How much money does ACL generate for Austin parks?

the APF website blog post from this year claims to have distributed $122,000 in grants in 2023. $75,000 of that was to the zilker botanical garden. i’m not sure what happened to the rest of the $7,000,000. i’d be curious to see any documentation that proves more than 25% of the aclfest “donations” are being spent on park improvements.

i think acl/ticketmaster made around $300,000,000 this year on the festival. seems like zilker park should not have to be asking for tax payers to come up with $200,000,000 to pay for a vision plan due to the park “being loved to death” when the murderer is standing right there with pockets full of cash.

austinites are getting ripped off and losing access to the park for two months so that corporation can make bank.

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Can you provide sources for those numbers?

it’s difficult to find a posted gross ticket sales number but i saw average costs and then multiplied by 450,000 attendees. i’m not sure how many platinum $5k passes they sell.

but i would ask a similar question in that i haven’t found any documentation of apf spending on parks anywhere near the amount they are handed for aclfest. i mean… with a $7,000,000 donation for taking over our top metropolitan park you’d think we could afford to staff all the lifeguards around town or repair the janky playscape at zilker. they’ve been given over $50,000,000 to spend on parks but provide no easily digestible data on what that has funded. unless you want to click on each pin on the map and add it all up.

Gross is just gross - I mean it costs a lot to pay for all the things. The $7M is a portion of ticket sales. As far as accounting as to what the money has funded, that seems more of an issue to raise with PARD / Austin Parks Foundation.

The article I linked to does list several things:

  • The Henry Madison Cabin in Rosewood Neighborhood Park will be restored with ACL funds. The cabin—built in 1863—honors Austin’s first African American City Council member.
  • Austin’s first all-abilities playground will be built at Onion Creek Metropolitan Park. All-abilities playgrounds have features that support children with special needs.
  • Trail improvements and maintenance will be made along the Barton Creek Greenbelt.
  • A park will be built in the Brownie neighborhood.
  • More park improvements made from ACL Fest 2022 revenue can be found here.

Lies, all lies.

The artists fly down and ship all their stuff and pay for their stay here out of their own pockets because they hate Austin enough to consider it a charitable contribution to a worthy cause.

The vendors for the stage, sound, electric, and pretty much all the equipment donate the rental installation and management of it all for all the weeks because it’s cheaper than storing that stuff at their warehouses wherever those may be in the country.

The crew that do all of the setup, operations, and cleanup volunteer because the instagrams and tictocs they get out of it are totally worth it.

Basically all the money just go to Charles, chuck, and Charlie (ever wonder why it’s called C3) and they throw a few dollars at the city who is privileged to host it.

There is also definitely no local economic impact from people who come and spend money here, it’s just Humanitarian aid, like if we had hurricane refugees.

There definitely isn’t even 1 person in Zilker who rents part of their house out for it as a way to pay their Taxes, because every Zilkerite is true to the cause and hates ACL.


I doubt they made that much. I don’t think 450,000 attendees means 450,000 different people went. Same person over multiple times. I think they limit it to 75k per day which would = 450K over 6 days.

BTW 200 million for the vision plan is a joke, even in todays world 200 million should go way further. Unless you’re the government spending the money.

i do appreciate sarcasm.

apf has collected $50+million from acl yet pard is so underfunded that we struggle to hire lifeguards to work at the springs. has apf spent money on parks? 100%. has it spent $50million on our parks? the numbers don’t add up. $122k for the last grant cycle? with $75k going to one of their zilker351 members? that means less than $50k was filed out for park improvements through the only public process for spending that money. i’m sure there are reasons for that but where is the remainder of the money? zilker park has major erosion issues along the creek but apf and the other non-profits tasked with managing our parks don’t seem to be tripping over each other to spearhead restoration efforts. the playscape at zilker parks is falling to pieces. most of the projects i click on in their map of successes are for under $10k and stretch back over a decade.

what is the primary function of apf? 90+% of their funding is from acl. it’s my park day is all volunteers. where are the remaining $5million of park improvements if not listed on their site?

ps - i am volunteering this saturday as the organizer for another little zilker impd to lay some mulch. in case any of you are into that sort of thing. mulch-o-rama 3. you only get a shirt if you register.

I mean I hope you appreciate the irony of saying that as the city faces down massive opposition to do virtually anything.

