Texas Piano Man Robert Ellis is among the headliners at this Saturday’s ArtsGoggle. Courtesy

Holy shit, ArtsGoggle is really happening again.

This is the thought I had a few weeks ago when “Competing Downtown Arts Festivals” was a conversational topic I seemed to have gotten roped into at least once a day. My contributions to these discussions, usually across the bar top at my job, were mostly that I really cared only if artists sold art and if the bartenders made money, because several of my friends were hawking their shit at the Sundance Square festival and I had passed on an offer to bartend at it. After that happened, I had an additional thought: All y’all who dragged in conversation or social media one or both of these events, remember when those things were canceled for two years?

Now this is basically the theme of my “I Hate SXSW” column from last month, but it bears reiterating that for two years, a couple subsets of the economy — artists, service industry, and all the other craftspeople and intermediaries who make arts festivals happen — were sidelined, and even if you don’t like the logistics or the intent of a given event, you should check them out anyway, because you know, all of the people who work these things have bills to pay. They happen outside, so at least you’ll get some fresh air.


But also, ArtsGoggle, in my opinion, is the best of these annual arts fests, the one you’d stroll through if you had to pick only one. I’m biased, because I’ve worked in the heart of the festival for a whole-ass decade, but consider this: At those other arts festivals, how many local bands did you see? Because I bet that number is smaller than the number of bands playing the Boiled Owl Tavern on West Magnolia during ArtsGoggle alone. Full disclosure: I work there, but even if you never drop into the Owl — in which case you’d miss Cameron Smith and the Slings, Upsetting, Naaman the Rapper, Big Heaven, and five other area bands — you could still catch sets from locals like Lou Charle$, Cotinga, The Cush, Ferals, SageModeWrex, Yokyo (and another 10 great local acts), as well as some bigger artists: Sarah Jaffe headlines the West Stage at 8th and Magnolia at 9pm, and Robert Ellis takes the East Stage at S Main and Magnolia at 6pm — check @artsgoggle for full rosters and set times.

Of course, there’s the other piece of ArtsGoggle, the arts part, and regarding that, all the artists I’d expect to see on Magnolia this Saturday were probably also at the Fort Worth Art Fair, which kind of makes ArtsGoggle similar to that one but more fun and drama-free. So come through. See some bands. Get day-drunk and buy a print of Baby Yoda eating a Whataburger or whatever. ArtsGoggle is happening again, and you’ll be bummed if you miss it. — Steve Steward


Contact HearSay at