Posts

Joe Priesnitz Curated Live Music for Austin’s Premier Running Events

Runners from around the world enjoyed live music on Austin’s streets because of Joe Priesnitz’s efforts

Joe Priesnitz used music to positively impact the lives of others. Lucky for us, he did this for runners at the Ascension Seton Austin Marathon and the 3M Half Marathon. Since 2014, Joe worked with and booked local Austin acts to play live music on course. Hundreds of thousands of runners and spectators from around the world experienced why Austin is the Live Music Capital of the World because of Joe. Unfortunately, he passed away on Saturday, April 25th, after a seven-year battle with multiple myeloma. Joe is considered a legend in the music industry. He managed and booked legendary artists like Eric Johnson, Kelly Willis, and Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble to name a few. Below are a few tributes from those positively impacted by the efforts of Joe Priesnitz.

Image of Jack Murray and Joe Priesnitz chatting after the 2017 Austin Marathon.

Jack and Joe chat at an Austin Marathon after party. Courtesy of Barbara Nadalini Priesnitz.

Jack Murray – co-owner of High Five Events (owner of Austin Marathon)

Runners from around the world love the variation of live music along the Austin Marathon and 3M Half Marathon courses. Joe booked everything from rock bands to bagpipe players for these events. Austin is known as The Live Music Capital of the World. Participants and spectators experience that firsthand on Austin’s streets thanks to Joe’s efforts. We’re appreciative of his and Barbara’s contributions to our events, the music world, and the City of Austin. We felt lucky to have him as part of the team. Joe will be missed.

Danny Spoonts – Austin Marathon Course Crew, long-time friend

Joe and I both grew up in New Mexico and became friends after high school. We both moved to Austin in the 70s and became close friends for 40+ years. Joe was all about music. I became a runner in the mid-80s and began working as Course Manager for the Austin Marathon in 2012. The event had an opening to book and organize bands. I knew Joe would be great and he came on board. After years of doing what we both loved, we now got to work together! Anyone who knew Joe knew he was far from being a runner, but he was always the one to help out. I believe he really enjoyed going back a bit to his roots of booking bands again.

Gemma Kitson – Australian runner, 2020 Austin Marathon finisher

Traveling to the other side of the world and lining up for a marathon, suddenly full of doubt, I wore my headphones like a toddler clutching tightly to a security blanket. I was ready to be powered along by a playlist carefully curated by the friends who would typically run beside me as if I were home in Melbourne. It took minutes for it to be discarded while simultaneously falling in love with Austin. Eventually, I hit pause mid-song as I discovered a local group rocking out on a street corner. “How quirky,” I thought. By the third music pit-stop, I knew I had stumbled onto something pretty special.

I shared videos with everyone back home as I ran past yet another music group – and again, a totally different genre and different setup. I happily sacrificed my finish time as I stopped to capture the diverse range of gatherings with my phone. My feet found a new beat every handful of kilometers as the next band came into earshot. Never before had I seen SO much music on a run course. I hadn’t paid much attention to Austin’s reputation as The Live Music Capital of the World in my travel research until I found myself hanging onto the memories of each band I passed. Like any great soundtrack, the Austin Marathon’s music accompanied me on a journey that changed me forever. Austin and its amazing musical pulse will always be a part of my heartbeat now.

John and Stacey Conley – former owners of the Austin Marathon

Joe joined our team in 2014. He not only knew all of the major Austin musicians, but he also knew every garage band, bongo drummer, and bagpipe player in town. Joe worked side-by-side with our course manager, Danny Spoonts, to place the musicians and Joe delivered meals to them while they were on the course. He made sure that the acts had as good a time supporting the Austin Marathon as our participants had running the race. Joe was an unassuming professional who knew music, the musicians, the city, and our team. He will be sorely missed.

Thanks, Joe

Joe Priesnitz’s impact on the music industry is undeniable, but his impact didn’t stop there. Hundreds of thousands of runners and spectators from around the world saw and heard why Austin is The Live Music Capital of the World. The Austin Marathon is grateful for Joe’s contributions. Our thoughts are with Barbara and his family and friends.

Image of Paramount Theatre marquee saying farewell to Joe Priesnitz. Courtesy of Bells and Whistles.

Courtesy of Bells and Whistles.

Feature and social images courtesy of Barbara Nadalini Priesnitz.

Austin Marathon Donates Nearly $23,000 to Paramount Theatre

Austin Marathon donates to Austin’s oldest theatre

The Ascension Seton Austin Marathon presented by Under Armour donates $22,780 to Paramount Theatre. The donation, in conjunction with Austin Marathon weekend, has increased annually since High Five Events took over in 2017. Nearly 2400 participants registered for the KXAN SimpleHealth 5K benefitting Paramount Theatre. A portion of their registration fee supports the historic Austin theatre and its educational programs. The 5K is a part of Austin Marathon weekend and is the only 5K to run on historic South Congress Avenue.  

