Bee Cave >Arts & Entertainment > The Backyard
13101 W Highway 71, Austin, TX | Directions 7873630.307622 -97.943636
I saw Foster the People last night. I feel so bad for the band. How can a concert venue in the so-called Live Music Capital of the World have NO spotlights from the utility tower in the center of the seating area? How is this possible? There were lights above the stage, but when Mark Foster walked to the edges of the stage, he walk into complete darkness. Just wait until some egomaniacle "star" shows up and finds there are no spotlights shining on them at all times!
Since I had not been to this new location, I emailed The Backyard TWICE from their website (about a month beofre the show and then the day before the show) to ask about seating options for people who may need a place to sit (since chairs from outside the venue are not allowed to be brought in and the few seats that are available are reserved only for VIP members). My best buddy who attended with me sometimes needs to sit in a chair. I got no response at all.
This venue has a long, and I mean REALLY long way to go to be considered a respectable place for bands to perform and music lovers to attend--the traffic/parking situation could have been a nightmare had we arrived later than over an hour before the gates were to open (and DO NOT expect a quick exit. The staff, obviously, doesn't seem to care at all about the attendees, they just want the money they get.
I will give kudos to one area: food options. There were many food options, but we did not pay almost $50 each to attend a place where we could buy food (not to mention my buddy forking over $6 for each can of Shiner Bock).
I hope when Foster the People returns to Austin, their management team will choose a better, more suitable venue somewhere in town. The band deserves much better than this place offers.
Please keep in mind that any reviews for The Backyard posted BEFORE 2010 are for the former (BETTER) location. The reviews posted from 2010 to the present are for the new (WORSE) location. Also, the address on Highway 71 currently at the top of this page is the former location. The new location is to the northwest on Bee Cave Parkway.
Worst music venue in Austin! – I wish I could just give half of a star...They really need to warn people about how HORRIBLE the traffic is and how slow they are getting everyone into the venue. I left with more than a sufficient amount of time before the show (Incubus) was supposed to start, ended up sitting in traffic for OVER 2 and a half hours, and missed seeing Young the Giant (which was who I was mainly going to see). They need a better system for getting people into parking because that was ridiculous. I have never been to a concert that has been that slow and backed up just getting into the venue! At least provide people with proper warning about the horrendous traffic on the web site, or fix how you handle the crowd. I saw comments prior to mine complaining about 30 min to get into the parking??? Yeah, not near as bad as the TWO HOURS I was in traffic for parking...that was completely unacceptable for the money that I paid for concert tickets and parking!
The Backyard also does not provide an email address or anywhere to leave comments or concerts about their venue. On facebook they are known to delete all of the negative feedback without responding. I believe that it is very important for a "business" to have room for feedback and pay attention to it's customers, especially for improvement. The Backyard needs to get its issues fixed and needs to care more about the people who support them (aka-customers). DON'T GO TO THE BACKYARD...you will be filled with disappointment.
DO NOT WASTE YOUR TIME/MONEY! – I attended the Hill Country Rock N' Ride on 8/21/10
Let me just start by saying that this is NOT a biker friendly venue. Beginning with the 1/2 mile UPHILL LOOSE GRAVEL entrance, all the way to the pathetic excuse for parking. How do they expect to plan a successful biker event/concert with such a treacherous entrance!?! Even in a car! Ridiculous.
The bathroom situation has not improved since Willie's Picnic. When I tried to shut the bathroom door, the entire wooden slat flew out of it's metal frame, EXPOSED NAILS AND ALL!!! UNBELIEVABLE! How are they allowed to open with this half finished facility? Even the green outside walls are FALLING APART, again with exposed nails and gaping holes where they have started to seperate. What a shitty attempt at opening up a new Backyard. I'd say the only thing this place has in common with the old backyard is the NAME. Don't let the name fool you, this is no backyard! It is a field full of safety hazards and poor organization! I will not EVER go back to this place, and I suggest you save your time and money as well!
HORRIBLE experience at Willie's July 4th Picnic – The Backyard needs to get its act together ... and until it does so, I don't recommend attending shows there. I attended Willie Nelson's 2010 4th of July picnic there and it was ONE OF THE WORST -- if not the WORST -- organized concert events I've ever experienced. I don't think that this facility is designed well for the large crowds it intends to serve or they just don't care whether their customers have a good experience, or maybe both.
