If there was one place that encapsulate everything Austin stands for…The Sekrit Theater is it.
Ahhh, Austin Tx, the live music capital of the world. With some of the biggest names in music playing here every year, its no surprise this magical city is such a magnet for creatives of all types. This however doesn’t come without consequences, in fact current statistics show that every 20 years the population doubles with 85 new residents relocating to the US’s 14th largest city every day, which equates to 70 more cars on the road each day!
Austin is also famous for South By South West, or as its known ‘SXSW’. Established in 1985, the festival was just music based and in its first year included 172 acts and 700 people showed up. In 1994 the festival expanded in to multimedia and film only later to be split into two separate events in 1995 and then in 1999 was renamed to what we know now as ‘Interactive’. Today, Film and Interactive see 32,000 people alone….impressive!
While SXSW is a brilliant event for all media lovers – it too comes at a price. You see Austin isn’t called the Live Music Capital of The World for nothing…you can’t move without hearing music even when the festivals are long gone. SXSW, while it aims to accommodate local talent, it can saturate an already highly competitive market even more and leave some locals praying for it to all be over with for another year.
This year I visited Austin for the 3rd year in a row – Not however for SXSW but instead to visit another lesser known location. Back in 2015 I was introduced to Beau Reichert, a man that sums up everything I feel Austin stands for and who has single handedly created one of the most magical places for creative people to come together and collaborate, The Sekrit Theater…..think falling down the rabbit hole and finding a creative R&D facility…yea, I know what your thinking! Set on private land, we pull up outside confronted with a small house with a pond out front. It was late evening when we arrived and lights dotted within the trees illuminated our way up the path. We passed a custom made green house with a dance floor and chandeliers leading to an outdoor candle lit bath and shower. We come to a clearing where we are presented with even more magic. A large pagoda is tucked away in the corner, housing a 5ft wide disco ball bathed in purple light. A school bus with sofa’s and even more lights. A projection house with a bar downstairs and a digital and Reel to Reel projector upstairs projecting movies on to one of the largest cinema screens I have ever seen.
This year I was visiting to take some new promotional shots for a dear friend and immensely talented signer/songwriter, Lacy Rose – Beau kindly hosted us for the two weeks I was in town and allowed us to shoot for 48hrs non stop! The thing that always strikes me about The Sekrit Theater is the extraordinary way it brings people together and how Beau’s pleasure comes solely from the idea of giving back to the community and aiding artists to realise their ideas and potential with a safe place to rehearse, showcase and develop. While this place has a name – it is also important to remember that this is private property and he doesn’t need to open his doors – but he does because he believes in the ‘We’ in ‘Weird’ – as they say ‘Keep Austin Weird’ and knows to keep it a place that caters for all – it takes everyone. Coco Rosie were in town and used the theater as base camp, commenting that they have never felt more comfortable with where they were staying whist on tour. They put on a killer show to say thank you to Beau and left everyone realising what a magical place The Sekrit Theater is.
Perhaps being based in London I find this amazing because the UK has nowhere like it – but on second thoughts, Its because the rest of the world has nowhere like this. Long live The Sekrit Theater! Show your support by popping by and talking to Beau when you head to Austin to see what this amazing city is truly about.
For more information and directions, visit the Facebook page here