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(ACL Radio via city of Austin)

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From bikers to bats to blues music, nearly 100 festivals in Austin have either been canceled, rescheduled or are up in the air as pandemic-era social distancing forbids Austinites to do what they do best: party together.

They include myriad events anticipated for later this year, such as:


  • Blues on the Green summer concerts
  • 25th Annual Republic of Texas Biker Rally
  • July 4th events
  • Pecan Street festivals
  • Batfest
  • Austin City Limits

March, April and May alone saw the cancelation or postponement of some 30 iconic large events, including:

  • The Urban Music Festival
  • Moontower Comedy & Oddity Festival
  • Austin Reggae Fest
  • Food + Wine Festival
  • Weird Homes Tour,
  • East Austin Studio Tour
  • Eeyore's Annual Birthday Party

Several are rescheduled for the fall, but even those months are uncertain for large gatherings right now.

"It's just a sad time," said Julie Chase, chief marketing officer for Visit Austin, the city's tourism convention and visitors department. "We are a festival city."

The cancelation the SXSW festival (and its roughly 180 ancillary events) was a bellwether for an event industry decimated by the pandemic restrictions.

Local crews, performers and hospitality workers were hit early and hard and will likely feel the effects the longest, said Sara Henry of the Austin Center for Events, which oversees event permits.

"We're all very conscious of that and wanting to get people back to normal as quickly as possible," Henry said. "But with the understanding that those large events will probably be the last to recover."

Large crowds will be scarce in Austin for a while, agreed Jorge Garcia, founder of Curra's Grill and a member of the board for the Austin Chronicle Hot Sauce Festival, which has not yet confirmed its August dates.

"I don't foresee any of that happening any time soon," Garcia said.

Some organizers are staying optimistic. The ROT Biker Rally is still on for mid-June. Organizers of the city's 30th Annual Gay PRIDE Festival in August said in an April tweet they are "still committed to putting on a safe and joyous" celebration, which drew some 400,000 people last year.

The permit office works daily with organizers, even those whose events are still scheduled, on whether the events can go on, Henry said. The office also consults with health officials, events experts and community leaders about what the "the new normal" might look like for mass gatherings this year and next, she said.

But with ever-shifting information on the virus and the response to it, major decisions are on hold.

"Everybody is waiting to see how things evolve through the public health crisis," Henry said.

As a habitual and enthusiastic festival attendee, Austin resident Anna Kong recognizes the impact on local workers but did find a silver lining: It's easier to stay home when there's nothing to miss out on.

"I usually go to fests to hang out with my friends," Kong said. "We've had camp meetings over Zoom, so it placates it for the time being."

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It's matchday! Austin FC—Austin's first major league sport team—kicks off its debut season in Los Angeles today after years in the making. We know how much this means to our beloved city and are taking you along with us as we journey to LA!

Austin FC writer Claire Partain and I are excited to bring you game-day coverage straight from the City of Angels. Check back here for updates, and visit our socials: @austonianews for the latest.

5 p.m: Kickoff!

It's finally here! Claire will be updating Austonia's Twitter account live. And we'll post her game recap after the game. Best of luck Verdes!

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Although the Banc of California Stadium is hosting the match at limited capacity, we see some green in the stands ahead of kickoff. Just moments away from the Austin FC's debut!

~3:20 p.m: Austin FC's team bus enters the stadium grounds

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~1 p.m: Los Verdes in LA

(Rigo Rodriguez/Los Verdes)

Austin FC supporters are making their presence known in LA, including the Los Verdes group.

Los Verdes members started having match-day fun around the area this morning with brunch. We'll be joining them about an hour before the game outside the stadium to share some of their excitement. We'll post immediately to Austonia's Instagram.

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View from hotel room where we're staying; the stadium digital sign can be seen in the right corner. (Sonia Garcia/Austonia)

Switching over to pacific time, we're here and it's almost like no time went by. It's 9:45 a.m. here.

We've been in contact with Los Verdes, an Austin FC supporter group, who is also here in LA counting down to kickoff.

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Like many of you, we've been looking forward to this moment for, let's just say, a very long time. Today, we woke up bright and early, headed to Austin-Bergstrom International Airport and hopped on a flight to LA.

A gloomy day in Austin with a very quiet airport, we're headed to sunny skies in California.

As we wait for the game to start at 4:30 p.m., check out Claire's preview of the game with a predicted lineup and timeline of the long journey to get here.


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Years before the city of Austin went Verde, thousands of the city's soccer fans formed a supporters' group—MLS in Austin—for a team that didn't even exist yet.

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