Parking -- one of the big problems with The Backyard at its former location nearby -- is still an issue. We arrived only a few hours after the gates opened for this all day/night event and the lots were already full so we had to park across the highway and then take a big bus to the venue. Except the bus dropped us off far from the entrance to the amphitheater so we had to trudge uphill for about half a mile in the blazing heat, lugging all the supplies we brought for the day (padding, blanket, four bottles of water, etc.) to get to the actual entrance.
The lines for food were perpetually very long and the vendors ran out of food well before the event was over. We even waited on line for an hour at one point and were only a few people away from placing an order when that booth ran out, leaving dozens of us hungry and angry.
And what's with the unfinished bathrooms with shower curtains instead of real doors and no soap by the sinks? Did The Backyard run out of money and decide not to finish out the facilities? Or again, do the owners just not care about the customer experience?
Plus generally moving around the grounds was unpleasant -- very crowded, body to body, suggesting that the place is poorly laid out for a large/capacity crowd.
As far as the concert itself, although there were a number of great performers and bands -- among them, Asleep at the Wheel, Jamey Johnson, Randy Rogers and the legendary Ray Price, there were a bunch of weak acts including Willie Nelson's offspring. Granted, it's Willie's event and we love Willie but I wasn't expecting a showcase for his kids who aren't nearly as talented as he is. Furthermore, the sequence of the bands was terrible. Instead of building from lesser known bands to the top artists, the lineup was mostly random and no schedule was available so one couldn't possibly know when to catch his or her favorite acts. Worst of all, by midnight, Willie still had not come on stage to perform and I, like many others, just couldn't wait any longer ... so lots of us left disgruntled and feeling let down and even a bit ripped off. There was quite a bit of grumbling on the bus ride back across the highway to the parking garage.
I plan to avoid The Backyard -- allegedly new and improved but it's not -- unless all these issues are resolved.
A Truly Bad Experience From A-Z – Arrived at the "new" Backyard over two hours early for the ZZ Top show and it still took over 30 minutes to pull into the parking lot......one totally disorganized and chaotic line of cars. With clueless, helpless attendants. The dirt parking lot is a joke-- covered with ruts, rocks, tree branches it was like driving off-road; DO NOT TAKE YOUR NICE CAR!
Porta-potties were already full & filthy BEFORE the show even started and only got worse as the night went on as if they hadnt cleaned them from the previous day's show; Lines for drinks were 30 people long. Walking at night was hazardous with rocks, branches and stone planters everywhere but no lighting to see where you're stepping. Rude staff; Sound was a mess.
We literally felt like we were in a prison camp; I sense that managment just slapped this together in the middle of a dusty field with no regard for the audiences' comfort or experience. We felt ripped off and couldnt wait to leave....unfortunately, traffic was so bad, it took over one hour to leave the parking lot in a car that was "white with dust" from the lot.
Austin has too many great music venues to put up with this kind of a rip-off.
So disrespectful of customers and misrepresents venue – I am so dissapointed in the backyard recently. I had been a fan of the Austin icon until recently. The employees were recently very rude and inconsiderate to my husband and I and they misrepresented their show through advertising in my opinion. When I tried to discuss this noone was willing to work with us and treated us as if they could do whatever they pleased and forget about a positive customer experience! This was not the old backyard I discovered when moving to Austin 14 years ago. Better off seeing a concert somewhere in the air conditioning where the venue values their customers.
Enjoy the amazing acoustics of this outdoor venue under the shade of 500-year-old oak trees. – In Short
This open-air amphitheater, with a capacity of 3,200 for seated shows and 4,500 for general admission, has hosted such notables as Elvis Costello, Steve Earle, Willie Nelson, Lyle Lovett, Dwight Yoakam, Tracy Chapman and the entire cast of the Reggae Sun Splash. Neighbor Willie Nelson is also good for at least two shows a year. It's the sister venue--or, in this case, the country cousin--to both the Austin Music Hall and La Zona Rosa.
