The first week of January in Austin, Texas is known as “Free Week” to live music lovers. Many of Austin’s independent live music venues and clubs waive their cover charge and present free local showcases throughout the week. For years the showcases were dominated by popular singer-songwriters, indie bands, punk bands, hard rock bands and everything in between. However, finding Latino bands amongst the crowded field of bands was difficult. Last year we at Austin Vida took the first step to changing that by putting on our first Free Week Latino showcase at Stubb’s.
This year we took our efforts to promote Latino musicians even further by presenting four Free Week showcases at four different venues that featured different genres of music. Never before had Latinos had such a presence during Free Week. Each showcase we put together was a showcase of Latino talent in each respected musical genre.
Our first Free Week showcase of 2012 was on Tuesday, January 3, at a venue very few Latinos have passed through, Swan Dive. The beautiful ’20s style prohibition-era speakeasy was a perfect setting for a Latino dance party with some of our new and old Austin-based favorites. We introduced attendees to the Urban Tejano stylings of Son de Rey and the new look Manzanas Malas. Two of our favorite feature artists, Este Vato and the incredible Maneja Beto, closed out the show for us and kept the crowd dancing all night long. There was no better way to kick off our Free Week festivities.