SXSW Rock & Read Family Event (FREE at the Domain) (Local Austin, TX) March 20, 2016! Q&A with the Bands!

Rock and Read

SXSW Rock & Read Family Event (FREE at the Domain) March 20, 2016!

Mark your calendars, friends, ’cause this is going to be great.  And it’s free!

As much as I loved SXSW the first time I attended with my boyfriend (now husband!) in 2002 – and even up until as recently as 2006- NOW as an Austinite parent, I am a little over the whole downtown music scene*Le gasp.*  Yes, it has happened to ME!  I’m a tired parent of two energetic young girls and while I love music as much as I always have, I actually LIKE hanging out with my family when I have time off work.  I want to share events with them, so when all the hundreds of thousands of people who flock to Austin to come to SXSW each year, I want to run and hide at a local park with my family far, far away from the Dirty Sixth.  HOWEVER, since Bill Childs (AKA Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child on KUTX 98.9, every Sunday at 6:00 pm) has been on my radar post-children, he and his many local accomplices have started doing FREE shows for kids and families during SXSW, and it has now become our tradition to go.

This year, Bill helped put together three VERY COOL events for families during SXSW, but the one I’m going to talk about in this post is the Rock + Read event at the Domain.  Music and Reading are two of my family’s favorite things, so it was only natural we were going to go.  Plus, I am in a unique situation where I can do a Q&A with most of the band line-ups for this music fest.  Yes, not only do I get a lot of enjoyment writing as Momma’s Bacon, it also earns me some very cool opportunities that I love to share with my readers.  So for any Ausinites or families who are coming to town for SXSW this year, check out the Rock + Read event and this blog post is FOR YOU!  Oh, did I mention on top of hearing bands and listening to book readings from local authors, there will be Easter crafts for the kids and Springfree Trampolines set up throughout the Domain.  Bring some cash to try some yummy food from local vendors, too!

Rock & Read

Sunday, March 20, 2016 • 1 – 5:30 pm

The Domain • Austin

Rock + Read Band Line Up

Rock + Read Local Author Lineup:

Questions for the Rock & Read Band Line-Up!

1.  I have been attending SXSW free shows at Auditorium Shores since 2002 (pre-parenthood) and I have to say that the last few years of free shows for families outside of downtown have been the most fun for me because I love that my girls get to be part of the music scene in a more intimate way.  Do you enjoy being part of the SXSW scene without being close to the Dirty Sixth (AKA 6th Street)?

Ben Gundersheimer (Mister G):  This will be my first time at SXSW, but if it’s anything like our experience playing last year at Austin City Limits it’s going to be incredible. I love knowing that the concerts are free–it’s always great to remove any barriers for families to come together to enjoy live music.

Michael Welke, drummer for The Not-Its! (former member of Harvey Danger): Anytime we get invited to play out-of-town it is such a thrill for us! But, there is something a little extra special about being part of the musical universe that is SXSW. Last year was our first visit to SXSW as a band and we had a great time performing at the Family Music Meltdown (FMM) festival, which you know is produced by our pal Bill Childs, aka Mr. Spare The Rock, Spoil The Child. The event may be labeled as “unofficial” in the realm of SXSW shows but for artists who make “kindiependent” music, events like FMM are vital to the future of this genre. We look forward to the day when concert and event promoters realize that the music we make does matter and that to be able to provide families with a safe space to rock out together, can only produce positive results. Oh, and just between you and me, we very much enjoy the chaos of 6th Street.

Lloyd Miller of the Deedle Deedle Dees: I’ve been to South by twice — in 2013 and 2014. Both years I spent the majority of my time I wasn’t performing trying to avoid the festival and all its related craziness. I’m a big lap swimmer who lives in New York City, home to crowded, poorly-lit pools, so I’m always excited to come to Austin and swim in many beautiful spots. Deep Eddy is by far my favorite, maybe my favorite pool in the whole country. I’m also a huge history buff so I’m going to be making another trip to the LBJ library (I spent a delightful South by afternoon in the museum — deserted due to the festival, I imagine, with my band and a couple of other visitors) as well as my first ever trip to his ranch. That said, I don’t mind Sixth — for about a half an hour at a time.

