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ACL Fest Canceled This Year, As Organizers Plan 2021 Return To Celebrate 20th Anniversary

A packed crowd listens to Abhi The Nomad at 2019's ACL Fest.
Gabriel C. Pérez
A packed crowd listens to Abhi The Nomad at 2019's ACL Fest.

Austin City Limits Music Festival has been officially canceled this year, with the festival saying it's "the only responsible solution" given the current COVID-19 situation in Texas.

The organizers of the two-weekend event hope to return to Zilker Park to celebrate the festival's 20th anniversary Oct. 1-3 and Oct. 8-10, 2021. 

"The health and safety of our fans, artists, partners, staff and the entire Austin community remains our highest priority," ACL Fest Wednesday.

Fans who have already bought tickets will be able to use them for next year's festival, ACL said, without a change in price. Refunds will go out to those who bought tickets directly through the festival and cannot attend next year's dates.

The announcement came a day after Texas hit another daily record high of 6,975 new COVID-19 cases — nearly 1,000 more than the previous record set on June 25. Last Friday, Gov. Greg Abbott ordered bars to close and restaurants to limit their capacity as both cases and hospitalizations continue to surge across Texas.

ACL Fest, which normally draws about 75,000 people each day and brings in hundreds of millions of dollars for Austin's economy, is the latest in a string of major event cancellations in Austin, including — more recently — the city's Fourth of July concert and fireworks celebration.

The festival, which donates a portion of the proceeds to the Austin Parks Foundation, urged people to in the area. In a Facebook post responding to the cancellation, the foundation said, "Over the last 15 years, ACL Fest fans have contributed $41.6 million that has helped us improve parks, trails and green spaces across our city."

Austin Mayor Steve Adler said few events "are rooted in and embody the soul of this city" like ACL Fest. He said he applauds the festival organizers for their "hard decision for the greater good," and asked Austinites to help out local musicians.

KUT sister station KUTX has created this guide on how to support Austin music when you can't leave the house.

This story has been updated.

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Andy Jechow is the social media coordinator for KUT News. After graduating from American University in Washington, D.C., with a bachelor's degree in international studies, he returned home to Texas — in need of greasy Tex-Mex — and became a TV news producer. Before joining KUT in November 2018, he worked as a digital content producer at Austin NBC affiliate KXAN News. When he's not at work, Andy enjoys attending book signings and watching classic movies.