The student-run newspaper of the Liberal Arts and Science Academy

The Liberator

The student-run newspaper of the Liberal Arts and Science Academy

The Liberator

The student-run newspaper of the Liberal Arts and Science Academy

The Liberator

Blues on the Green

Graphic by Amelia Coleman

In the hot and humid summer months of Austin, Blues on the Green, the ACL radio concert series, is nestled among the trees of Zilker Park. The concert series — an Austin staple hosted across multiple days in the summer — took place on July 18th and 19th, and featured performances from Devon Gilfillian, Phillip Phillips, Paul Val, Wild Child, Thebrosfresh, and Zach Carney.

Zach Carney, a performer at Blues on the Green this year, is an Austin-based musician that dabbles in pop, soft rock, jazz, and R&B. He said his love for music came from his experiences as a kid growing up around instruments, writing, and experiencing the impact music has on people.

“I wrote my first song when I was 19, and the person that it was for cried,” Carney said. “And I was like, ‘Oh, you can touch people with this, and you could do something positive with it.’”

Alexa Khanbabaei, a junior at Austin High, was an audience member at Blues on the Green. She finds live music events to be uplifting.

“I could be tired, it could be a long day, but when I’m surrounded by all these people, it’s just so lively,” Khanbabaei said. “The music, the scene…you just soak it all up. It gives you energy.”

Carney agreed that the energy of the crowd was really inspiring. Carney describes the scene in Austin as a melting pot of genres — a melting pot that Austinites love.

“They were awesome,” Carney said. “Everyone is gathered there to listen to music and hear something they’ve never heard before, or come because they have heard somebody. So when people are gathered under the same ideal, it tends to be pretty magical. That’s why festivals work. They [the audience] were so kind to me, and it was a really lovely experience.”

Graphic by Asha Rountree

LASA sophomore Tara Shenoy also attended Blues on the Green this year. She appreciated immersing herself in live music with her friends and family scattered on blankets across the park. 

“It was a fun experience; it’s super nice that Austin has these different events that everyone can go enjoy,” Shenoy said. “It was definitely very busy, the crowd was covering most of Zilker. Everyone just seemed to be having a good time and relaxing.”

Blues on the Green is free to attend and is an Austin summer tradition that attracts thousands of people every year. The concert exposes smaller, and often local artists, to possible new fans. Carney said that shows like these can offer many people a shot at recognition they might not get otherwise. 

“At big concert series, everyone who comes all get to meet up and go, ‘Oh, I came here for this person, okay, I’ll be sure to listen to that person,’” Carney said. “So it’s a pretty great thing. I’m glad they do that a lot and I hope to get to be part of more.”

Not only does the audience get to enjoy accessible music in an open air environment, but Carney added that because music connects people, listening to it collectively makes the experience even better. It creates a unified feeling sharing emotions and experiences with so many others. 

“Concert series like this are super important for uniting people and having people forget about their differences and come together,” Carney said. “That’s what I love about music so much is that everybody’s united. We all experience the same feelings … and that’s very isolating alone, but it makes you feel good to be around people that feel the same way.” 

Local artists have been performing at Blues on the Green since the early 1990s, when it was a small music gathering at the Arboretum instead of the multi-day series it now is at Zilker. But the event quickly grew too big for the limited space of the Arboretum, and was moved to its current location, which can accommodate around 50,000 attendees.

“At Blues on the Green, I had the experience of meeting and talking to new people, and also getting exposed to different new artists in a music style I don’t listen to very often,” Shenoy said. 

Food and drinks from local businesses were provided on-site. The Austin community came out to support both businesses and artists to create a unique opportunity for everyone to connect through music.

“I mostly stayed backstage,” Carney said. “But at one point, I went out and was watching Thebrosfresh and I almost couldn’t believe that I was just out there. It’s so different looking at it from both sides. But yeah, we’re going out in the crowd and seeing people enjoy themselves. It was just a lot of connection and community and it was beautiful.”

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