Bee’s Backyard Shed

Although iconic Austin venue The Backyard is hosting its final season after 16 years, plans are in the works for a new venue in the neighboring city of Bee Cave.

Tim O’Connor, president and owner of the 5,000-capacity venue, told Pollstar one reason why the venue is closing.

"The decision was made over the last three or four seasons. … The environment that we once enjoyed out here in the hill country of Austin now is covered with urban sprawl, which we knew was coming," O’Connor said.

"Austin’s growing. And that’s one of the byproducts of Austin being such a wonderful place to live. … And it’s just time for us to move on. Sixteen years we’ve been here and we’ve had a million paid and 400 concerts."

A new location with an estimated capacity between 7,500 and 8,000 is under consideration.

"We have it under contract and we’re now doing all our feasibility studies. Hopefully in ’09 we’ll see a different but similar Backyard," he said.

If the city works with him to make it a green venue, the new building will have the same name.

"But if it turns out that we need to pour a great deal of concrete and it doesn’t have the beautiful trees that we want, I don’t think I’d lend the name ‘The Backyard’ to it.

"It’s something I’ve accepted, in closing The Backyard, that there will never be an original Backyard again," O’Connor said. "But the new Backyard will carry on the traditions that were set in motion here."

That includes using natural paths as opposed to concrete and working with the environment of the land in the topography rather than trying to reshape it.

If everything goes as planned under "extremely optimistic" circumstances, the new venue will open next summer.

Upcoming shows on the books for the final season of The Backyard include Steve Miller Band, 311 / Snoop Dogg and Gipsy Kings.