Red Yarn:  Absolutely. I grew up in Austin and have watched SXSW grow and grow into the debaucherous corporate monster that it is today (albeit a debaucherous corporate monster full of amazing music). I am so appreciative of Bill Childs (Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child) and all of the event sponsors for providing families with alternatives that are a bit removed from the smoky, boozy, noisy hustle-bustle of SXSW.

Big Don: Yes I do. It’s great that they make all of the family events easy for people to get to without being in the heart of all the mayhem and expanding the music conference to include family entertainment.

2.  I’ve been fascinated by the concept of Kid Lit music since listening and reviewing Emily Arrow’s “Storytime Singalong.”  Were you intrigued to be part of Rock & Read for the ‘reading’ as much as the ‘rocking’ for kids?

Ben Gundersheimer (Mister G): Two of my albums have a literacy theme: (The Bossy E) and the bilingual CD (ABC Fiesta), so I’m a big fan of the “reading and rocking” combo. We’ll definitely be playing my song “Love to Read.” I was a lucky kid as my mom was a children’s book author/illustrator, and now some of the Mister G songs are in the process of being transformed into illustrated children’s books. Very exciting!

Michael Welke, drummer for The Not-Its! (former member of Harvey Danger):  Well as you know, for kids, reading is “FUN”damental. And The Not-Its! like to have fun. We realize that reading is and should very much be an important part of our young listeners lives. I mean, that’s where the idea for the song “Nose In A Book,” which you can be find on our last record “Raise Your Hand!” came from. If you take time to read our lyrics, they almost come across as short stories, set to music. So, the more our our fans can read our lyrics, the louder they can sing along and participate during our shows. That’s why we always say, READING ROCKS!

Lloyd Miller of the Deedle Deedle Dees: I’d rather be reading than anything else. So anything that encourages the activity is something that I’m much more likely to sign on for. Right now, as I answer these questions I’m resisting picking up one of the three books strewn around me.

Red Yarn:  Yes! I think there is a direct correlation between the high quality of modern Kid Lit and the top notch family music being made right now. For some time, people have widely accepted that children’s books can be real works of art. Only recently is a wider public realizing that children’s music can be the same. I’m so happy that Rock & Read are holding Kid Lit and Kindie Rock up in the same glowing Texas sunlight.

Big Don:  Absolutely, there’s even a song on our new CD that we’re currently working on called “Reading Is Fun”. Books are such an amazing part of teaching kids about engaging stories and narratives from their own personal perspectives. It’s one of the most valuable early tools of personal independence that kids are taught.

3.  My kids were born and being raised as Austinites.  Tell me how much you love our wacky city!  Any interesting stories about A-town you’d like to share with my readers?

Ben Gundersheimer (Mister G): Hanging out backstage with Shaky Graves at Austin City Limits after our concert last October was a definite highlight. For a musician, coming to play in Austin is always inspiring. There are so many amazing players and it seems like I’m always wandering in to a little club and discovering great music. Not to mention eating tacos from a food cart while listening to a fantastic local band.

Michael Welke, drummer for The Not-Its! (former member of Harvey Danger):  The only experience I have with Austin is during SXSW, which really isn’t a true representation of your fine city. Although, if it was, I would probably find myself with an Austin zip code sometime in the near future. I have a couple good stories. The first happened last year during The Not-Its! first full band trip to the festival. One night we were walking down 6th Street, people watching as one does, and I caught a glimpse of someone out of the corner of my eye who I thought looked like someone from the television series The Walking Dead. So, we picked up the pace a bit and sure enough, it was Norman Reedus, aka Daryl. He saw us and realized we noticed who he was. But because he is such rad dude, he stopped and let us snap a couple photos with him (see attached). And then later on that evening, we ended up at a party hosted by Sonos, which was amazing in itself. After about an hour, a server had asked if we wouldn’t mind moving to another table because they were expecting some very important guests. So we obliged, in true Texas fashion. The next thing we knew, we turned around and realized who the VIP crew consisted of…Jimmy Kimmel and Bill Murray! No joke! It was by far the highlight of our SXSW/Austin experience. The Not-Its! love Austin.

