- Blue Grass
- Presented by
- J. Gilligan's
The Who’s Tommy re-imagined as a “Bluegrass Opry!”
“Ever since I was a young boy, I played the silver ball.” Maybe not your standard bluegrass lyric, but a line known the world over from one of the biggest rock operas of all time, The Who’s Tommy. Now, 45 years after its original release, this classic rock piece has been fully realized as a full-length bluegrass tribute featuring a dynamic bluegrass quintet from Springfield, Mo., The HillBenders. Conceived and produced by SXSW co-founder and longtime musician/producer, Louis Jay Meyers, Tommy: A Bluegrass Opry brings a new perspective to Tommy, while paying complete respect to its creators. Originally composed by guitarist Pete Townshend as a rock opera, The Who’s Tommy tells the story about a deaf, dumb and blind boy that includes his experiences with life and his relationship with his family. The original album sold 20 million copies and has been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame for “historical, artistic and significant value.” In 2003, Rolling Stone magazine ranked Tommy number 96 on its list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. Louis had been looking for the right band to pull off a bluegrass approach for several decades, and he found exactly that with The HillBenders. With a perfect mix of musicianship and rock star vocals, The HillBenders bring The Who’s original vision to life in a new and exciting way. Banjo, dobro, mandolin, bass and guitar bring the same energy and vision to Tommy as The Who did with a full rock band and orchestra. The HillBenders are one of the bluegrass groups who recognize their ability to bridge the gap between the average music consumer and the bluegrass genre, selecting material that defies any “hillbilly” stigmas. With their widely varied influences, The Hillbenders successfully deliver bluegrass songs that unify genres and pair with the music they grew up with, like rock ‘n’ roll.
Join us on the lawn!
This concert is free! There is limited seating available in socially-distanced squares on the lawn and on Abram Street. No reservation is required. Squares are first come, first served when the gates open at 6 p.m. Each square holds up to four people. You must wear a mask to enter the lawn. Once you are in your square, you can remove your mask to eat and drink. You must wear a mask any time you leave your square. Once the concert is over, please leave the lawn as quickly as possible. While at the Levitt, please stay a socially distanced 6 feet away from Levitt crew, staff, artists and volunteers. Please bring your own food, beverages, chairs and blankets. No glass containers, please. Parking is free. For directions to the Levitt, please see Directions & Parking. Concert gates are located at the corner of Center and South streets between the Levitt and First Baptist Church and at the corner of Abram and Pecan streets near the flagpole entrance at the west end of the Levitt lawn.
For your health and safety
The Levitt has taken required health and safety precautions to help make your visit to the lawn as safe as possible during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Antibacterial stations are located by the restrooms and throughout the concert area. A cleaning crew will sanitize the bathrooms before, during and after concerts. Please do not attend concerts if you are not feeling well, have a temperature of 100 degrees or higher, or have been exposed to the virus. Thank you for following safety protocols of social distancing and wearing a mask. Stopping the spread of COVID-19 is up to all of us.