Blues in the red
Austin's Blues On The Green calls off 2024 season with earnest message about costs
Times in Austin certainly are a-changing. There are have been too many losses of old businesses to list, but it feels like our musical events become un-fun before they shut down altogether. Such is not the case for Blues On The Green.
Austin City Limits, which operated the event, was gearing up for its 2024 season when it abruptly canceled the whole thing via a widely-shared statement on its website.
"For over 30 years — from humble beginnings at the Arboretum, to years of massive shows at Zilker Park — producing Blues On The Green has been an outright privilege," the announcement says. "But without admission fees or bar sales, it's become more challenging every year to produce an event that's grown to this size and still keep it free and open to the public."
Onlookers on social media were eager to suggest charging an admission fee — one of the only times Austinites have been caught begging to be charged more for anything.
All is not completely lost for the long-term survival of the festival. Although this is a pretty firm "no" on the upcoming season, the announcement is careful to assure readers that it will return after some adjustments.
"We love BOTG, Austin loves BOTG, and it's our hope that we can work with the city, community, and sponsors to return sometime soon," it says. "... And most importantly, know that we believe this is hold-on, not goodbye."
The outdoor series at Zilker Park was one of the city's most steady beacons of unpretentiousness, collecting new and old Austinites alike for simple, laid back concerts.
Unlike Austin City Limits Music Festival, these shows were easy to drop in on and catered toward the hyperlocal. Unlike Hot Summer Nights or Free Week, there were no decisions to make — you either showed up to Zilker Park to see the show, or you didn't. There was no endless standing; just picnic blankets and good vibes.
CultureMap is following this story for updates.