Austin PBS to premiere film documenting Austin musicians' ill-fated 2020 festival trip
"An R&B lyricist, a beats-making electropop mastermind, a honky-tonk singer, an indie darling, an alt-country guitarist, and an experimental multi-instrumentalist take the stage at Jai Thep Festival in Thailand at the dawn of a pandemic. And that’s only a small part of the story."
That's how Project ATX6 ringleader Chris Brecht begins his description of "Lift Me Up," a documentary film that premieres Friday on Austin PBS. Since the mid-2010s, Brecht has annually assembled a team of six local musicians for trips to a handful of international music festivals, and he's documented the journeys on film each year.
The 2019-2020 class included Alesia Lani, Evan Charles (of Altamesa), Jonathan Horstmann, Leslie Sisson (of Moving Panoramas), Kathryn Legendre, and Mike St. Clair (of Pocket Sounds). After an initial appearance at a festival in Toronto, the musicians headed to Thailand in early 2020 for the second of what was expected to be three fests during their tenure, with a U.K. event to follow.
That last trip never happened, because the coronavirus pandemic began to wreak havoc on the world while the group was in Thailand. "Lift Me Up" documents how they dealt with the situation, and continues to document how they returned home to find Austin's music scene shut down. Here's a trailer:
The film will show at 8 p.m. Friday on Austin PBS, with an repeat presentation at midnight that night. A final airing will take place at 2 p.m. on Sunday, June 27.
Beyond his Project ATX6 activities, Brecht recently opened a new coffee shop, Freewheelin', with Megan LaPrelle, his bandmate in the group Eastern Leaves. It operates out of a trailer on the grounds of Cesar Chavez Street bar Long Play East.