Austin City Limits: Down the Drain

Two pictures, swiped from social networks, adequately sum up why I don't like ACL.


Friday Morning (via @JenniJones_TX)

Sunday Evening - via Facebook - Hunting the Snark
The caption to this photo was "And it smells like manure."

Radio personality JB Hager, from JB and Sandy in the Morning, twittered late Saturday night: "The irony is, it wouldn't be so muddy at ACL if they hadn't brought in all that new soil. Crazy mud here."

Statesman reporter and Out and About writer Michael Barnes twittered Sunday afternoon: "A fetid, barnyard pall hangs over Zilker Park."

Mayor Pro-Tem Mike Martinez also twittered Sunday afternoon: "The park is trashed. But we will rebuild it and make it even better. No choice."

Go on, try to tell me this isn't wasteful.
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20 Response to "Austin City Limits: Down the Drain"

  • Blake Mitchell Says:

    Actually, I don't like ACL because I hate paying so much effing money just to be treated like cattle, and then be subjected to music that often sounds like it's being played on horribly substandard equipment. The last time I went was 2005, and I said "never again." Then the Stones came, and interestingly enough, that was great. Great sound, great show. Still haven't been back. And don't ever plan to, unless someone gives me free all-access backstage passes.


  • Mean Rachel Says:

    yeah that whole "expense" thing seemed rather excessive. and I heard sob stories about going to pick up wristbands too. I still don't understand how that works.
    anyway, I'm with you. when Billy Joel plays and I can get a backstage pass, I'm there. no complaints.


  • Aaron Says:

    Wasteful?! NOOO! C3 makes a ton of money and the city helps bankroll it and let them use our public space for a month or more out of the year. How could that be bad! ;-)


  • starumbra Says:

    Waste of money? If Billy Joel played there, would you go?
    This space is vital to Austin- soccer, Christmas Trail of Lights (if that can happen this year), plays and local concerts. (Now THAT's Austin!)
    No matter where these places are held, there's always a mess. I used to do cleanup after festivals down off of the Congress bridge- people used to trash them even worse- beer cans, left over chicken bones and the wrappers- and when it rained, the grass always had to be resodded.
    We need parks; we need open spaces.


  • lazysmurf Says:

    great pictures! It seems like the bulk of the money was spent on an irrigation system that should last a long time so I think overall it wasn't a disaster.


  • Mean Rachel Says:

    @starumba - the Billy Joel things is more of a joke, which longtime readers will understand (i.e. I'm a little obsessed). I agree that we need parks. But we also need to be respectful of the environment in which we live. Destroying sod at the price of $2.5M is just wasteful and ridiculous -- and all in the name of helping our local economy?


  • Anonymous Says:

    This is horrible. It smelled like dog crap. Now the park is destroyed. Can we Austinites do anything about this?

    The park is gone. Just gone. Destroyed. Finis, Kaput. It's going to take a whole year to get it back again to that wonderful lush green... just in time for the next festival.


  • Mean Rachel Says:

    Currently they're saying it'll be closed until the end of the month. Promises, promises...


  • starumbra Says:

    I agree it was a mess. It is not just ugly but butt ugly. A few weeks ago when the city began to sod, who woulda thunk it would rain and rain and rain?
    At least 3C has offered to pay for part of resodding.
    Supposing 1. no sod had been lain and 2. had not rained then there would have been people really ill from the dusty air. Willie Nelson's festivals (when he did them in Texas) were often worse, with no grass, no running water and they'd run out of ice and beer to sell.
    I don't do ACL, but for what it is, the city's coffers are fuller (tax rvenue) and our local restaurants got business, and lots of people (from here and abroad) seemed to have enjoyed themselves. I saw interviews with people who were there yesterday saying they'd come and play in the mud again. Each to his/her own.
    The wristband problem was a different issue- truly mean scuzzbags making up fake ticket sites and the unsuspecting got took- spent lots of money, but got fake paperwork to pick up nonexistent wristbands. I know a couple of people who worked the tickets and it wasn't easy for them either. So goes the festival circuit. If you're going to go to an event, remember that if you're getting a deal that seems too good to be true, it probably is.


  • el_longhorn Says:

    Maybe we should stay off the grass so it keeps looking pretty :)

    Zilker Park is an urban park, it is meant to be used by lots and lots of people all the time. If it rains before any big event, it is going to get muddy and nasty - the Kite Festival, rugby tournament, soccer, concert, etc. No big deal.

    What's that Hemingway quote - "I would rather have a pen that is broken and tattered because of so much use than one that is beautiful and shiny but was never used" He says it so much better.


