Music and arts festival breathes life into Austin Avenue

The Music Association of Central Texas celebrated its anniversary with local artists, craftsmen and vendors selling work in the Austin Avenue Music and Arts festival this Sunday. Nathan De La Cerda | Multimedia Journalist

By KJ Burkley | Reporter

The Music Association of Central Texas celebrated its 20th anniversary by hosting the Austin Avenue Music and Arts festival this past Sunday.

Hundreds gathered to buy from vendor tables selling crafts, merchandise and art. Musical talents also took the stage to perform. Tom “Top” Clark, president of the association, said that there was no better way of celebrating their anniversary than with a street fest.

“We wanted to do something different for the public this year,” Clark said. “We wanted to do this music and arts fest because we feel that music and art go together, and we wanted to benefit people that own their own business.”

Clark said that over 30 vendors signed up to have booths for the festival, doubling the total present at the last street festival held back in May. He also said that the spaces for musicians are limited in Waco, but that as the association expands, so will their opportunities to perform in public.

The music scene at the festival was showcased as a variety bands took the stage to perform live in front of a ticketed audience. Clark said he hopes that as the association hosts more festivals and events, more younger artists will get involved.

“We certainly want younger people to come into the music scene because they are the future,” Clark said. “We more than welcome young people and Baylor students to the association to come and become members while they are here. There is strength in numbers, so there is no telling what we could do in making the scene bigger and better if we get more youth involved.”

The selection of vendor booths sold personally made T-shirts, jewelry and artwork. Even all-natural hand-poured soy candles were on display, sold by the Wild Susan company from Austin. Company owner Matt Sloan, who has sold candles in stores in Waco, said they bring a unique product to Waco and Baylor that would spark major interest with students.

“I love coming to Waco because of family and because it’s a great market outlet,” Sloan said. “I have five markets in Austin, and Texas; students help with those markets there, so I think it would be great opportunity for Baylor students to experience something that’s new with the Wild Susan company candles.”

Austin sophomore and first-time festival attendee Katie Lakey said she was glad to have found out about the festival because of her love for art and the festival’s ambiance.

“I think the festival reflects Waco culture and community,” Lakey said. “Everyone comes here together to display their own craftsmanship. It’s like a small-town atmosphere, and I like the small-town atmosphere. Everyone is here to mingle and shop and it’s a cool experience.”