It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like ACL!

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Fall in Austin is synonymous with back to school, the promise of cooler weather (finally!), UT Longhorns football and plenty of great events to enjoy around the city, including the Austin City Limits Music Festival. Now in its 12th year, this annual festival draws more than 150 acts from all over the world and some 75,000 music fans who enjoy its diverse lineup, amazing location and fun, laid-back atmosphere. In fact, ACL has become so popular that for the first time, the festival has expanded to two weekends and this year will take place from October 4-6 and 11-13.

Blairfield Realty’s office is in Zilker, one of the neighborhoods adjacent to Zilker Park, the home of ACL, so we see firsthand both the benefits and drawbacks of being so close to the festival grounds. The opinion among neighborhood residents about the event is certainly mixed, and issues ranging from traffic and parking hassles, road closures, noise and litter are not unwarranted. On the other hand, not everyone is lucky enough to have such easy access to one of the premier festivals in the country!

No matter what side of the fence you’re on, there is no denying the fact that ACL is a boon to the Austin economy. According to figures from event producer C3 Presents, the festival contributed about $100 million to the city in 2012; this year C3 expects the figure to be around $175 million over the two weekends. And it’s not just merchants who benefit from the influx of money into the economy; Austin residents also benefit from the many ways in which C3 gives back to the community.

As Austinites who are lucky enough to have Zilker Park, Barton Springs and the Barton Creek Greenbelt in our back yard, we particularly reap the rewards of C3’s many volunteer efforts, grants and partnerships with the Parks and Recreation Department (PARD) and the Austin Parks Foundation. They have included the installation of sprinklers and a recycled water irrigation system that helps keep Zilker Park green and beautiful while conserving water, a precious Austin resource; major improvements to the Lady Bird Lake Hike and Bike Trail, Zilker Botanical Gardens and Zilker Nature Preserve; cleanings, habitat restoration and physical improvements to Barton Springs; ADA compliant pathways and seating in Zilker Park; invasives management and ecological restoration in an adopted area of the greenbelt; bike stations and eco-friendly transportation between Austin parks; and much more.

The next project on the horizon is a long-term redevelopment of Town Lake Metropolitan Park called the “Auditorium Shores Improvements Project.” According to Michael King’s July 12 article in the Austin Chronicle, PARD will lead the project in coordination with the Austin Parks Foundation and C3 Presents. A report on the project states that it “is intended to…(develop) Town Lake Metropolitan Park into a best-in-class facility that serves as a parks centerpiece for the city as a whole.”

Whether you are in the park this weekend enjoying the music and sunshine with 75,000 of your new closest friends, or getting a free backyard concert (like it or not), everyone here at Blairfield Realty wishes you a safe and fun ACL!