Spare The Rock By Southwest

Jan 22

We’ve got three full-on showcases coming up during South by Southwest this year, plus we’ll present a couple of bands (Red Yarn and David Wax Museum) during KUTX’s Wednesday morning show at the Four Seasons.  Every show is free, no badge required.

Family Music Meltdown

meltdownWednesday, March 16 • 3 – 7 pm (rain date Thursday)

Pan Am Park’s Hillside Theater, 2100 E. Third Street, Austin

Confirmed Acts:

Yes, by the way, we’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.  We’ll also have science activities, trampolines courtesy of sponsors Springfree, and much more!

All The Children Boogie: A Family-Friendly Tribute to David Bowie

Friday, March 18 • 11 am – 4 pm (times may be adjusted) • an LMNO Show

Scottish Rite Theater

  • Jon Langford + Band
  • Riders Against the Storm
  • David Wax Museum
  • Nakia
  • The Deedle Deedle Dees with Red Yarn
  • Joe McDermott
  • The Barton Hills Choir
  • Rockaroni & Cheese
  • Lucky Diaz
  • Groundwork Music Orchestra feat. Elizabeth McQueen

…and more TBA


Rock & Read

Sunday, March 20 • 1 – 5:30 pm (times approximate still)

The Domain • Austin

Confirmed acts:

We’ll also have a series of authors doing story time, thanks to amazing book store Book People!


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

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The Breakfast Club

Sep 24

Earlier this summer, Tim Kubart sent me some early mixes of tracks from his new record Home.  I checked a few out and sent him back a five-word email:

Breakfast Club is a hit.

I think I was right, and this video — brand new today — makes me even more sure.


Remember, he’s here in Austin on October 3 for a record release show at the Domain.  It’s free, and details are here.

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Hush Hush Music Bash: Full Details

Sep 20

Austin City Limits Music Festival is right around the corner. With so many fabulous musicians coming in for the festival, the whole city will benefit from the free fringe concerts that pop up all over town. If you have mini music fans at home, bring them to the Hush Hush Music Bash at The Domain for the only Kiddie Limits after party in town!

That’s right, we’re bringing a little bit of ACL to you for FREE! Austin’s only after party for kids is going down at Domain II in Amy Donovan Plaza, from 4-7 p.m., on October 3, 2015. With music sponsored by Austin Diagnostic Clinic, the afternoon features performances by Elizabeth McQueen, Tim Kubart with Mother Falcon, and Mario the Magician that will rock mini music lovers’ world—literally. Just when you thought it was time to put the kids to bed…. it’s time to party at the Domain, instead.


Elizabeth McQueen will kick off the bash at 4 p.m. Known for her beautiful and timeless vocal style, McQueen’s music brings together the best of multiple genres into groovy, danceable art­ form.

Next, Mario the Magician will hit the stage at 5:00 p.m. Part retro, part rock­-and­roll, Mario’s uplifting, highly interactive and ridiculously funny performance is sure to thrill the kids.

As part of a multi­city release for his newest album Home, Tim Kubart will perform “indie pop for all ages” with Mother Falcon at 6 p.m., finishing off a night that will have kids begging for more.

Activities include: Advertisement

  • Cupcake decorating from Baked by Amy’s
  • Hockey demos by Chaparral Ice
  • Microsoft Store Gaming zone
  • Dance competition with swag!
  • Instrument demos with Music Forever Music Together
  • Slapshot with Texas Stars Hockey Club
  • ….. and much more!

What: Hush Hush Music Bash for Kids

Where: Domain II, Amy Donovan Plaza, 11410 Century Oaks Terrace, Austin

When: October 3, 2015, from 4-7 pm

Cost: FREE

For updates, check the Facebook event page.

The Hush Hush Music Bash is brought to you by Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child, The Domain and See you there!

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Live Music, from Austin to Northampton

Feb 09

Ah, March is coming up, which means a boatload of stuff, music-wise — most notably our Austin events during South by Southwest, and the sixth (I think) year of the River’s Family Music Meltdown and Book Bash!

