University of Texas' Longhorn City Limits Concert Series Is Shaking Up Game Days

Reckless Kelly
Carl Dunn Backstage Design Studio 

Reckless Kelly

The series has already featured Reckless Kelly, Aloe Blacc and more.

The University of Texas in Austin is changing the way football fans experience game days. Beginning this season, UT established Longhorn City Limits which is a pre-game concert and event with musical acts, food trucks and craft beer. Scheduled on home games for the famous Longhorns, the events hope to bring football fans in early and appeal to an even wider audience.

“We’ve completely transformed our football game day experience beyond just the game itself. Being located in Austin, what better way to do that than to really ramp up our live music offerings,” says senior marketing coordinator, fan engagement for UT, Charles Branch.

Partnering with local promoter C3 Presents who also produces Austin City Limits, Longhorn City Limits has already invited fans to free shows from Jimmie Vaughan, Reckless Kelly, Old 97’s and Aloe Blacc.

“We wanted to make sure we hit every genre at some point in the season. Country music is huge in Texas and people associate country music with Texas football,” Branch tells Billboard. “It was important that we have some of that, but we didn’t want necessarily be tied to that.”

The next home-game headliner will be Hayes Carll on Nov. 3 for Texas Football's Big 12 Conference game vs. West Virginia. Texas Athletics plans to close out the series this year with an electronic act on Nov. 17 for their final home game of the season.

For games that end in the evening, the university will also offer silent discos for the whole family.

The concert series is held on the picturesque LBJ Lawn outside the northeast corner of DKR-Texas Memorial Stadium. The lawn creates a natural amphitheater that can entertain up to 8,000 guests. With help from partners Stubb’s BBQ and local station KLRU, the event is open to the public and faces the landmark UT Tower.

“There are so many other options to stay home or go to your local craft brew pub and watch the game,” says UT’s executive senior associate athletics director for external affairs Drew Martin. “The onus is on us to provide them with an experience that is worth, not just their money, but their time.”

“People have come to expect more variety, more options, more personalization. If college athletics and big college football doesn’t adapt to the desires of their fanbase we’re going to wind up losing,” Martin tells Billboard. “It is an opportunity for us to recommit to our fans and give them what they are asking for in a day-long experience on a college campus.”

The university has also opened up a designated tailgating space on the other side of the stadium. The streets surrounding the campus get shut down for what they call, Bevo Boulevard, named after their mascot.

“We did our best to create a natural tailgate spot right around the stadium for people to come to, reduce the price of all of our concessions offerings,” says Branch. “We have seen our fans respond in a tremendous way.”

“In the coming years, not only do we want to continue, we want to advance. We had a little over two months to get all this stuff shored up and with a year’s time you’ll see this grow to a really impressive lineup,” Martin adds.