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 haven 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.
“He’s just been given a bunch of opportunities,” Castro said.
Vancerts is exactly what its name suggests: mobile concerts, courtesy of a refurbished van. Artists can set up shop in breweries, neighborhoods and within other spaces that may not have the infrastructure to support live music.
For local musicians, Austin’s rising costs of living, coupled with the shutdowns caused by COVID in recent years, have put an increasing strain on their livelihoods. With Vancerts, Castro said they want to remove any “middle man” from booking concerts so artists can take home as much of the profits as possible.
“Most of our events are free, and so what we’re allowed to do is give more compensation to the artists because we’re not asking for a kickback. [or a cut]”, said Castro. “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 in Austin and even beyond. Castro said they would like to take this concept overseas to the UK and help expand Vancerts’ reach.
But for now, Castro said Austin’s reception has been welcoming. And for local artists who’ve had a tough few years of closed venues, climbing costs and concerns about COVID, it’s a way to say “thank you” to the listeners who keep musicians’ passions alive and kicking.
“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 him.”
This story is part of a KXAN series highlighting Central Texas activities – you can see our full list on our Things to Do in Central Texas page. Have an idea for something we should profile? Email us at [email protected].