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12 Austin Brands and Experiences That Support Our Music and Film Community

From locally-made Cornucopia Popcorn to cinema classes at Austin Film Society, engage with local arts and culture


Austin has a proud reputation as an incubator for legendary musical artists and visionary filmmakers. Peruse this list for great ways to dive into our creative community by supporting the city’s precious music and film industries, or find opportunities to bring a bit of their magic into your own home.

A membership to musician grant program Black Fret

Austin has a bevy of organizations to aid musicians financially, but non-profit Black Fret stands out for its sizable grants and the plethora of artists it has supported. The organization gave a total of more than a quarter of a million dollars to 20 local musicians last year, and has donated millions since its inception in 2013. Members receive an array of gifts upon joining, as well as exclusive invitations to public and private concerts and galas throughout the year. Plus, your membership fees go directly to strengthening Austin’s music community. ($750)

Popcorn from Cornucopia for your movie night

What’s a movie night without popcorn? If you’re hosting the perfect cinematic gathering at home (more and more likely these days), it’s imperative to get the good stuff, and Cornucopia, with two locations in North Austin, has you covered. You can buy quantities ranging from a small bag up to a 6.5-gallon tin. If classic, buttered popcorn is your thing, they’ve got it by the bucketful. However, they also offer a variety of flavors like buffalo blue cheese, chocolate turtle and salted toffee. My advice: try dill pickle. (Starting at $10)

Tickets for the Hi, How Are You Benefit show in May featuring Grouplove and The Polyphonic Spree

In honor of the late, iconic Austin musician Daniel Johnston, the Hi, How Are You Project was founded to end the stigma around mental health through education and conversation. In May of last year, the organization released a ten-part video series about mental health support on college campuses, intended as a training manual for student housing communities. Each year, the non-profit hosts a benefit concert that helps fund the organization’s aims. On May 4, the project will bring Grouplove, The Polyphonic Spree and more to ACL Live at the Moody Theater, and tickets are on sale now. ($40 – $80)

Hi, How Are You Project apparel and housewares

Support a good cause and rep a symbol of Austin’s musical identity with merchandise from the Hi, How Are You Project. Many of the items feature Jeremiah the Innocent Frog, the iconic Daniel Johnston-created imagery on the mural along Guadalupe Street. On a recent livestream, Wilco front man Jeff Tweedy sported a hat from the shop that features the celebrated artwork. Another popular item is a doormat printed with the recognizable frog — a perfect Austin way to warmly welcome guests to your home. ($50)

A karaoke party rental from Rock n Roll Rentals

If you’ve missed belting out your favorite tunes in a crowded bar without worrying about whose saliva is on the microphone, a home karaoke party rental from Rock n Roll Rentals can scratch that itch. For just $50, you can get everything you need — a PA system, microphones, party lights and a display interface — to host a perfect karaoke party. For slightly more, you can get a system large enough to host an outdoor karaoke shindig for the whole block. ($50)

A tote bag full of records from End of an Ear

End of an Ear has been one of Austin’s most stalwart purveyors of records since Dan Plunkett and Blake Carlisle opened it in 2005. With a wide range of new and used vinyl, the store specializes in a deep knowledge of rare and out-of-print albums as well as music from local artists. Their tote bags are perfectly sized to load up with the latest music during an afternoon browsing vinyl. (Starting at $20)

A stay at Hotel Van Zandt in the live music district

Named after legendary folk singer-songwriter Townes Van Zandt, this gorgeous hotel sits just south of downtown, in Austin’s Rainey Street District. Whether you’re visiting the city or opting for a staycation in the luxury of the hotel’s sophisticated and stylish accommodations, Hotel Van Zandt is a perfect escape. Live music can be found on the block or via a short walk to the historic Red River District. You can also enjoy refined dining in the hotel’s restaurant, Geraldine’s, or venture around the corner for the relaxed beer garden atmosphere of Banger’s. (Starting at $255)

A record subscription from local label Keeled Scales

Founded in 2014, Keeled Scales Records is an Austin-based independent label whose roster features a number of local artists such as Sun June, Jordan Moser and recent signing The Good Lucks. Support local music without leaving the comfort of your home by purchasing the label’s $150 subscription service for all nine of their planned 2022 releases, along with a T-shirt designed specifically for subscription members. Too much commitment? Browse the label’s back catalog of excellent releases by artists like Will Johnson and Buck Meek. ($150)

A membership to the All Genders, Lifestyles, and Identities Film Festival

The All Genders, Lifestyles, and Identities Film Festival (aGLIFF) aims to promote film work from LGBTQIA+ identifying persons and is hosted in August. Purchasing a membership entitles you to attend monthly screenings, occasional special events throughout the year, and all content associated with the upcoming festival in 2022. The six different membership plans all have options for monthly installments. ($300 – $2500)

A beginner guitar from homegrown shop Strait Music

Since 1963, Austin-based Strait Music has been supplying instruments and equipment to the city’s bounty of artists. If you have an aspiring young musician in your household or are looking to start playing yourself, an affordable entry level guitar is a great way to get started. The Yamaha FG800 is a perfect choice, or stop by their locations in North or South Austin and talk with someone in-store to find the perfect instrument for you. ($219)

A colorful faux-taxidermy creation from musician Josh Merry

Austin band Go Fever delivers a vibrant blend of rock, pop and punk. Equally colorful are the whimsical, faux-taxidermy creations by the band’s guitarist, Josh Merry, whose bright pink, faux-taxidermy Yeti appears on Go Fever’s newest album cover. To busy himself amid the pandemic, Merry began making buffalo, cheetahs, llamas and more out of cardboard and faux fur, but says he can build almost anything to a client’s desire. Prices range from $300 to $900, and the best way to shop is by visiting Merry’s Instagram page. ($300 – $900)

A class on cinema technique from Austin Film Society

With a claim to famed filmmakers — Richard Linklater, Robert Rodriguez and Andrew Bujalski, to name a few — Austin undoubtedly has a talented young crop of rising cinema buffs ready to follow in their footsteps. If you’re among them, bolster your chops with a class from Austin Film Society, which offers courses on topics like field lighting techniques and camera rigging, among dozens of others. The full slate of classes is on the AFS website, and includes online and in-person options. ($0 – $50)