It is a major moment for music fans in Austin. On Monday, the final Austin City Limits program will be recorded inside the studio that the series called home for 36 years. Next year, ACL moves into a bigger venue at the W Hotel and Condos Downtown, marking a new era in Austin music.
The critically-acclaimed PBS series was born on October 17, 1974, when Willie Nelson took the stage in Studio 6A at the University of Texas’ communications building. More artists followed over the next three decades, including Stevie Ray Vaughan, Roy Orbison, Johnny Cash, Dave Matthews and Ray Charles.
“We are so proud of the history we built,” said ACL’s Executive Director, Terry Lickona.
On Monday, Lickona heard one last sound check and took one last look inside Studio 6A before the taping.
“People keep asking what our emotions are about the last taping in this studio after 36 years and the one word that seems to come to mind the most is bittersweet,” he said.
It is bittersweet, perhaps, because nothing may ever truly replace it.
“People keep referring to the stage and how special it is and how special it feels the moment they step foot on it,” Lickona said. “It is like a major milestone for them to set foot on the same stage where they have seen so many of their heroes and icons who have performed on the show for three and a half decades.”
The set itself, which features iconic Austin landmarks, is also special because many viewers have believed show was actually taped outside.
“We have fooled a lot of people,” Lickona said.
The new set has not yet been unveiled, but Lickona said it will have the look and feel of the old one. It will also offer nearly twice as much seating.
Lyle Lovett will perform Monday for the final taping inside Studio 6A.