Ray Benson‘s birthday party as a fundraiser for HAAM is an Austin tradition during SXSW. The passes are sought after, and there are always some big name surprise guests on stage with Ray and his house band, Asleep At The Wheel. Through the years I have seen many great artists at this event, Willie Nelson, The Avett Brothers, George Strait, Carolyn Wonderland and many others.
The venue for the party the last years has been behind the GSD&M building, the same place where Lukas Nelson played the day before. The event is invite only, and the crowd is also expected to donate to HAAM, Health Alliance for Austin Musicians. Through the years the event has contributed more than half a million dollars to this great organization.
Katie Shore fro Asleep At The Wheel
This year Ray Benson had Delbert McClinton, Tony Joe White and The Preservation Hall Jazz Band as the biggest names, together with Bonnie Bishop, Jesse Dayton, Brennen Leigh, Jonathan Tyler, Nikky Lane, Rob Baird and Paul Thorn. He also started the show with some songs with Asleep At The Wheel, who will have a new CD out this summer.
The Preservation Hall Jazz Band
Tony Joe White
All photos are © Per Ole Hagen and must not be used without written permission