Tune In

TAKE IT OUTSIDE There’s almost no substitute for an Austin City Limits taping. For starters, it’s free. Throw in the gratis drinks, the intimate setting, and the impressive acts, and it can’t be beat as a night on the town, even if the show is recorded on a studio set (sorry if you thought performers were lit in front of the real Austin skyline all this time). But last year’s inaugural Austin City Limits Festival at Zilker Park in Austin proved that the bands that appear on the television program can draw paying crowds of 75,000 or more to an outdoor setting. The lineup may not be as extensive as South by Southwest’s week-long music festival in March, but the concentration of great acts packed into three days is remarkable: This year, from September 19-21, you can see Robert Randolph, Lucinda Williams, Steve Earle and the Dukes, Los Lobos, Billy Joe Shaver, Bright Eyes, Yo La Tengo, Asleep at the Wheel, Spoon, Ben Kweller, the Polyphonic Spree, Richard Buckner, and roughly ninety other groups. So, yes, you may find yourself maneuvering around some hard-core String Cheese Incident fans, but isn’t it worth the trouble just to hear Mavis Staples and Al Green in one weekend? (See Austin: Other Events )

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