The Austin Chronicle

The Long Center’s Drop-In Music Series Is Back

By Madeline Duncan, May 8, 2024, 4:36pm, Earache!

Gather the picnic blankets and lather on the sunblock: Free summer concerts are back. The Long Center’s free outdoor music series, The Drop-In, returns to the lawn May 23. Every Thursday through Aug. 15 (except July 4), Long Center partners with ACL Radio to host first-come first-serve concerts featuring Austin-based musicians.

While participating artists have been announced, you’ll have to wait to find out when they’re taking the stage. On Fridays, the Long Center will announce the following week’s performer on social media, starting May 17, and on Mondays, RSVPs open for the week’s show.

The 22-artist lineup crosses all genre lines: one week see Selena Tribute band Bidi Bidi Banda, another week, folky-dream rockers Half Dream. You can look forward to seeing Riders Against the Storm, hip-hop duo and three-time Austin Music Awards winner for Band of the Year. For classic country enjoyers, expect to see country group The Sentimental Family Band and honky-tonk staple Dale Watson & His Lonestars. Austin City Limits alum Alesia Lani, the local R&B songwriter known for her authentic lyrics and hip-hop inspirations, will also take the stage during the summer-long series.

Perhaps best known as the home to fine arts performances from Austin Opera, Ballet Austin, and Austin Symphony Orchestra, the Long Center began hosting the outdoor series in the summer of 2021 to allow Austinites to continue to enjoy live music in the age of social distancing. In 2024, the weekly concerts face a different challenge: rising temperatures and prolonged heat waves. Be sure to check the weather each week – extreme heat forced multiple arts organizations, including ASO, to cancel outdoor performances last summer.

For those looking for a little more, the Long Center offers paid memberships that promise access to early RSVP and entry, exclusive member lounges, and free Long Center merchandise.

Also returning this summer is famed series Blues on the Green. Austin City Limits Radio briefly canceled the festival, but city co-sponsorship and support from H-E-B allowed the beloved Austin tradition to continue. Austin’s longest running free concert series returns to Zilker Park for its 33rd iteration June 11-12. That festival’s lineup is expected to be announced Thursday morning.

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