Image of the Paramount Theatre marquee displaying the name Austin Marathon KXAN SimpleHealth 5K benefitting Paramount Theatre.“We are thrilled to continue this partnership and be the recipient of funds from the KXAN SimpleHealth 5K. The funds from this event support our Education programs serving over 22,000 students each year. Performing, experiencing and learning through the arts helps all young people have the creative confidence they need to be successful in their communities,” said Maica Jordan, Chief Development Officer. “These funds have immediate and enormous impact on our ability to serve the students most in need. Thanks to all who participated in the 5K and we look forward to seeing you all again next year.”

About the Paramount Theatre

Inspired by the power of the arts to change lives, the Paramount Theatre strives to engage all Central Texans through extraordinary live performances and films, to ignite the intellect and imagination of our youths through Paramount Education programs, and to ensure the preservation of the crown jewels of downtown Austin. Constructed in 1915 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Paramount Theatre is one of the world’s few surviving examples of a fully operational early twentieth-century vaudeville theatre. More than 250,000 guests attend performing arts events, concerts, film, and talks downtown each year; the Paramount is a principal venue for the SXSW Film Festival, the Austin Film Festival, the Moontower Comedy Festival, and the Summer Classic Film Series

“The historic Paramount Theatre has a massive impact on Austin through its shows, community engagement, and educational programs,” said Jack Murray, co-owner High Five Events. “We’re excited to grow our partnership and proud to continue our support for the Paramount through the KXAN SimpleHealth 5K.”

2021 Austin Marathon

The Austin Marathon will celebrate its 30th year running in the capital of Texas on February 14, 2021. Austin’s flagship running event annually attracts runners from all 50 states and 35+ countries around the world. The start and finish locations are just a few blocks apart. They are within walking distance of many downtown hotels and restaurants. The finish line is in front of the picturesque Texas State Capitol. The Austin Marathon is the perfect running weekend destination. Registration is currently open.

Meet High Five Events – The Team that Brings You the Austin Marathon

Meet High Five Events and learn about the folks behind the Austin Marathon

High Five Events is a unicorn, aka a native Austinite, born and raised in Austin. What began with the launch of a single triathlon in 2003 has now grown into one of the largest privately-owned event production companies in the United States. Meet High Five Events and you’ll see they’re endurance athletes themselves. They know what to expect from a world-class event experience. This fact, coupled with the staff’s 100+ combined years of event experience, is how they produce some of the country’s best events, like the Ascension Seton Austin Marathon, 3M Half Marathon, and Kerrville Triathlon Festival. If you don’t know the crew, take some time to meet High Five Events!

Time to meet High Five Events!

Stacy Keese – founder, co-owner, Director of Marketing and Communications

Image of Stacy Keese at a triathlon. Read this blog to meet High Five Events.Stacy directed her first 5K/10K while still in high school. She graduated from Tulane University where she helped produce races for a local nonprofit. After moving back to Texas in early 2000, she quickly continued on this path with Jack Murray. They created Jack’s Generic Triathlon in 2003 and Rookie Triathlon in 2004. Many new events followed in the following years. Her eye for design and marketing knowledge keep High Five Events growing and looking towards the future of event productions. Aside from her love of all types of events, Stacy also enjoys learning about natural health and working on genealogy.

Jack Murray – founder, co-owner, Director of Sponsorships

Image of Jack Murray showing the peace sign at the 2017 3M Half Marathon. Read this blog to meet High Five Events.Jack is one of the founding partners of Jack & Adam’s Bicycles, High Five Events, and EventDog.com. From 2003 to 2016, Jack & Adam’s Bicycles was known from coast to coast as one of the main fitness hubs in Austin before selling to Bicycle World in 2016. Jack has been head mechanic for Team USA Triathlon since 2003, traveling around the world as support staff for Team USA. He also serves as Chair of the Board for the Austin Sports Commission. Jack is originally from Sinton. He ran the mile in high school and was a state champion in 1994. After high school, he ran track and cross country at Texas A&M Kingsville. Jack is also a partner in a few fine Austin establishments like Gibson Bar, The Wheel Bar, Burro Cheese Kitchen, TenTen, Devil May Care, and Mayfair. When Jack is not working on one of his many businesses, you can find him out and about with his wife and business partner, Stacy Keese. They’re always enjoying everything Austin has to offer, from running on Town Lake Trail to listening to live music at ACL.

