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Mar 28, 2012 | Jeanie Sablatura

St. David's Keeps Rockin' at SXSW

Arlo Guthrie
Arlo Guthrie performs in Bethell Hall
Photo courtesy of Paul Brick

For the fifth year, St. David's, Austin, was a music venue for the SXSW, a music and film festival that attracts hundreds of thousands of people to Austin. This year, the historic church and Bethell Hall played host to 67 acts bringing approximately 6,500 people through their front doors.


"Most people have no idea how much planning goes into this," said Lisa Kay Pfannenstiel, St. David's Director of Special Events. "Planning starts each January and then we essentially stop all our normal operations during this week and, with some amazing volunteers and staff members, spend the days transforming the space, and the evenings working the event until 2 or 3 a.m. Each year seems to get better and better."


And people are noticing. In a humorous blog, Rolling Stone's anonymous Twitter music critic, @discographies writes: 


Just down the street from the Presbyterian Church, which offers only water and M & Ms, is St. David's Episcopal Church, where the Café Divine – staffed by kindly parishioners wearing tie-dyed t-shirts – offers homemade baked goods, brisket sandwiches and beer.  Sorry, Presbyterians: you lose. 




The Dallas Morning News also praised St. David's as being one of the best venues in town:


Heavenly venue

This is the second year that I caught a show inside St. David’s Episcopal Church. The first was in 2010, Suzanne Vega at the church’s sanctuary. On Wednesday night, I enjoyed Canada’s Bahamas inside the church’s Bethell Hall. Both were about the most comfortable and pleasant concert experiences I’ve ever had at SXSW. Austin is such a melee of dingy clubs and standing-room-only dives. That is part of the city’s charm. But for appreciating the beauty of music, St. David’s was concert nirvana.