To be clear, APF is not PARD.

APF budgets are here

PARD here,%24477K%20(6%20FTEs).

These are separate entities because of how government finance rules work. They isn’t an Austin issue, that is a USA issue.

Also, Zilker 351 was an idea which never came into existence. Speaking about it is talking about fake things. —- correction apparently Zilker 351 is real, but the scope of it as defined in the vision plan never occurred.

Finally, the lifeguards. Fun fact about city budgets, they can only grow 3% a year. Fun fact about the police portion of it, it’s not allowed to shrink while representing over half of all the money. Fun fact about local wages and inflation, they are growing faster than 3%.

If the city can’t hire lifeguards, or EMS, Fire, or Police or 911 operators, or pretty much for any job that doesn’t pay well into 6 figures, it’s because those jobs are in demand everywhere and the people that would take them can get that job in another city where they could also afford to live. Why nobody can afford to live here though, even with a 6 figure salary, that’s a discussion for a different thread.

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Thanks to everyone for sharing information about this really interesting topic. I have seen numbers about the economic impact of ACL in Austin (although put together by a firm contacted by C3), how much money ACL generates for APF, etc.

But what I have yet to come across is the following: what percentage of the money that C3/Live Nation makes from ACL gets donated back to the city, including via APF?

The $7.2 million that APF got from ACL in 2022 sounds like a lot of money for Austin’s underfunded park system, but how does it compare to C3/Live Nation’s profits from ACL?

I don’t know that we can get an accurate number, but according to their financials, their profit margin is approx 5.2%

What the actual revenue for ACL is and what the profit margin for this specific festival is as opposed to their company total, no clue.

That’s probably a difficult number to determine as a lot of the artist contracts span various events. I did find this from the 2023 annual report for Live Nation as a whole. After pretty staggering losses during the pandemic it looks like they made nearly 300k in 2022.

i agree, apf is not pard. is that better or worse for our public parks?

it is not clear in their financials what percentage of that acl fest money is being spent on parks.
they claim 87% of every dollar is spent on parks but i’m not seeing how that is calculated.

i do see that in 2021 there were $446,000 in grants awarded and $3.2million in project expenses. not quite 87% of $10million in revenue. they do appear to have $18,000,000 of cash/assets.

the original question was, “how much money does acl generate for austin parks?” but the follow up questions should be, “how much of that money actually gets spent on improving and/or expanding austin parks?” i’d also ask, “does this money improve zilker park or just repair it after acl fest is over?” aside from irrigating the great lawn, what has acl fest improved in zilker park? they were forced to install irrigation because they were destroying the lawn so i’m not sure how to classify that. they also use parts of the park outside of the great lawn but haven’t installed irrigation there or made any improvements either. is there a total number of people acl can sell tickets to before it is capped? could we see a million visitors shuffle through the gates of acl within the next 5 years? what is an appropriate tradeoff for ticketmaster to have this privilege in our public park that the vision plan cried about everyone having equitable access to?

Careful! We wouldn’t want to put the impression out there that ACL wants to control / own / turn zilker park into an amusement park or something!

har har! :smiley:

butt seriously…

Better/Worse is irrelevant. Its the choice we are forced to make by virtue of how Texas constrains city budgets and many logistical and legal issues with raising and spending money by cities or governments.

The short of it is that the city can’t just take money for a project unless it is a fee. There isn’t a mechanism to “donate to zilker” via the city as the existence of such a mechanism would enable things look like bribes and make bribes harder to track. IF the city could do it, that would be useful, but then the criticisms that the city is being paid off by C3 would actually have credence.

So, are the many city parks and trails with their various non profit foundations and conservancies better off for the ability to take direct donations and hire services or buy things without all the government bureaucracy a net benefit to those parks and trails? I think so.

Does every penny get perfectly put to the highest utilitarian value? Probably not.

Am I ok with that? Very much so.

Not to be nitpicky, but Live Nation’s net income was $409 million (those amounts are in thousands). Even so, if APF received $7.2 million from Live Nation for one event, that’s a pretty significant chunk.

Sorry - right you are @brandonjlamb - a better breakdown:

i’d like to see what they for similar sized events in comparison.

the financials suggest that they’ve lost money every year until this year. or am i reading it wrong?