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Armadillo World Headquarters Takes Center Stage at Next Member Spotlight Event

What made Austin weird? Was it the shenanigans associated with the biennial meetings of the Texas Legislature? Was it the bat colonies living under the Congress Ave. bridge? Was it the community charm of Aqua Fest? Most people agree that the counterculture that defined Austin’s weirdness grew out of an old National Guard armory building converted to a live music venue in 1970, by what might seem like an oxymoron: a collection of motivated hippies.

Entrance to the Armadillo World Headquarters, circa 1974. Photo by Gerald Swick. AR-2000-016-210b, Austin History Center, Austin Public Library.

During its 10-year run, the Armadillo World Headquarters was a place where hippies and rednecks came together to drink beer, enjoy live music, and revel in other forms of youthful experimentation; a petri dish of sorts that set Austin on a course to become the Live Music Capital of the World, a place where weirdness is celebrated.

On Sunday afternoon, Oct. 17, AHCA hosts its next Member Spotlight Event, another history mystery featuring Eddie Wilson, co-owner and point man for the Armadillo World Headquarters. Wilson will share stories and recount the highs and lows of the Armadillo during an interview with noted history reporter and author Michael Barnes.

Eddie Wilson parlayed his knowledge from running the Armadillo World Headquarters into his next venture: Threadgill’s, a southern home cooking restaurant, bar, and live music venue, which would go on to become another Austin institution. ASPL_AR-2010-022-05-38-001_01, Austin History Center, Austin Public Library.

Due to ongoing concerns about the pandemic, the event will be conducted through Zoom and is free to AHCA members and their guests. AHCA members should watch their email inbox for the Member Spotlight Event invitation. Members who RSVP will receive a second email with the Zoom meeting link they can use to access the Member Spotlight Event.

Besides hearing stories about the heyday of the Armadillo from someone who lived it, those who participate in the Member Spotlight Event will be eligible for door prizes.

Watch your email inbox for your Member Spotlight Event invitation!

Group photo of the Armadillo World Headquarters staff, December 1974. PICA-11583b, Austin History Center, Austin Public Library.

View of the Armadillo World Headquarters’ “Living Billboard,”where Bobby Hedderman, pictured here, stayed, setting a world record. PICA-11585b, Austin History Center, Austin Public Library.

Bobby Hedderman talking on a phone at Armadillo World Headquarters in 1976. PICA-11586b, Austin History Center, Austin Public Library.

Ramsey Wiggins (left) and Bobby Hedderman, standing in front of a sign for the Armadillo World Headquarters. ca. 1970s. PICA 12736b, Austin History Center, Austin Public Library.

A mural adorns a wall of the Armadillo World Headquarters, 1978. PICA-14053b, Austin History Center, Austin Public Library.


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