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Will ACL Go To Two Weekends Next Year?

The release of the 2012 Austin City Limits Music Festival’s schedule grid wasn’t the only big Austin City Limits news today: Music festival producers are in talks with Austin officials to extend the popular three-day event by an extra weekend starting next year.

C3 Presents, the company that produces ACL Fest and other big events nationwide, would also donate some of the increased revenue it would gain each year, in addition to the amounts they already give, to help improve Austin parks.

“We’ve been discussing working with Auditorium Shores for almost two years,” Austin Parks and Recreation Director Sara Hensley tells KUT News. “It’s dusty, it’s truly muddy, there’s no grass there. For me, it’s just an opportunity to take a park area that’s just heavily used and make it a lot better and a lot more vibrant for the community and visitors.”

In addition to paying park rental fees required of all big events held in city parks, over the past several years C3 has given millions of dollars to the city and the nonprofit Austin Parks Foundation to upgradeZilker Park's "Great Lawn,” where the festival is held, and other Austin parks.

“All year long, they’re working with us to improve how it works, how it functions, how it’s managed, how it’s cleaned up, and help keep the grass green,” Hensley says. “In my book, they are a great group to work with.”

Next year's festival would take place over the first two weekends of October – but there's still plenty of work left to finalize the agreement, says C3 representative Sandee Fenton.

“There are still many details to work through,” Fenton says in a statement. “The improvements to the park are vital to the longevity of future events. Once a cost for renovations have been determined, C3 will make a commitment to fund these improvements.”

Talks around ACL’s expanded presence have only gone on for about two months, according to Hensley.

“There’s no way I can say how thrilled I am to have that opportunity,” Hensley says, “because we would not be able to do this if we didn’t have that kind of partnership.”

Robb Jacobson is a news intern at KUT and a recent graduate of Indiana University.