THE BACKYARD IS HORRIBLE!!!!! – I bought FRONT ROW tickets for my husband and me to see the March 17, 2007 performance of Willie Nelson, Ray Price, Merle Haggard, and Asleep at the Wheel. All I have to say is, we will NEVER return to the Backyard. From years ago, we knew parking at Backyard events is a joke, so we factored that in to our plans, figuring the tacky addition of cheesy, strip shopping centers behind the place would only magnify the problem. (Still, parking was a half hour in, and an hour and a half out: You would think the Backyard would care.) But after standing in line, enduring the drunks behind us constantly stumbling into our backsides, we were shocked to discover that we had to be FRISKED in order to enter the venue. I've been to plenty of concerts/events (including post 9/11), and I have NEVER been frisked - they don't even do that at the airport (unless you're some kind of suspect or you get stuck in a random search). I bought tickets for what was supposed to be a "fun" evening, but we got frisked quicker than you can say "arrest warrant." After that needless embarrassment, we finally got to our seats, only to discover the Backyard had hired SPINELESS to watch the left side of the area (as you're facing the stage) between the front row and the stage: There was a constant parade of pandering idiots wandering in front of us, snapping pictures, lingering, and acting as if they were the performers' best buddies. WE COULDN'T WATCH THE SHOW! What did our "usher" do? Nothing! In addition, there were two middle-aged, extremely hyperactive women sitting on my right, calling all their friends on their mobiles, yakking about how "great" the show is, and "can you just hear them?!" Forget asking spineless to intervene - it became completely useless to try to watch or enjoy the show. The Backyard ruined what was to have been a surprise anniversary gift for my husband! Well, no surprise here, folks: Just like those "made in China" box stores behind them, all the Backyard wants is your money.
Parking is a NIGHTMARE – The Backyard is a great venue to see bands. I just recently saw M o d e s t M o u s e there and it was a good time. The staff is friendly, the atmosphere is beautiful, with many Live Oak trees that add to the "enchanted forest" feel of the place. Despite the fact that a HUGE shopping mall now surrounds the entire venue(as of 2006?) The Backyard still feels like a remote place in the Texas Hill Country.
With that said, this entire experience is ruined by the horrendous parking situation. Getting thousands of cars in and out of the parking area via a 2 lane dirt road is a maddening experience. It took 30 minutes to get in to park, and over an hour to get out. Not worth it.
Backyard mowed over -- Happy now! – This profile is seriously outdated. There is no longer any charm to this venue.
To the person who complained about the parking fiasco, I hope you're happy now. The Backyard use to be fabulous because it was on a hillside -- the epitome of Texas' Hill Country lush, green beauty -- virtually protected from development (yes, I even appreciated that the land was respected enough not to pave it or add electric lighting. That is why it was so special. And the music was incredible under the stars surrounded by oak trees -- 100 years and older. Now, there's plenty of parking because the trees are gone, the land is paved over and The Backyard, is essentially the FRONTYARD of a friggin shopping center! I mean, I just passed it up and it IS in the shopping center parking lot now. Is nothing sacred?!! I can't tell you how incredibly sad/angry/disgusted I am for the loss of this unique Austin venue. Yes, it's technically still there, but it's lost. Believe me.
There is a lot of Austin's uniqueness that's going by the wayside just to accommodate the newcomers who came for Austin's unique setting but still want all the comforts of whatever hellhole they migrated from. Why can't they come, enjoy it for whatever drew them here and not change it. It feels like Austin is being raped and we're standing by til it's just another city.
When people would go to The Backyard, the stage would be open in the back and the age-old trees would get their own lighting becoming part of the set. It was quite magical. Now, there's Marshall's and Old Navy store fronts all lit up. I'll bet they paid extra for the prime spot in that shopping megapolis just to get the added exposure as "backstage" lighting.
So, I suppose there's plenty of parking now (for all you whiners who wanted it), but the Backyard is NOT worth the visit. Not anymore. I will not attend a show there anymore and I'll bet performers will lose their affection for it, too.
There needs to be a memorial service for it.
Sign in with Facebook Sign in with Facebook to see what your friends are up to!
Do you have a review of The Backyard on your blog? If you include the Citysearch image link (shown below) in your post, we'll automatically link to your review from the business profile page. Here's how our Linkback system works:
The Linkback system is free and automatic. It's really that easy.
To link to our business profile page, copy the html below to your web page.