Last week six Austin artists, Carson Mchone, Jesse Moore, Leo Rondeau, Aisha Burns, Dana Falconberry and Mrs. Glass travelled to the North By Northeast Music Festival in Toronto. The group of musicians were accompanied by Chris Brecht founder of Austin Independent Radio, an online music discovery service. The trip was funded through a new program called Music Across Borders supported by local music venues.
The group stayed together in an AirBNB house just east of downtown. Brecht says in between performances they spent four days and three nights "rambling together, eating together, chumming together."
They hosted an Austin music showcase and Brecht appeared alongside representatives from the City of Austin Music Office on a panel on global music cities.
Over the past few years Austin has been developing a sister city relationship with Toronto and music is a big component. (Let's all take a moment to fondly recall the awkward Austin City Limits Festival visit from embattled Toronto mayor Rob Ford last year.) Putting the trip together, Brecht worked closely with representatives of Music Canada, who warmly welcomed the group in big and small ways.
"We talked (to them) about the difficulty of eating well while traveling and then received a giant fruit basket delivered to our door the next day!" singer songwriter Aisha Burns said via email.
Burns described the trip as "completely wonderful."
"I hope its the beginning of an exchange with NXNE that continues for years to come," she said.
Brecht is working on a documentary about the trip. Here's the trailer.