SXSW-avoidant Austinites turn out in droves for free Garth Brooks concert

Tens of thousands of Austinites wait for Garth Brooks to take the stage Saturday, March 18, 2017, at Auditorium Shores in downtown Austin for a free SXSW concert. (KXAN/Todd Bailey)
Tens of thousands of Austinites wait for Garth Brooks to take the stage Saturday, March 18, 2017, at Auditorium Shores in downtown Austin for a free SXSW concert. (KXAN/Todd Bailey)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Country music legend Garth Brooks performed in front of tens of thousands of people in a free concert at Auditorium Shores in downtown Austin Saturday night.

In addition to those with tickets inside the fence, many fans set up their chairs right outside, hanging on parking garages and nearby streets eager to catch just a glimpse of Brooks.

It’s a common refrain to hear most Austinites claim that they generally avoid South by Southwest as it clogs up the city. But tonight, when KXAN asked where people were from, only one person we approached said they weren’t from Austin.

We asked people to name their favorite Brooks songs. Responses included …

  • “I like, ‘Friends in Low Places'”
  • “The Dance, Friends in Low Places”
  • “Thunder Rolls”

And what else did fans have to say?

  • “I think he’s true to his music, everything is very consistent and. since I was little, since the 90s, he has just been really consistent.”
  • “We’ve been listening for years, and I think he’s got such a huge music catalog that no matter what he makes it’s going to be amazing.”
  • “It shows that he is an awesome artist and he really cares about the fans, and I’ve always thought that he cares about his fans more than some of the artists.

Saturday night’s show comes as Garth Brooks is in the middle of a record-breaking tour. His World Tour has been going on since late 2014.

Since then, Billboard says he’s performed more than 300 times, often two times a night. He beat the previous world record — which was actually his old record — by more than 100 shows.

The Recording Industry Association of America says he has sold more albums than any other artist worldwide … except for The Beatles.

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