AUSTIN (KXAN) — In December 2020, lifelong Austinite and musician David Castro looked around at all the music venues closed due to COVID-19 and wanted to create a refuge for other artists looking for gigs.
Then came Vancerts, a mobile music venue that has helped redefine how Austinites can hear from local artists in the Live Music Capital of the World.
“It’s just given a multitude of opportunities,” Castro said.
Vancerts is exactly what its namesake suggests: Mobile concerts, courtesy a refurbished van. Artists can set up shop at breweries, in neighborhoods and within other spaces that might not have the infrastructure to support live music otherwise.
For local musicians, Austin’s increasing costs of living, paired with COVID-prompted closures the past few years, have placed increasing strain on their livelihoods. With Vancerts, Castro said they want to remove any “middle man” from booking gigs so artists can take home as much of the profits as possible.
“Most of our events are free, and so what it’s also allowed us to do is to give more compensation for artists, because we’re not looking for a return [or a cut],” Castro said. “We get the money up front, or we get people involved in what we do, and they give us funds to pay the artists.”
In the future, Castro said Vancerts hopes to expand its fleet, adding more vans so artists can play across Austin and even beyond. Castro said they’d love to take this concept overseas to the United Kingdom and help expand Vancerts’ reach.
But for now, Castro said Austin’s reception has been welcoming. And for local artists who’ve had a rough few years of shuttered venues, climbing costs and COVID concerns, it’s a way to say “thank you” to the listeners who keep musicians’ passions alive and beating.
“It’s a symbiotic relationship: Without one, we don’t have the other,” Castro said of the connection between artists and their audiences. “The artist doesn’t really survive in this town if we don’t have people supporting it.”
This story is part of a KXAN series highlighting Central Texas activities — you can see our full list on our “Central Texas Things to Do” page. Do you have an idea of something we should profile? Email us at email@example.com.