Ryman Hospitality Properties, which owns The Grand Ole Opry, The Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, as well as numerous other important music properties in Nashville and beyond, has struck a deal to purchase the 37-story, full city block-sized mixed-use complex in downtown Austin along second street known as Block 21.
Monday morning, when Live Nation announced that the headliners would be Jason Aldean, Thomas Rhett, and Lady Antebellum, as well as all the new provisions on coolers and camping, an outright revolt took place among long-time attendees. Over 3,500 1 star reviews were posted on the event’s Facebook page, and hundreds of negative comments were left on the lineup announcement.
There’s no more hypothesizing what Austin might look like if the music scene is bled out of its system. All you have to do is walk down 7th Street or Red River to see it. So will the solutions be small baby steps that look to support the dwindling artists and infrastructure that’s still left? Or will there be big proposals and bold plans that not only fix Austin music, but fix Austin in general?
Last week, lost among the shuffle of a slew of bad news stories on the country music front was the news that mega concert promoter Live Nation had purchased a 51% controlling stake in the largest independent music festival in the country—Manchester, Tennessee’s Bonnaroo. The specifics of the deal looked very similar to the deal struck in December of 2014 when they purchased Austin’s C3 Presents.
Just about the worst thing that could happen to the independent live music consumer has just transpired, and the entire landscape of live music, and specifically the environment for live music in Austin, TX, will forever be changed for the worse. A deal first rumored in October for Live Nation to acquire a majority 51% controlling stake in C3 Presents has gone through for an estimated $125 million.