Lloyd Miller of the Deedle Deedle Dees: The first time we played Austin was 2007. We toured the local libraries, playing at least four on our trip in addition to a big multi-act show at Ruta Maya. We pretty much had time to perform, eat, and sleep. And get lost on the MoPac. That’s what I think of when I think of Austin: non-stop, music and more music with a bit of rest in between.

Red Yarn:  Austin also made me the artist and performer that I am today. My first stage was the Paramount Theater – when I was in 3rd grade I was cast as Tiny Tim in Zach Scott’s annual production of ‘The Christmas Carol.’ My first show at a legit music venue was at Emo’s with my high school punkabilly band. I’ve been performing ever since!

Big Don: Austin is absolutely one of the greatest cities in the world. My personal favorite thing about Austin is all of the great festivals for families, whether it’s learning about books and music or just going to a giant park and flying a kite with the rest of the entire community. 

4.  Tell me which band or writer you are most excited to see at Rock & Read?  You can pick more than one!

Ben Gundersheimer (Mister G): That’s like asking to pick your favorite kid! It’s impossible! I’m looking forward to hearing lots of music, connecting with our old friends in Austin and making new ones.

Lloyd Miller of the Deedle Deedle Dees: I’m a huge fan of Red Yarn. He collaborated with us on a show at a kid music conference in Philly and I also shared a stage with him in Portland. He’s one of the few family performers that I will actually stand and watch his whole set. It’s really unique.

Red Yarn:  I am really excited to share the stage with Austin locals the Que Pastas for their CD release show at Rock & Read. I am so glad that there are Austin bands building a strong kindie community there. I reached out to the Que Pastas before my last trip to Austin in August and recruited their talented (and handsome) upright bass player, Simon Flory, to be in my Austin band. He’ll be playing with me again this trip! I haven’t seen them perform live yet, so I’m excited to finally have the opportunity.

But I can’t stop there! I’m also thrilled to share a stage with Mister G, Lucky Diaz, Lloyd Miller & the Deedle Deedle Dees, and fellow Pacific NW’ers the Not Its. The national kindie community is so inclusive and supportive that all these acts have helped me out in one way or another in the past few years. This showcase feels like a reunion of friends!

Big Don: Mister G is especially a fun artist, and I’m actually super excited about author Dianna Hutts Aston attending the Bookpeople Storytime Tent. Actually I’m excited about all the authors…I mean you everybody loves storytime!

Thanks to the event sponsors, The Domain, Austin Diagnostic Clinic and Springfree Trampoline, and LiveMom for making this event possible.

Psst! Here’s some more Unofficial #SXSW family showcases


Confirmed Acts:

Yes, by the way, they’ve got two Latin Grammy winners on one bill (Mister G and Lucky Diaz), along with the 2015 Austin Chronicle Musician of the Year (Gina Chavez)!  That’s crazy great.  They’ll also have science activities, trampolines courtesy of sponsors Springfree, and much more!


A fantastically fun tribute to David Bowie, who always knew that kids were a different species.

  • 11:00 The Hey Lolly Band
  • 11:30 The Barton Hills Choir with Charlie Sexton and Nakia
  • 11:55 Nakia solo set
  • 12:15 The Pop Ups (read my past reviews are here and here)
  • 12:30 The Deedle Deedle Dees with Red Yarn (read my past reviews here and here)
  • 1:00 Joe McDermott
  • 1:30 Bad Luck Jonathan (Jon Langford)
  • 2:00 David Wax Museum (read my past review here)
  • 2:30 Riders Against the Storm
  • 3:00 Rockaroni and Cheese
  • 3:30 Lucky Diaz & the Family Jam Band (read my past album reviews here, here, and HERE)
  • 4:00 Groundwork Music Orchestra
  • Jon Langford (full band)

SXSW Rock & Read Family Event (FREE at the Domain) March 20, 2016!

List Price: $ FREE!!!!!!!


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