A quick rundown:

  • Wednesday, March 18 • 3-7:30 • Pan Am Park, 2100 E. 3rd Street, Austin • Family Music Meltdown • Free!
    • Big Don
    • The Que Pastas
    • Gina Chavez
    • Koo Koo Kanga Roo
    • The Not-Its!
    • The Jellydots
    • Ralph’s World
    • Fun stuff!
  • Saturday, March 21 • 3-7:30 • Domain Amphitheater, Austin • Rock Chalk (website coming soon) • Free!
    • Elizabeth McQueen
    • Ralph’s World
    • Koo Koo Kanga Roo
    • Groundwork Music Orchestra
    • The Jellydots
    • Ralph’s World
    • Joe McDermott
    • Chalk art competition!
  • Saturday, March 28 • 10:00-4:00 • Smith Voke High School, Northampton, MA • The River’s Family Music Meltdown and Book Bash • Free!
    • Performers
      • The Deedle Deedle Dees
      • Mister G
      • Stacey Peasley Band
      • The Pop Ups
      • The Nields
      • In the Nick of Time
      • JJ Farnham
      • Shiprock & Anchordog
      • Story Laurie
      • The Whirlygigs
      • Vanessa Trien
      • Tom Knight Puppets
      • Talking Hands Theatre
    • Authors
      • Mike Curato
      • Grace Lin
      • Jarrett J. Krosoczka
      • Erica Perl
      • Nick Bruel
    • Other Stuff
      • Smith Voke Petting Zoo
      • River’s Get Down Dance Party
      • Bounce Houses
      • Circus Demonstrations
      • Acrobatics Demonstrations
      • Awesome Local Food
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Macaroni & Cruise!

Aug 30

boat guyI’m crazy excited to finally get to tell you a little bit about Macaroni & Cruise: A Festival at Sea for Kids and their Grownups!

I’ve been talking with the people behind Jonathan Coulton‘s long-standing JoCo Cruise Crazy for close to a year about creating a family-oriented cruise, and it’s going to happen next summer — August 3-7, 2015, sailing from Miami to Grand Bahama Island, Nassau and Great Stirrup Cay on Norwegian Cruise Lines’ Norwegian Sky.

We will have a ton of amazing music and activities — so far, we’ve announced Spare the Rock favorites Lucky Diaz & the Family Jam Band, Tim Kubart & the Space Cadets, Secret Agent 23 Skidoo, and The Doubleclicks — plus Lego master builder Nathan Sawaya!

We’ll also have game playing, dance parties, and lots of time to just relax and get to know new friends on what looks like an amazing ship (and more performers will be announced)!

To be the first to get complete details, sign up for the mailing list at  Even if you have never thought about going on a cruise (like me!), I hope you’ll think about this one — by all accounts, the JoCo cruises are ridiculously fun, and I’m so enjoying working with them to make this one amazing and smart too.

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Meltdown 2014

Mar 31

daisyThe sixth annual presentation of the River’s Family Music Meltdown and Book Bash is completed, and holy smokes what a day it was.

It was — by a fair margin — a record-setting day, attendance-wise (we’re estimating between 3,500 and 4,000 people came through over the six hours).  The music and book lineups were insanely good.  The piglets were insanely adorable.  The food was fantastic.  The bounce houses were bouncy, the gymnasts were gymnastic, the circus show arts people were circusy, the dance room was dancey, and everyone was incredibly happy.

Doing a little back-of-the-envelope math, I think the Meltdown is likely, per capita, the best-attended family music/book festival in the country.  (About 270,000 people live in the three counties that the River’s broadcast reaches; that means we had around 1.4-1.5% of the target population out.)  Maybe there’s another one I don’t know about, and that’s fine, but regardless: Wow!  That’s a ton of people.

The River had an official photographer there so we’ll have more pictures soon, and probably some video too.  But this photo of Anand and Scott, from Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem, I think sums it up — crazy fun musicians, packed but happy crowds, and nobody freaking out — even though there are literally dozens of balloons on the ceiling, each of which presumably came from a child.

Anyway: Man, I love y’all.  Huge thanks to Jarrett for an incredible author/illustrator lineup, and tremendous energy.  Thanks to Mark Lattanzi at the station for making everything work.  Thanks to all of the station staff for their hard work, especially Monte for his awesome author previews.  Thanks to the sponsors and vendors.  Thanks to the performers and authors/illustrators for entertaining us.  Thanks to the school.

And thanks you all for coming out and having fun.

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