No Blues on This Green

Max Domel, Entertainment Editor

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Austinites do not have to travel far to find activities to do during the summer months. There are plenty of events to participate in in Austin over the break. One of the highlights is Blues on the Green (BOTG), a music festival that runs on select days throughout summer and invites locals to enjoy a unique outdoor and cultural experience.

This year marks the 29th year of BOTG, which is hosted by Austin City Limits (ACL) Radio in Zilker Park and is held once a month during the summer. Before housing eight to 10 thousand guests downtown, the festival was located in the Arboretum in Northwest Austin and was smaller and lesser-known. The monthly concerts are pet-friendly and encourage people to have picnics in the park before the music plays from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. However, unlike other Austin festivals such as ACL and South by Southwest, all artists who perform at BOTG are homegrown talents.
Emily Parker, the program director at ACL Radio, said that she and the rest of the team try to book artists of many styles and genres within the “local” category. Parker tries to find artists with a variety of sounds to entertain the listeners at the park.

“We look specifically for Austin artists, and we look for an artist that we feel is not just making an impact in Austin, but has a variety of different sounds,” Parker said. “Each band at the four shows brings something different to the table.”

While BOTG artists were mainly blues musicians back in the Arboretum days, the festival now includes funk, soul, latin, pop, rock and country. BOTG is distinguished by its no ticket policy, as other favorite musical events in Zilker Park such as Austin City Limits charge entrance fees. Parker said that besides giving smaller Austin musicians a chance to shine on the big stage, BOTG is also about giving the city an opportunity to do something fun for free.

“I think what’s important is that it’s free to attend,” Parker said. “People of any sort of background or wherever they’re living in Austin can come enjoy some Austin music.”

Senior Sofia Odom, who went to BOTG’s June concert and attends every year, said that she enjoys the outdoor time with friends. She also appreciates having the good music in the background.
“BOTG is an annual tradition for my friends and I, and like past years, it was a good opportunity to get out and enjoy the weather while listening to good music,” Odom said. “My friends and I got these massive snow cones, and while this year we just hung out in the park, we’ve brought board games and cards to keep us entertained.”

Junior Liliane Lavier’s favorite aspects of the festival are the opportunities to engage with different people and the spirit of BOTG that makes the event entertaining and relaxing. Lavier also appreciates the opportunity to spend time with friends outdoors.

“My favorite thing about BOTG is probably the energy of the whole event and also that you never know who you’re going to run into or meet there because there are people from all over Austin,” Lavier said. “It just makes a really fun environment to hang out in and it’s very chill.”

According to Parker, one of the main goals of BOTG is to form a diverse community of music fans passionate about both Austin culture. Parker said that those in attendance go for more than just the musical experience.

“I think BOTG is more about the vibe,” Parker said. “It’s less about specific artists and more about just a bunch of great people coming together to celebrate what Austin is about.”