Six Must-Attend Events: Oct. 4-13
The state's top events and offerings, from Johnny Winter playing blues standards at the Stevie Ray Vaughan Remembrance Ride to the first weekend of the Austin City Limits Music Festival.
Twenty-three years have passed since the helicopter crash that killed Stevie Ray Vaughan, the extraordinary Dallas-born blues guitarist whose hot licks helped make Austin a music mecca. A natural way to remember him is the nineteenth annual Stevie Ray Vaughan Remembrance Ride & Concert. The celebration will begin with a squadron of motorcycles caravanning from the world’s largest Hooters, in Dallas’s West End, to Cowboys Dancehall, in Arlington, for a three-hour tribute concert by roughly a dozen musicians. The evening will culminate with a set by Johnny Winter, the guitarist from Beaumont who is cut from the same cloth as Vaughan. The two have eerily similar backgrounds. They learned how to play watching the same musicians (Albert King and Jimi Hendrix, among others); they shared the same bassist, Tommy Shannon; and both are curiously not members of the Rock ’n’ Roll Hall of Fame. But Mr. Winter is still alive, and making new music. Expect him to try out new numbers from “Step Back,” his album of standards recorded with the likes of Dr. John and Billy Gibbons slated for release in December. Fats Domino’s “Blue Monday,” which Winter recorded with Dr. John, would be a fitting tribute, too, considering it’s the day Vaughan died.
Hooters and Cowboys Dancehall, Oct. 6, noon, srvrideandconcert.org
Peanuts are a staple of all-American cuisine, so for those who are not allergic, the Peanut Festival, held annually in Aubrey since 1986, could be breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert. The area’s sandy soil was prime for peanut farms during the first half of the twentieth century, but the equine industry has since taken over the area. Visitors can carry on Aubrey’s tradition by entering one of a number of festival competitions. There’s a peanut butter sandwich eating contest, each sandwich composed of white bread and four tablespoons of peanut butter. There is also the peanut spitting contest, the peanut shelling contest and the peanut butter cup relay, in which contestants race to eat the chocolate outside while leaving the peanut butter core intact. But it’s the peanutty chef contest, with recent entries including cole slaw made with peanuts, peanut spaghetti and white chocolate peanut brittle, in which entrants can test the theory that peanuts belong in every meal.
Aubrey Festival Grounds, Oct. 5, 10 a.m., aubreypeanutfestival.com
Dr. Lucy Scarbrough started playing the piano when she was five years old, but she didn’t get excited about practicing until twelve, when she heard the Russian pianist Maurice Lichtman on his radio program playing Mazurka in A minor by Frédéric Chopin. “I was so enthralled with the music of Chopin as he played it that I asked my high school principal to allow me to leave school early to hear the radio program,” Dr. Scarbrough said in an email. “I was an outstanding student, and he consented.” Dr. Scarbrough’s early love blossomed into an obsession when she founded the El Paso Chopin Music Festival. Now in its nineteenth season, the festival has featured pianists from Asia, Canada, Europe, Mexico and the United States, who, Scarbrough noted, exhibit precision, clarity and beauty of sound, combined with sensitive artistic interpretation. A dynamic stage presence is also key, which Krystian Tkaczewski, Mei-Ting Sun, and Dr. Scarbrough will demonstrate in their three separate performances in the month ahead.
Chamizal National Memorial Theater, Oct. 5, Oct. 19 and Nov. 2, 7 p.m., elpaso-chopin.com
SXSW Eco has transformed the sometimes drab, scientific dialogue over “green” issues into a celebrity affair tackling broad-scale cultural topics. Of course, attendees can learn about real-world problems like carbon emissions when Christiana Figueres of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change issues a welcome address that will call to action businesses and governments to get behind a global treaty on climate change. But that heady conversation will be nicely counterbalanced with talks by Adrien Grenier, the “Entourage” actor whose shft.com initiative teaches sustainable practices through film, design, art and food, and Shepard Fairey, the “Obey” street artist, whose keynote speech will explore art’s potential to inspire action.
Austin Convention Center, Oct. 7-9, sxsweco.com
The Big Kegger
Oktoberfest celebrations are usually just an excuse to drink herculean amounts of beer in unwieldy steins, and you can do that at Oktoberfest, in Fredericksburg, but you can also experience and appreciate aspects of the area’s German culture, including oompah music, the chicken dance and lederhosen.
Various locations, Oct. 4-6, oktoberfestinfbg.com
Music fans can catch every last one of the exceptional acts with Texas ties at this year’s Austin City Limits Music Festival—Divine Fits, the Black Angels, Okkervil River, Parquet Courts, Shinyribs and Shakey Graves among them—thanks to a new format that includes two weekends of almost identical schedules.
Zilker Park, Oct. 4-6 and 11-13, aclfestival.com