Courtesy Jack Edinger
Austin City Council voted unanimously at its Aug. 16 meeting to continue negotiations with C3 Presents to extend the Austin City Limits Music Festival an additional weekend.
Council members did debate the topic, amending the original resolution to only move forward with negotiations rather than encouraging City Manager Marc Ott to execute an agreement for an extended festival.
“We did hear some concerns from stakeholders that negotiations are ongoing, and it might be more appropriate today that instead of encouraging negotiations and implementation, to just encourage ongoing negotiations,” Councilwoman Kathie Tovo said during the meeting.
ACL started in 2002 and encompasses about 46 acres of land at Zilker Park, located at 2100 Barton Springs Road. In 2010, the event brought in more than 80,000 for the weekend, and this year's event is scheduled for Oct. 12–14.
Several residents expressed concern with the option of extending the music festival another weekend, asking the council to look further into effects the extension could have, including traffic, parking and pedestrians, as well as potential additional performance days at Auditorium Shores, an aspect of the resolution that was removed by Mayor Lee Leffingwell.
Jamie Grant, executive director of the Long Center for the Performing Arts, said his organization supports the resolution after an amendment was made.
“It is imperative that there be some sort of long-term study that contemplates how all these things—the Palmer Event Center, the Long Center, Auditorium Shores—can work together,” he said.
Melissa Hawthorne, who spoke to the council on behalf of the Barton Hills Neighborhood Association, said the group has been talking with C3 Presents about its plans for ACL and had some concerns.
“In the area of town, we've seen growth of multifamily structures down the corridor, which is where we want them, but all of those people are now geared toward these parks,” she said. “We're talking about more and more events … we're just concerned that the parks aren't growing in the urban core. They need to be maintained, and that passive space has a great benefit.”
Councilman Mike Martinez said the city needs to keep growing demands on its parks for events in mind.
“I'm certainly supportive of some of the concerns that are being raised of the neighbors around Auditorium Shores, but when we look at planning events for our park system, we need to look at it from a holistic standpoint, because if you don't expand the ability to have an event at one park, they're simply going to request another park, in a neighborhood,” he said, referencing Fiesta Gardens and how events have increased there. “It's going to have to be balanced. Events are going to happen, Austin is going to continue to grow, so I don't want us just to look at this from the standpoint of Auditorium Shores. We need to look at it from the entire park system standpoint.”
For more information about ACL and tickets to the event, visit www.aclfestival.com.