Austin City Limits, Austin
Austin , Texas
Tel: 888 512 7469
Concierge.com's insider take:
For more than 30 years, the weekly PBS show Austin City Limits has been a window into the city's incomparable music scene, featuring artists from Willie Nelson to Spoon. Tickets to tapings are free, but they're pretty darn hard to come by. The local radio affiliate, KLRU, announces the location of a giveaway one to two days before the concert: Whoever shows up first at that location gets 'em (limit of two). So you have to be in Austin (and be speedy) to score.
Of course, ACL also puts on the Austin City Limits Festival in September, which leans toward more established acts, from Coldplay to Lucinda Williams. Its party atmosphere is comparable to the annual South by Southwest festival, but it's much easier to navigate. All shows are held in Zilker Park (rather than SXSW's zillion tiny nightclubs around town). Sign up on the ACL site to be alerted to ticket on-sale dates; tickets get more expensive as the event approaches.
Also good to know: Because of the convincing backdrop of the city skyline and other local landmarks, it's a common misconception that the show is filmed outdoors; it's actually shot in a studio on the University of Texas campus.