The Austin City Limits music festival brings thousands of people to town each year. It's a fact local business owners count on to boost sales.
But not just any space can become a concert venue — something country musician Clay Harrell found that out the hard way. He was set to play the Barton Springs Neighborhood Food Court just blocks away from Zilker Park when the miniature music fest got shut down by the city.
Harrell says he understands the need for permits, but thinks the city is forgetting its local talent.
"That's Austin's selling point is that we're the live music capital of the world, but it just seems that every year it gets harder and harder for venues to operate, to have music," Harrell said.
Meanwhile, code compliance officials say they're just enforcing the law.
"A lot of the events that happen, people want to capitalize on that," Robert Alvarado with Austin's Code Compliance said. "We think it's a great idea but they have to do it within city guidelines."
Alvarado said some of those guidelines include getting a temporary use permit and making sure the event fits in with the surrounding neighborhood.
Harrell says the food court has hosted live music before without any complaints. He worries that the city's efforts to attract outside attention are hurting small businesses and local musicians, even while ACL's success story shows what's possible.
"I'm not knocking the festival, I think the festival as a good thing," Harrell said. "The festival is a great example of something that started off as a little bitty TV show in the seventies, and it's grown into this huge international thing. They wanted to showcase what Austin was about, and you've got a guy three blocks away from him doing the same thing, but the city's going in and saying you can't do that."