Dan Carroll – founder, co-owner, Director of Operations

Image of Dan Carroll posing at an event in his High Five Events gear. Read this blog to meet High Five Events.Dan leads the operations team in which he is the master of checklists, course maps, site plans, equipment lists, truck schedules, and signage manifests. He has more than 15 years of full-time experience in endurance event production and has been the certified race director for several hundred triathlons, running races, and bike rides. Dan is USA Triathlon Level 2 Certified Race Director, the highest certification level that USA Triathlon offers. He was one of the first race directors in the country to achieve that certification. Prior to founding High Five Events, Dan worked at Trilogy Software. He has civil engineering degrees from Cornell University and Georgia Tech. Dan loves being outdoors. He spends his free time running, cycling, hiking, and building things with his wife and two daughters. Dan’s personal motto is “Attack the day.” That often drives his family crazy, but it sure comes in handy when setting up a racecourse starting at 1:30 in the morning.

Tina Teich – Marketing Manager

Image of Tina Teich and her husband, Alex, at 2017 Kerrville Triathlon. Image of John Chung at Rookie Triathlon. Read this blog to meet High Five Events.Tina started with the company in 2011 while working at Jack & Adam’s Bicycles. Prior to that, she spent three years managing a local wine bar while obtaining her bachelor’s degree at The University of Texas. Tina loves her job because it inspires others to invest in a healthy and active lifestyle. She enjoys the variety of different events owned and produced by High Five Events and finds adapting marketing strategies to each event’s personality to be a fun challenge. When not working with the best team in the business, Tina enjoys listening to audiobooks, training for triathlons, and playing outdoors with her daughter and husband.

John Chung – Event Manager and Course Lead

Image of John Chung at Rookie Triathlon. John was born in Canton, China, but got to Texas as soon as he could. He’s been in Austin since 1997. John began his career with High Five Events in 2012 as a part-time employee. He became full-time in 2015 and hasn’t looked back. John has a BS in aerospace engineering, but he never “uses” his degree. He entered the triathlon world in 2007 as a way to get back in shape. Getting in shape via triathlon is what eventually led to his position at High Five Events. John spends his spare time wrenching on his own car. Yes, he still swims, bikes, and runs whenever he gets the chance.

William Dyson – Communications Manager

Image of William Dyson posing with Megan Haynes, his wife. Read this blog to meet High Five Events.William is an Austinite Unicorn too. He broke into the running scene in 2007 as an intern for the Austin Marathon. He began working with High Five Events in 2016. William has his master’s degree in sport management and bachelor’s degree in mass communication. He has more than a decade’s worth of experience with communication, event, and program management, and media, community, and public relations. William’s role allows him to capitalize on his previous experience, utilize both degrees, and tap into his outgoing personality. He is a medium runner (shoutout to RAW Running), vinyl connoisseur, Cheesehead, and amateur backyard pitmaster. William and Megan, his stunning wife of nearly three years, and Napoli, their 8-year-old blue heeler, live in south Austin. 

Emily Stevens – Athlete Services Manager

Image of Emily Stevens and one of her dogs sitting on a picnic table.Before Emily started with High Five Events, she admired it from afar for many years from multiple perspectives. She worked on the sponsor side as an event manager for Clif Bar; participated as an athlete, 2014 Rookie Tri was her first triathlon; and joined the part-time operations crew working the run and bike courses and managing the aid stations for three seasons. Emily became the full-time Athlete Services Manager in the spring of 2017. She thoroughly enjoys interacting with athletes and helping them get ready for race day! And she’s honored to work side-by-side with such a dynamic team of brilliant, hands-on, work-your-butt-off team members. When Emily isn’t working, she watches her husband fence (with swords), endures his relentless telling of puns, or watches him and their 12-year-old build computers. They also LOVE taking their dogs on hikes around the Austin.

Scott Moore – Site and Supply Manager

Image of Scott Moore and his famous moustache. Scott and his sweet handlebar moustache have been with High Five Events since September 2017. He was born in Mesquite, Texas, and was all-state track and cross country and Poteet High School. He also graduated from Texas Tech University where he ran on the track and cross country teams for two years. In his free time, Scott plays hockey, rides his motorcycles, listens to podcasts, and hikes with his Chocolate Lab Milo. His favorite professional sports teams are the Dallas Stars and San Fransisco 49ers.

Laura Gomez – Volunteer Manager

Image of Laura Gomez, High Five Events Volunteer Manager. Laura has been the Volunteer Manager at High Five Events since 2018. She was born in Bogota, Colombia, and moved to Austin after graduating from high school. Throughout middle school and high school, Laura was fortunate to learn four languages and experience different cultures. She’s currently finishing her master’s degree in recreation management. If she’s not studying or working she’s likely working out, reading, eating ice cream (Amy’s Ice Cream sweet cream with rainbow sprinkles is her jam), or taking a nap.