Monday, February 5, 2024

Group of Austin City Council Members sponsor resolution to solidify the City of Austin’s role in supporting free live music events

Taking place at the upcoming City Council meeting on February 15th, the resolution will give the green light for City staff to negotiate and strategize with the organizers of the annual event, currently popularized as ‘Blues on the Green,’ and to make it a City co-sponsored event with commitments to sustain the long-cherished tradition. The resolution emphasizes that the City’s co-sponsorship strategy should include preserving free public access, diversifying musician programming, and engaging with local vendors.
 
Additionally, the resolution features a second significant component that calls for city staff to examine how the City of Austin can support the local music and arts events as an ecosystem. Council Member Natasha Harper-Madison along with her colleagues, Council Member Ryan Alter, Council Member Zo Qadri, and Council Member Paige Ellis believe that identifying ways to equitably systemize city co-sponsorship of events that are free and open to the public is crucial now more than ever to maintain Austin's cultural identity as the ‘Live Music Capital.’
 
Lots of the traditions and events that I experienced growing up in Austin have disappeared as this City has grown and changed. There is a significant preservation aspect to this resolution for event stakeholders who are facing rising costs. We have a responsibility to assist our live music scene, especially as they have become more financially vulnerable even with increasing engagement from our residents.” Council Member Harper-Madison also emphasized that this item is not about saving one event but ensuring that the City plays an active role in sustaining and supporting free and accessible events – classic and remastered- so all Austinites can continue to enjoy the rich live music and arts culture of this City.
 
Her fellow co-sponsoring colleagues echoed words of support and excitement around this initiative.
 
“Events like Blues on the Green are what make Austin special, and this annual festival isn’t just great for live music fans – it’s an opportunity for our incredible local artists to shine on the big stage. I’m particularly excited that this partnership will ensure that all performers are paid fairly for their time and talents, which is critical for keeping our live music scene thriving,” said Council Member Ryan Alter.
 
“As an avid supporter of live music, I’m proud to partner with my colleagues to save Blues on the Green and support its ongoing success,” said Council Member Paige Ellis. “This free event hosted in District 8 has always been open and accessible to people of all ages. Our local musicians, radio stations, and producers bring their passion to the stage every day, and we are simply doing our part.”
 
“I’m honored to be a part of this resolution that recognizes the importance of our city's cultural landscape. It is essential that our City's public performances reflect the vast spectrum of voices and artistic expressions found in every corner of our community,” said Council Member Zo Qadri. “This resolution is a testament to our commitment to fostering a thriving, inclusive, and culturally dynamic city for all.”
 
The resolution is set to be voted on at the February 15th Council Meeting. The draft resolution can be viewed at www.austintexas.gov/department/city-council/2024/20240215-reg.htm#023 

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