Editor’s Note: It has been brought to our attention that although Breakpoint at the Boardwalk spearheaded the promotion and hosted the event, the conceptualization and production elements of the event were executed by The Unconventional Oven. We apologize if the below information created confusion as to who owned & produced the event. 02-07-14
Tucked away in a large, gravel covered lot is Breakpoint at the Boardwalk. For those that are unaware, this is not a new park at all. It’s actually been around for a while now. The park, attempting to capitalize on the impending boom of the East Riverside district has been methodically building up it’s trailer lineup, curating events and slowly but surely gaining traction in regular customers.
This past Friday, the park did what others have attempted to do for years. Throw a massive event with a huge attendance. Sure, it took the help of Pizza Underground and often-left-behind Macauly Culkin to bring in the crowds, but holy crap was it an event.
I’ve been to Breakpoint before, and see it many times while running the 10mi loop of Town Lake. The park is in a great location with beautiful lush trees nearby and the lake. In true Austin fashion there is also the impending growth and literal/figurative red flags of the next residential development that has come to plague the city. Regardless, this park looks amazing. The event, Unconventional Oven Presents Pizza Underground was an incredible hit. We arrived at roughly 8PM to find that all roads near the park were lined with cars, bumper to bumper. Couples, friends, groups and high-spirited persons made their way to the park with cases of beers in hand and the occasional wine box.
As you approached the park you got see what a full-scale event looks like that is hosted by a trailer park. Snow fencing contained the perimeter, a stage with lights and live music AND AN AUDIENCE were present. Food trucks galore lines the venue and there were vendors to share the love too. Great new trucks like Unconventional Oven, OMG! Cheesecakery, Happy Times Eatery, Hunger Within were supported by slightly more established trucks like Wholly Kabob, Oyama and Svante’s Stuffed Burger. The VIP area boasted the presence of the almighty Jambulance, a killer retrofitted ambulance-turned party bus. If you haven’t heard of this thing yet you should. It was a huge hit at FunFunFun Fest and will be present at the upcoming Mobile Food Throwdown between The Peached Tortilla and Chi’Lantro. On top of that greatness, Real Ale was giving away free beer. We didn’t wait in line for that, but the flexibility of a BYOB park (at least for the event) was awesome. Abundant seating, a vibrant atmosphere and food trucks with lines. What else can you ask for?
In short, yes. The event was super fun. This brings another valid question though. How can a trailer park like Breakpoint survive with no real nightlife a stone’s throw away? There’s a reason that parks at 6th and Waller survive. In part, they are anchored by delicious trucks, but they are also banking on the business of the bars to help them patronize their trucks. You can only smell a delicious pizza for so long before you have to order one right? Bottom line, food + booze work. They work very well.
Breakpoint is a great space, and it needs to stay alive. In order to achieve this one of two things need to happen. The first is the rapid buildout of some bars a-la Manor Rd. This will keep the foot traffic flowing in the area. Sure the newly built residential establishments help, but it’s just not the same. We as Texas are chronic drivers. If it’s more than 200meters away you bet your ass you’ll hop in a car (most of the time) to get there. Residential does not always mean foot traffic.
The second is far more feasible and allows Breakpoint to control their own destiny. Turn this park into the premiere trailer-truck-driven event space. The park is great, the lighting is amazing and the skyline views are entrancing. This can work, and it has worked. Although the Pizza Underground event was largely free, there were some VIP tickets sold. From my standpoint, the VIP was packed to the gills. The real head scratcher is can it be done again sans-Macaulay? What type of large activations need to take place to make this a feasible day-to-day park?
Just a few thoughts, that’s all. We truly hope that parks like Breakpoint continue to develop and thrive around town. It’s a shame to lose such a great part our our Austin culture to new developments.
Have your own thoughts on the matter? Share them below!