and four from San Antonio. The awards range from $1,500 to $10,000, with a special $25,000 grant investment from Austin favorite Tito’s Handmade Vodka in honor of the company’s 25th anniversary. Grant funding will support chefs, farms, and culinary education groups, among others.

Out of the four San Antonio area winners, Talking Tree Farm received the most from the grant program, $6,250 to purchase shipping containers for storage and to buy a solar-powered cold room for their harvests. John Marshall High School’s culinary arts program will use their $5,000 grant to establish a morning café. Agricultural project Habitable Spaces and pasture-raised chicken farm Cielito Lindo Farm also won $5,000 each to purchase equipment or build infrastructure to further their endeavors in the culinary space.

Austin-area winners received the most funding from the grant program, totalling $53,750, while San Antonio winners received $21,250 in total. Dallas/Fort Worth winners were awarded $19,750, and the three Houston recipients won $12,750. All of the 2022 winners reflect just how diverse the state's trailblazing culinary scene continues to expand.

“All of this year’s funded projects will further enrich the state through innovation and giveback,” said Erika White, executive director of the Alliance. “We’re extremely grateful to each of the Texas communities, our sponsors and their support in allowing us to reward these mold-breaking projects.”

In Austin, organic farm Trosi Farms was awarded the most funding ($10,000), which will help construct a germination shed for more stable plant start production. Locavore pioneer Boggy Creek Farm won $7,500 in grants to provide ADA-compliant accessibility to their new climate-controlled Tomato House, while Texas’ first organic feed mill, Coyote Creek Organic Feed Mill & Farm, received $6,250 to help purchase a building to be used as a store for the local community.

The six other Austin area grant recipients, each winning $5,000, include Vista Farms at Vista Brewing, Jamaican family business Tierra Todun ATX, coffee roasters Rising Tide Roast Collaborative, culinary educator Chef Pascal Simon from Bake Austin, East Austin food truck Community Vegan, and Latinx pastry project Comadre Panaderia (who also just earned a James Beard nomination). All winners will be able to use their grants to improve efficiency and expand their businesses, or in Chef Pascal's case, further research and development for her upcoming cookbook for Gen-Z young adults.

After starting the program in Austin, grant co-chair and TFWA past president Cathy Cochran-Lewis says it was the Alliance’s dream to expand the grant statewide.

“We’re so humbled and thrilled to now not only support worthwhile projects across Texas but also to give more than a half million dollars in funding over the last decade to help dreams come true,” she says. “This is a tribute to the culinary talent and the community mindset we are lucky to have in our state.”

The winners in the Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston areas include:

For this year's Honorable Mention, the Alliance chose San Antonio eatery Tacos Cucuy, who will soon open a brick-and-mortar space with an expanded menu. Tacos Cucuy are currently looking for support to develop a Tex-Mex charcuterie program called La Cura Carnes Especiales.

More information about the 2022 grants and its recipients can be found on texasfoodandwinealliance.org.