Photo courtesy of Raegan Haggard.

A popular spring concert series has returned to the Hill Country this month. The Hill Country Galleria’s “Saturday Night Concert Series” is a seven-week music spectacle hosted by Austin City Limits Radio.

Visitors can sit on the Central Plaza Lawn from 7 to 9 pm on Saturday nights to listen to local musicians like Bob Schneider, Patrice Pike, Two Tons of Steel, and more. With plenty of dining options surrounding the plaza such as Buenos Aires Cafe or The League Kitchen & Tavern, it makes for a wonderful date-night spot or family night out.

The first concert to kick off the series on March 25 featured Rosie Flores, known for her country-rock vocals and her talent for singing across multiple genres. She has released 13 albums since her debut in 1987 – her latest album Simple Case of the Blues was released in 2019.

This week's featured act is Austin's favorite musician Bob Schneider. He is the winner of 55 Austin Music Awards, and has released over two dozen albums in his career as a solo artist and as the former lead singer of rock band Ugly Americans. His most recent album came out in 2021: In A Roomful of Blood With A Sleeping Tiger.

The concert series lineup is as follows:

More information about the concert series can be found at hillcountrygalleria.com.

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Austin Transit Partnership gives approval for the light rail plan to embark on the first stage of its journey

Do the Locomotion

To link people to jobs, invest in underserved areas and connect to affordable housing options, it is clear to the Austin Transit Partnership (ATP): there must be light rail from 38th Street to Oltorf Street to Yellow Jacket Lane.

"This option actually serves the greatest share of Black, indigenous and people of color, as well as the most affordable housing units," said Lindsay Wood, the executive vice president of engineering and construction for the ATP.

This will be the first phase of the Austin Light Rail implementation plan. It is almost 10 miles of new light rail across 15 stations. ATP leaders estimate it will serve 28,500 daily riders by 2040, and the anticipated capital cost of the project ranges between $4.5 to $4.8 billion.

So, how will this be financed?

Voters approved to build and fund the operations of the light rail three years ago as part of Project Connect. The ATP will also use federal grants.

"We don't need any additional revenue," said Greg Canally, executive director of the ATP.

The ATP estimates the light rail will serve more than 20,000 affordable housing units and bring access to more than 136,000 current jobs and more than 200,000 future jobs.

Now that the U.S. Census Bureau has ranked Austin as one of the top 10 largest cities by population, Wood believes Austinites like herself can use this light rail as a chance to "reclaim" their city.


Read the full story and watch the video at KVUE.com.

Austin's SIMS Foundation rounds up local bands for fundraising festival and "feel good" tunes

Feels Good, Inc.

Another day, another festival in Austin, and that's what fine-tunes our mental health as locals. The Sims Foundation (stylized SIMS Foundation), a local nonprofit for better mental health in the local music industry, understands this delicate balance, offering up the inaugural, aptly named Feel Good Music Festival on May 27 and 28.

Two days of music will hit the Far Out Lounge this Memorial Day Weekend, along with a market, drinks, and food trucks Los Danzantes and Press Kitchen. All of this benefits the foundation, at least in part thanks to vendor donations, and marks Mental Health Awareness Month. This is not the nonprofit's only special effort this month, but it looks poised to be one of the cornerstone events for the season as music events start picking up, but aren't in full swing yet.

This is an affordable alternative, too, to the massive festivals and the crushing crowds of some free festivals that draw in passersby. Single days are priced at $25 in advance and $30 at the door; Two-day passes only cost $40.

It wouldn't be a Sims Foundation event without the local bands. The first day shows off world electronic band Easy Compadre!; current SXSW Artist to Watch according to NPR, Caramelo Haze; popular hard rock band Megafauna; and Latin-psych and Cumbia supergroup Money Chicha.

The new festival folds in an existing occasion on Sunday: "Bob vs Bob by Graham's Give Back." Musicians Graham Wilkinson and Graham Weber have organized two previous cover series in which artists put their own spin on songs by Bob Dylan and Bob Marley, and are returning for their third, including their own covers.

Even though musicians mostly enter "Bob vs Bob" on a solo basis, they will receive support from the festival's "house band," so to speak: Jeff Botta, Joe Beckham, Willie Webster, Trevor Nealon, and Graham Wilkinson.

The following musicians will play in "Bob vs Bob":

  • Cory Reinisch (Harvest Thieves)
  • Ali Holder
  • Courtney Santana
  • Kelley Mickwee
  • Joe Faulhaber
  • Chris Baker
  • Sarah Dossey
  • Jordan Young
  • Evan Charles
  • Jenny Reynolds
  • Kalu James
  • Scott Collins
  • Patrice Pike
  • Suzanna Choffel
  • The Reverent Few
  • Scott Strickl and Tony Kamel (Wood & Wire)
  • Graham Wilkinson
  • Graham Weber

Tickets are available now at tickettailor.com. This event at the Far Out Lounge (8504 South Congress Ave.) runs from 6 pm to midnight on May 27, and noon to 4 pm on May 28.

Caramelo Haze Austin

Photo by Ismael Quintanilla III

Caramelo Haze is one of the four featured bands playing Feel Good Music Festival.

Austin Parks and Recreation board approves Zilker Park Vision Plan despite opposition

Zilker Park Vision

The Austin Parks and Recreation Department (PARD) is clearing the way for improvements to Zilker Park. In the early hours of Tuesday morning, May 23, the PARD board voted to approve the Zilker Park Vision Plan, 7-3.

But before the board made its decision, it heard from dozens of community members. Some supported the plan, while others were against it.

The vision plan, first introduced in November 2022, includes more parking garages, pedestrian bridges and some changes to Barton Springs Road. It is designed to protect the greenspace and accommodate Austin's growing population – but some residents present at Monday night's board meeting said the plan needed heavy edits.

Other proposed improvements to the park including putting a visitors center near Barton Springs Pool, installing playscapes and designating an area for recreational activities.

Several people also spoke Monday night about a rumor that the City of Austin is planning to privatize Zilker Park. The City clarified last week that it is not selling any part of the park to a private company, and the PARD will continue to keep control of it.

Now that the Zilker Vision Plan has been approved by the PARD board, it will go to the full Austin City Council for more discussion.


Read the full story and watch the video at KVUE.com.