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A Brief History of Blues on The Green

Step into an Austin tradition on the luscious grass of Zilker Park. For over 30 years, Austin City Limits (ACL) Radio has hosted the widely-attended Blues on the Green concert series. You can bring your blankets and outside food – there are no bars or gates at Blues on the Green. The annual free festival draws thousands to Zilker Park to enjoy live music and soak up the beautiful Texas sun. 

History of Blues on the Green

Before becoming a beloved summer tradition, Blues on the Green brought Austinites together during its humble beginnings at the Arboretum shopping center. As crowds grew year after year, the festival found a permanent home at Zilker Park in 1999. Even so, the beloved festival was nearly forced to cancel its 2024 season due to rising event costs – until the City of Austin and HEB stepped in.

On January 17th, 2024, ACL Radio posted that the rising costs had become too much of a hurdle for the festival and announced the cancellation of the 2024 season. Many saddened Austinites began calling on the city council and suggested finding sponsors that would help keep the festival alive. A month later, the station announced that the festival was back on thanks to the City’s approval of Resolution 23 and increased financial support of HEB.

"A special thanks to City Council Member Natasha Harper-Madison, the co-sponsors for their work to make Resolution 23 a reality, and to the community who showed up to support the effort," the announcement message read. 

The free concert has attracted more talent and attendees than ever before. Reflecting the city’s diversity, the festival has grown from blues to include jazz, r&b, singer-songwriter and funk. The most recent crowd numbered at over 50,000, the largest gathering for the annual event so far. Past performers include Bob Schneider, Shakey Graves, Gary Clark Jr., Phillip Phillips, Wild Child and many more. 

Blues on the Green represents Austin at its finest. It’s a place for people of all demographics to gather and enjoy an evening of live music, all without having to pay for a ticket. Come out and see for yourself!

Tips for Attending

Blues on the Green is the best way to get a truly Austin-authentic experience. Don’t waste time trying to find parking– it’s best to walk, bike, or use public transportation to get to the park. Get there early to beat the crowds and stake out a good spot for your blanket setup (and don’t forget the sunscreen). There’s many onsite food and drink vendors, but you can also bring your own food. Be sure to dispose of trash properly and keep our park clean! Check out ACL Radio’s FAQ list for more information.

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