  • Mean Rachel Says:

    The main part of the park has been closed for the better part of 2009 because of C3's now futile field renovations. KGSR's concert series Blues on the Green, which was a great, FREE event, had to be moved because of this.
    I am all for use of an urban park but closing down a park for almost a year so you can make a veneer of pretty grass for the out of towners is insulting to me as a citizen who pays taxes on maintenance, park police, utilities, etc. on that same park.
    While that amount of rain might have been tough on the park's natural layer of dirt, the fact that they shuttled in "Dillo Dirt" for the park is what managed to truly ruin it.
    Now the park will be closed for another "month" (we'll see how long that month actually is), during one of the prettiest times of year in Austin when we otherwise might be out enjoying it and -- gasp -- using it for non-ACL purposes.


  • el_longhorn Says:

    The closure was to install the irrigation system, which will save thousands of gallons of water and help the park in the long run. I don't think the irrigation system was damaged. And dead grass is no big deal - it grows back.


  • starumbra Says:

    resodding and leveling the field is phase 3 of the project to improve zilker;
    http://www.ci.austin.tx.us/news/2008/pard_zilker_const_09.htm
    the purpose of the zilker project was not just to resod (which has been needed for years) also to level the field; i can tell you that work needed to be done because I have almost fallen walking across that field several times in recent years.
    the project took longer than expected- the city contracts out with various businesses, and it is not unusual for the lowest bidder to realize, after beginning a city project, that they cannot complete the work for the price quoted to the city, so the city has to put the work up for bid again, which means that projects always take longer than projected.
    i suppose i am just saddened that people who don't like acl (again, i am not particularly a fan) use the fact that a natural occurrence (it rained) mixing with the dirt (mud, the normal outcome of rain and dirt) to yawl at the city over a project that has been underway for the past four years. it will, once it is completed, improve the availability of the parks for future activities. if the weather had cooperated, the grass would have grown just fine; but Ma Nature has a warped sense of humor.


  • Mean Rachel Says:

    The irrigation system and park improvement project were paid for by the concert organizers C3 so they wouldn't end up with another dust bowl situation like they did one year -- which means that people would want to come back.
    An event that caters to 75K people for one weekend monopolized for nearly a year a park which 700K+ people pay taxes on. The rain and mud are just symbolic of the greater problem.


  • Anonymous Says:

    I till think this is a grand joke by Ma Nature, and we can either laugh at it or get miffed.
    If C3 is paying for all these improvements to the park we should be thankful that they are donating their funds as a gift to the city- we all will benefit from the park improvements that have been done over the last few years.
    And they're fixing the muddy mess without being sued by the city- they could have found a loophole and left the tax payers stuck with the bill.
    I still won't attend their events. But I will enjoy other events at the field.


  • Anonymous Says:

    I till think this is a grand joke by Ma Nature, and we can either laugh at it or get miffed.
    If C3 is paying for all these improvements to the park we should be thankful that they are donating their funds as a gift to the city- we all will benefit from the park improvements that have been done over the last few years.
    And they're fixing the muddy mess without being sued by the city- they could have found a loophole and left the tax payers stuck with the bill.
    I still won't attend their events. But I will enjoy other events at the field.


  • Mean Rachel Says:

    @ anon - what events will you enjoy there? and when? I'd love to know. Blues on the Green which was a wonderful *free* event got moved because of the repairs they (C3) were already doing in preparation for ACL (which is -ahem- *not free*). The park was closed almost all year because of this. They opened for three lovely weeks where we were able to enjoy the beautiful new grass (which really is an unnatural thing in the middle of a drought-ridden city) and now it's closed again because of the mud pit.
    So when out of FY 2009 do you plan on enjoying the park that you and I have been paying taxes on?


  • Anonymous Says:

    The park was closed for long term renovations that last longer than just for ACL. It was NOT closed Only for ACL renovations.
    ANy major renovation is the same:
    I was not able to drive on the streets downtown while they were being repaved
    I could not use the main library while it was being renovated
    The area under First Street Bridge will be closed soon so that the city can rework the trail and (hopefully) get the dog park areas fixed.
    Barton Springs will closed for renovations and not open to the public
    Deep Eddy Pool is cracked and needs renovations- no one can use it till that project is competed.
    Same with the park; I expect to be able to see the Trail of Lights, see the kids play soccer, and all the other things listed. My guess is that KGSR will be back next year.
    During 2009, no- but that's what happens during renovations- ask anyone who's had a home renovated. You cannot use a space during much of the improvement stages.


  • JD Gins Says:

    Dude... I love ACL! I had a great time dancing in the rain and partying in the mud.

    Its been interesting to watch as people proclaim the park is destroyed... or gone?!?!?! Come on now, its still there and will be fine soon.

    If you dont like ACL weekend in Austin, craigslist your pad, pocket 1000 dollars and go to vegas for an up close view of Billy Joel eh?

    I am glad my taxes go to maintaining a park as cool as zilker that is big enough to hold a bad ass event like ACL. I love that my town host a festival that I can get down with 80,000 of my closest friends.

    I had a vision last night... the grass grows back and the world keeps on turning.


  • Anonymous Says:

    MR, FYI, Austin's FY 2009 ended days before ACL so no one can expect to enjoy the park on those terms - how bout FY 2010.