ACL Music Festival Funds in Action

Taylor WisemanBlog Page, People + Parks, APF News, Support Our Parks, Parks

On May 13th, C3 Presents announced that the 2023 Austin City Limits Music Festival generated $8.1 million dollars for Austin’s parks. 

C3 Presents COO, Emmett Beliveau, and Austin Parks Foundation CEO, Colin Wallis, were joined by PARD Director, Kimberly McNeeley and council members from District 4, José “Chito” Vela; District 5, Ryan Alter; District 8, Paige Ellis; District 9 Zohaib Qadri; and District 10, Alison Alter for the check presentation at McBeth Recreation Center inside Zilker Park.

A 19-Year Partnership Benefitting Austin’s Parks

Austin Parks Foundation is a longtime partner with C3 Presents and the ACL Music Festival, which has contributed more than $63 million dollars towards park projects over the last 19 years. APF receives a portion of the ticket sales from each year’s event – that means that every person who attends ACL Fest is making a difference for Austin’s Parks. The contribution from the 2023 festival was the largest yet at $8.1 million—a whopping $900,000 increase from the previous year!

In 2023, APF received $7.2M from ACL Fest 2022 proceeds. Here’s how that money was spent:

  • $3.1M in city-wide park projects: Park projects require community input, extensive permitting and planning, so some of the projects identified by APF will take years to complete. These designated funds are earmarked for specific projects, and while the money may not be spent this year, it will be held for those projects until it can be used.
  • $2.5M was spent to support the infrastructure that makes these park projects happen. These funds also support APF’s mission of improving parks and green spaces through volunteerism, programming and advocacy, such as: 
    • Our robust volunteer program, including It’s My Park Day, our bi-annual community volunteer event that saved the city $600,000 in labor costs in 2023.
    • Free family-friendly park programs, like our “In the Park” series, which hosted nearly 1,500 adults and children in 2023.
    • Grant funding for 13 community-initiated projects.
    • Our Adopt-a-Park program, which currently includes 75 adopted parks.
    • Advocacy efforts: In 2023, APF successfully advocated for nearly a $3M increase to PARD’s budget for park shade, as well as land management and maintenance positions.
  • $1.5M went directly to PARD to use for park projects at its discretion.

A few notable projects from last year include:

Earl J. Pomerleau Pocket Park

This two-acre park opened to the public in July 2023. The final design plan included a shaded playground for children of all ages, maintained turf for flexible open space and maintaining the existing native meadow for a portion of the site. There are many options for exploration through the meandering loop trail layout and connection walks. The community will benefit from the addition of various options for seating, gathering, exercise and play.

McBeth Recreation Center

APF helped fund a paved walking path, additional accessible playground equipment and added a ramp into the recreation center. These improvements have helped create a safe space for the youth, teens and adults who attend year-round programs at McBeth. 

Learn more about the programs that McBeth Recreation Center offers here.

Play ATX

Throughout the last year, APF and the San Antonio Spurs have teamed up for the Play ATX campaign. This campaign is dedicated to renovating parks and basketball courts across the city of Austin.

To date, three courts – at Dove Springs District Park, Garrison Park, and Walnut Creek Metro Park – have been renovated and we’re in the process of renovating two more! These renovations include resurfacing and restriping the court, as well as the addition of new goals, benches and lights.

In addition to these projects…

Austin Parks Foundation is funding trail work along the Barton Creek Greenbelt via Siglo Group. Since September 2022, Siglo Group has compiled data through surveys to identify five project types to help maintain Barton Creek Greenbelt. These projects include:

–   Erosion control

–   Informal trail removal

–   Trail armoring

–   Trail width adjustment

–   Invasive removal

These park projects will provide updates and restoration to the trail that have never been done before. According to their report, Siglo Group has identified 202 ecological issues on trail, completed 82 projects, and has partially addressed 19 of the remaining issues. Below you can find the latest status report:

Looking ahead

Here’s a look at how the $8.1M we received from the 2023 ACL Fest will be spent:

  • $4.1M will go to park projects
  • $2.5M will be spent to support the infrastructure that makes these community park projects happen
  • $1.5M will go to PARD

In December 2023, we announced the development of Austin’s first public All Abilities Playground at Onion Creek Metropolitan Park. This year’s ACL Fest funding will help to move this project forward.

The All Abilities Playground will include:

  • An inclusive play area
  • An accessible (and inclusive) restroom facility
  • Picnic pavilions for shade
  • Drive connections and parking
  • Innovative stormwater solutions and methods of maintenance
  • Pedestrian trail connections to park and community

Click here to learn more about Onion Creek Metropolitan Park and the All Abilities Playground.

Here’s a look at a few other projects that are currently in the works:

We’ve started work at Deep Eddy Municipal Pool. As part of this project, we’ll fix the lighting and make various repairs to the pool.

You may notice a change in the beach volleyball courts at Zilker: APF is helping with the refurbishment of sand.

APF has also funded the replacement of the failing Zilker Hillside Theater stage in preparation for this summer’s production of “Legally Blonde”.

ACL Funding touches all 10 City Council Districts

Each year, Adopt-a-Park groups have the opportunity to apply for Neighborhood or Community Impact Grants as well as Park Design Services.

These grants range from $500 – $5,000+ and are used to create small, impactful improvements or have the ability to help with large-scale, community-initiated park improvements.

Last year we were able to help fund 10 community member identified park improvements with these grants.

APF is proud to dedicate ACL Music Festival funds to improving our city’s public parks on a broader, more inclusive scope through important projects. 

As well as supporting community-initiated grant projects across all 10 City Council districts, APF works closely with the Parks and Recreation Department to identify priority projects from their extensive list of underfunded improvements across Austin, many of which disproportionately affect communities on Austin’s Eastern Crescent.