Austin, the “Live Music Capital of the World”, is a slogan based on the very essence of this city that is supported by residents and local government alike. There are virtually hundreds of venues where locals and visitors can enjoy every type of live music imaginable.
In 1991, blues musician Lillian Standfield approached the City’s Music Commission to propose Austin be labeled the “Music Capital of the USA”. After extensive research, city officials discovered that Austin had more live music venues per capita than any of the major cities including Nashville, New York City or Las Vegas. It was suggested the city slogan be upgraded to the “Live Music Capital of the Universe”, but the council compromised, and on August 29, 1991, the “Live Music Capital of the World” became Austin’s official slogan.
Since that day, Austin has more than ‘walked its talk’. Not only do they organize a number of regular musical events, they have integrated music into the day to day running of the local government. City officials have also developed various programs to assist up-and-coming musicians with the promotion of their music. Here are just a few of the events and programs supported by this city.
- Live from the Plaza provides a series of free concerts on the plaza at City Hall.
- Parks and Recreation provides an extensive calendar of events that have musical performances. They sponsor annual events such as the Trail of Lights (a holiday music venue) and a number of summer concerts.
- South by Southwest is a major annual film and music festival.
- The Austin City Limits Music Festival is a three-day music and art festival held in the fall.
- In the summer, local businesses support a series of free blues shows in Zilker Park
- Austin Music Memorial at the Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long Center for the Performing Arts honors deceased individuals who have contributed to the music community in some way.
- Stevie Ray Vaughan has a striking life size memorial at Lady Bird Lake.
- Music on Hold is a program where local music is played in the City’s telephone hold music system.
- Austin Music Channel is a local station devoted to showcasing local talent.
- Austin-Bergstrom International Airport has live music throughout three different venues in the terminal.
- City council meetings include live music in their weekly sessions.
- Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau actively promote “Live Music Capital of the World” as a travel destination and also provide assistance in booking local musicians.
- Texas Music Office – Texas Talent Registry provides a listing of over 1700 bands and their contact information.
Local Government Support:
- Creative Industries Loan Guarantee Program provides loans to individuals or companies involved in music, film, art and technology.
- The Austin Music Economic Impact Study describes how music affects the economy and discusses various ideas to promote the music community.
- Austin Energy is a rebate program that provides energy savings incentives to over 220 of Austin’s live music venues.