A Song in Our Hearts
One of the things that makes Easton Park unique is our annual Music in the Park concert series. Music in the Park started in the early days of the neighborhood as a way for the HOA team to bring the community together. Because live music is such an important part of Austin’s vibe and culture, it seemed only natural to bring local artists out to Easton Park to perform for residents, guests, and friends.
Things Started Small
Like, really small. On a warm September evening in 2018, the first concert kicked off when local Austin rapper Saul Paul came out to Bryant Park and performed for around 15 people. “It was tiny!” says Easton Park’s Director of Community Engagement Paul Cardenas. “There were like 15 people here, with no seating and no stage, and like five kids running around Bryant Park!”
Run By Residents
When the pandemic hit, the official Music in the Park shows stopped, but music still managed to make its way to Easton Park. Knob Hill resident Nicole Moss and her husband Steve began hosting socially distanced live music shows from their garage across from Knob Hill. “It all started in May of 2020,” Nicole says. “My cousin Ryan Hannasch is the drummer for Swimming with Bears and a few other bands, and he knew a lot of artists who were happy to play gigs since everything was shut down because of COVID.” Their first show had artist Jackie Venson performing for an audience of about 25 friends and neighbors spread out on Knob Hill.
Socially Distanced Fun
Nicole and her husband Steve had never put together a concert before, but they were soon hosting shows on their lawn on first Saturdays of each month with local bands including Nané, Bart Crow, Ley Line, and Tony Kamel. “These bands are running their own businesses, and it was a fun way to support local artists and give our community a unique experience,” Nicole says. “It was like our own version of the NPR Tiny Desk Concert!”
As capacity at the shows grew and pandemic restrictions went back to normal, the concerts moved to The Union, Easton’s beautiful amenity center. Nicole and several other residents including Ryan Sonnenberg became key members of the Music in Park Committee, which choses bands and organizes the shows. “Nicole is passionate about everything she does,” says Xochitl Diaz, Easton Park’s HOA Communications Coordinator. “We wouldn’t be able to have the talent here without her and the whole resident committee that runs Music in the Park! They volunteer to work on things like the sound and lighting and finding the kind of music people want to see here.”
Blooming in 2022
The annual concert series has certainly grown since then, with our 2022 series involving six shows. After capacity restrictions over the past 2 years, our 2022 shows have been a special way for the community to gather and reconnect. For the first time, the shows are once a month, instead of every other month, and now they are free and open to the public. Our most recent show was at sold-out capacity with more than 200 guests in attendance!
“Our first show of 2022 was in March, with Nané,” Xochitl says. “They have been a fan favorite, and we were thrilled to have them back to open the series.” Sadly, it was one of the bands final shows before singer Daniel Sahad’s tragic passing in April. The proceeds from the show went to HAAM, an Austin non-profit that helps musicians pay for medical expenses.
In April, we had Easton’s first ever Rave in the Park with music from DJ Schmauzer. “It was great because he used to be an Easton Park resident,” Xochitl says. “The kids all had glow sticks! It was super fun!”
In May, indie rockers Space Trayn performed for our first concert in the grassy area by the Easton Park pool. Residents loved getting to jam out while swimming.
Our most recent concert featured the soulful alt rock band Swimming with Bears, who got their start at Easton Park playing in the Moss family garage!
Come Out and Join Us!
“Something we keep hearing from neighbors is how much they love it,” says committee member Ryan Sonnenburg. “They love being able to walk or drive to The Union, with or without kids, and be around their neighbors. It’s a great chance to meet new people and really engage with this community; that’s the reason people moved here is strong sense of community, so it’s only right that we’re holding these events and creating a spectacle out of it.”
Shows are open to the public, and recent shows have included bartending services with custom Easton Park cocktails. “I love the interactiveness of music,” Paul says. “Music is the heart of Austin, but also Easton, so why not bring the two together?”