For a city that prides itself in being the live music capital of the world, we sure don’t host as many music festivals as we should. Thankfully, an Austin OG Festival is dusting itself off and bringing some amazing blues musicians back into the spotlight. The Austin Blues Festival is takin over Waterloo Greenway Saturday, April 29th, but it was actually started back in 1999 by Clifford Antone, the founder and namesake of Antone’s Nightclub. The fest ran for three years at what was then Waterloo Park and showcased some of his favorite blues artists.
Blues hall-of-famers like Buddy Guy, John Lee Hooker, and Ray Charles all took to the stage during that time, along with local acts that Antone wanted to spotlight. Waterloo Greenway opened to the public in 2021 and if you haven’t been yet, this look quite different than they did in 1999. “By bringing blues back to the park, we’re paying homage to the original festivals my brother hosted here in the early 2000s,” said Susan Antone, Clifford Antone’s sister. “We’re providing an opportunity for the next generation of blues lovers to experience world-class music at a new, 5,000 seat outdoor venue in the middle of downtown Austin.”
The day-long festival will feature performances by Los Lobos, Booker T’s Stax Revue, Robert Randolph Band, Adrian Quesada’s Jaguar Sound, BLK ODYSSY, The Glorifying Vines Sisters, C.J. Chenier & The Red Hot Louisiana Band, and DJ Raquiqui and DJ Mahealani. Blues legend Jimmie Vaughan will appear as a special guest with Booker T. Jones. Jackie Venson and Rebirth Brass Band will also make special appearances.
50% of the profits from Austin Blues Festival will go to support the Waterloo Greenway Conservancy. “Our organizations share more than just a love of music — we share a deep passion for supporting the arts and serving the Austin community,” said Jesús Aguirre, CEO of Waterloo Greenway. “We are thrilled to host the Austin Blues Festival in collaboration with Antone’s Nightclub to continue Waterloo Park’s tradition of live music.” Tickets start at $60 and are available at https://www.moodyamphitheater.com/events/austin-blues-festival.