Mid-Week Intermission Friend Edition: Donavin Velez of Underground Roller Disco
We don’t know if you’ve noticed… but a new tradition has appeared on our H-E-B Terrace! This week, hear from our friend Donavin Velez, the DJ behind Austin’s Underground Roller Disco. The now bi-monthly meetup on wheels has taken our Terrace by storm, and we caught up with Donavin to hear how it all got started. If you want to check it out, follow @theundergroundatx for all the meetup details.
I’ve been a house music & disco DJ — and also a skateborder — since the ’90s in the NYC area. 10 years ago, I moved my auto detailing business to Austin and took a small break from music to focus on my business. It wasn’t until recently, after I finished my 2-year vow of silence, that I started to have fun with music again. After a period of healing and a return to talking, I began planning fun events with my music. And that’s how all this started.
At the time, I was just starting to get back into music and planning events, but then Covid struck and the pandemic happened. When the world shut down and all the clubs and stores were closed, the only safe place to be was outdoors, keeping our distance.
So I started small gatherings in Zilker Park with friends and other DJs. These events really helped us get through the tough times and we all worked hard to keep them safe.
It began to grow from there, and so I started looking into more outdoor venues, and someone mentioned to me that people had started roller skating on the Long Center Terrace. Since I grew up in the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s, I have collected so much fun music from those iconic eras that I felt would go great with roller skating. So, I decided to set up my DJ booth one day and promoted in a local roller skating Facebook group.
It was a great first event and we’ve been doing it twice a month ever since!
And as for my favorite Long Center memory… one night we were jamming out there from 4pm until 1am when, all of a sudden, random fireworks started going off right in front of the skyline. Everyone started screaming and it was such an unexpected rush.
Freedom, good music, and good times keep skaters coming to these events. We just celebrated our 1-year anniversary of skating on the Terrace on November 28th, and I’d love to keep working with the Long Center for even bigger events, concert-style, with food trucks and drinks, raise money for charities, have pop-up vendors, and much much more. It’s such a great location out on their H-E-B Terrace, and a great view of the city skyline.
Come check it out!
At the Long Center, we’ve always got a new partnership or something cool we know you’ll want to check out! Find and follow us @longcenter on your social media platform of choice, and we’ll see you real soon.