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The Wallace and Euna Pryor Collection, no. 2 - Aqua Fest, Interview and Performance by Willie Nelson (1973)

Wallace and Euna Pryor

Sound | 1973

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  •  The crowd enjoys BBQ plates 
  •  Interview with Will Nelson about the popularity of country music 
  •  Willie Nelson plays  
 
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  • About the video
  • The Wallace and Eun... The Wallace and Euna Pryor Collection
  • Willie Nelson Willie Nelson
  • Aqua Festival Aqua Festival
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This footage captures an interview with and performance by Willie Nelson at the 1973 Austin Aqua Festival. Held at Fiesta Gardens in Austin's Festival Beach Park, Aqua Fest was founded in 1962 to promote Austin and the surrounding region as a destination and to boost the local economy during its slow season. In the film, Austinites enjoy Texas beers and barbecue while Willie discusses the resurgence of country music.

Known to many as the "Voice of the Longhorns," Wally Pryor served as the announcer for UT sports from 1953 until 2002. While his voice was certainly recognizable he also played an active role as a producer – for KTBC, amongst others – and regularly served as an emcee for various events. Wally regularly worked as a producer for his older brother Richard "Cactus" Pryor. The films in the Wally Pryor collection represent a range of films from home movies, to various pieces he produced, films featuring himself, and several films featuring Cactus Pryor.

Willie Nelson was born in Abbot, Texas on April 29, 1933.  He is a world renowned country music singer and musician, as well as an actor, activist, and author.   His most famous country albums include Shotgun Willie (1973), Red Headed Stranger (1975) and Stardust (1978).  Nelson popularized the “outlaw country” subgenre along with Merle Haggard and Waylon Jennings, and has written some of the most famous country music songs recorded, including Patsy Cline’s “Crazy,” which he wrote at the ripe age of 19, “On the Road Again,” and “Pancho and Lefty.”  His primary musical collaboration is with Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson, and Waylon Jennings, performing as the Highwaymen, among many others.  Nelson was named the honorary chairman of the advisory board of the official music charity of the state of Texas, the Texas Music Project, for his philanthropic work in and outside the music community.  He was also inducted to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1993 and received a 1998 Kennedy Center Honor. 
 
Nelson has also advocated for marijuana legalization, biodiesel alternative fuel, and is a supporter of democratic campaigns, such as Dennis Kuchinich’s 2004 run.  He also founded the annual fundraiser Farm Aid, which benefits the local, American, small farmer, and has featured multitudes of musicians of different genres.

The Austin Aqua Festival began in 1962 as Aqua Fest, a ten-day festival that featured local music acts and a variety of water-related events, held in August to boost tourism during a normally slow season. Most events took place on the newly-formed Town Lake and "Festival Beach," a park along the river just east of Interstate 35. The festival included parades, a variety of races, a beauty pageant, and theme nights. In 1980, major Aqua Festival events were moved to the larger Auditorium Shores park, where multiple stages for entertainment shifted the focus of the festival towards ever larger musical acts and away from local talent and water sports through the 80s and 90s. After a few years of higher ticket prices and dropping attendance, the last festival was held in 1998.