Announcing The Museum of Street Culture Music Series

Encore Park Dallas is pleased to announce The Museum of Street Culture Music Series, to be held in the 508 Amphitheater, November 7, 2015 and running through April 8, 2016. All concerts and public programs are free of charge.

The Museum of Street Culture music series focuses on traditions that originate on the back roads and sidewalks of America – in small towns, sprawling suburbs, and inner city neighborhoods. Street culture embraces the music of the people, from blues singers and fiddlers to corridistas and rappers.

 508 Park Fiddle Contest

The Roots of Western Swing

With a special performances

by Texas Shorty, Wes Westmoreland and Valerie Ryals

November 7, 2015  - Contest 10AM- 4:30PM

 Presented in association with Texas Old Time Fiddlers Association

American Routes

American Routes show is syndicated by 225 radio stations (including KXT 91.7 locally), with over half a million listeners and will help to introduce the Museum of Street Culture and the history of 508 Park to people across the nation. The songs and stories on American Routes describe both the community origins of our music, musicians and cultures — the “roots”— and the many directions they take over time — the “routes.”

 Performers to be announced

Not Be Missed! The First Annual 508 Park Fiddle Contest

The 508 Amphitheater will soon resound to the music of fiddles, guitars and Western Swing.  The Museum of Street Culture is partnering with the Texas Old Time Fiddlers Association (TOTFA) to create a Fiddle and Western Swing competition on November 7, 2015.


Fiddle and Swing Music are nothing new to 508 Park - it is famous for the field recordings that took place in the warehouse of Brunswick Record Corporation’s regional offices. From the building’s third floor, Don Law orchestrated field recording sessions across the state of Texas and produced 843 recordings at 508 Park between 1935 and 1939. It was here that the first recordings of Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys were made.


Fiddling has always been a part of the Texas heritage. Even Davey Crockett brought his fiddle and played at the Alamo.  One of the very first country music recordings was done by Texan A. C. “Eck” Robinson, a fiddler from Amarillo, who recorded a tune called “Sally Gooden,” in New York in 1922.  Eck was early innovator of what is now called the Texas Style of fiddling, many fiddlers today play this tune today much the same as it was originally recorded by Robinson.


Inspiration for this event came from Alan Govenar, one of the forces behind the Encore Park project.  No stranger to Texas fiddling, Alan produced the 1985 documentary film “Texas Style” an intimate look at rural Texas culture and the traditional fiddle music played on its back roads. According to Alan, “This fiddle contest inaugurates The Museum of Street Culture music series, focusing on traditions that originate on the back roads and sidewalks of America — in small towns, sprawling suburbs, and inner city neighborhoods.”

Are you new to fiddling? Get some general background on fiddling

The competition will start at 10:00 a.m., Saturday, November 7, at the 508 Park Amphitheater. More information here:

and here:


Steven Johnson talks about music, singing, and his grandfather Robert Johnson

Music has been a part of who I am since I was born. Just like my dad, I’ve always been singing. Born and raised in Crystal Springs, Mississippi in a Christian household, we have always sung Gospel music.

Music is a great part of my life. Gospel music is who I am at the core and has had a large influence on my life. The message of resurrection is who I am. And the blues is my heritage and my birthright. I embrace both. 

I didn’t actually know that my granddad was legendary blues musician Robert Johnson until I was about 15 years old. My great grandfather and great grandmother raised my father, Claud. My great grandfather, being a preacher, refused to allow the blues to be played or sung in his home.

Read more here...


Dallas Street Choir to Open the Concert and Sing Alongside Johnson

Encore Park, an innovative cultural and social impact campus in Dallas’ historic Harwood District, is hosting the Robert Johnson Blues Revue on August 14 and 15 at its 508 Amphitheater. The public concert on August 15 will feature Robert Johnson’s grandson Steven Johnson and special guest guitarist Holland K. Smith and open with the Dallas Street Choir. The Robert Johnson Revue will also perform on August 14 following a VIP reception at the new amphitheater.   

Steven is returning to Dallas to celebrate and perform his grandfather’s music with his band at 508 Park, the exact location where Robert made music and blues history and recorded half of his songs in 1937. Robert Johnson’s only recordings were produced by Don Law and Art Satherley of the American Record Corporation (Brunswick and Vocalion). Johnson died in 1938. His music was rereleased by Columbia Records in 1961 as “King of the Delta Blues Singers,” influencing musicians around the world. Robert Johnson’s music inspired legendary artists like B.B. King, Eric Clapton, and Keith Richards.


“The band’s sound is Robert Johnson-style blues catered to the 21st Century,” quipped Steven Johnson. “We play ‘Sweet Home Chicago’ and all of my granddad’s music with a rhythm he would have played if he’d had a full band.”


The Dallas Street Choir will open for the main act at 8 p.m. on August 15 with four songs. The choir’s final song will be with Steven Johnson. Operating out of The Stewpot, which is located across Park Avenue from the 508 Amphitheater, the Dallas Street Choir is made up of people who are homeless and/or are severely disadvantaged. The choir is led by Jonathan Palant and aims to inspire people and lift the street community up. “Our sound is our own. It focuses on singing with heart and building a community through song,” says Palant. “We use song to forget the stresses of today, come closer together, and have fun.”


General admission tickets for the August 15 concert are $10 and preferred seating tickets are $40. Gates will open at 7:30 and event-goers are invited to bring small coolers. Chairs will be provided. No pets or firearms. Free public secure parking is available in the First Presbyterian Church garage at 408 Park Avenue at the northeast corner of Young Street and Park Avenue.  VIP tickets are $75 and include a reception and short show with Steven Johnson and his band on Friday night, August 14th. The VIP ticket will also include admission to the Saturday night concert. Both events will take place at the 508 Amphitheater starting at 8 p.m. Tickets can be purchased here