Pan-Am Hillside Summer Concerts celebrates 60 yrs —
September 30, 2020

Pan-Am Hillside Summer Concerts celebrates 60 yrs

By Anna Maciel

The Oswaldo A.B. Cantu Pan-American Recreation Center will be celebrating its 60th Anniversary as the City of Austin’s longest running live music series: The Pan-Am Summer Hillside Concert Series. The event will be held at the Hillside Theater, located at 2100 East 3rd St.  The five-week  concert series is a FREE event and will be held every Tuesday in July, and a finale being held on Saturday, August 4.  Entertainers, media, and community partners will be honored at each date of Hillside: Manuel Donley, Ben Marines, Shorty Ortiz, Roy Montelongo,  Alfonso Ramos, Ruben Ramos, La Prensa, John Trevino, Charles Villlasenor, Richard Moya, Peggy VasqueaAnthony Ortiz, Jr.  Darlene Camacho, Manuel Navarro, Golden Gloves Boxers, Tom Renteria, and many other honorees.

Little Joe & La Familia to perform this year

On September 7, 1956, a new and larger center was dedicated at 2100 East 3rd St., just west of the old location,  where it currently sits today.  The building adjoined Zavala Elementary School and shared some common space in partnership with the Austin Independent School District.  In June 1958, the Pan Am Hillside Theater was built, sparking the start of what would later be known as Austin’s longest running live music series. Hillside is a tradition of outdoor concerts that features Mexican American music and Tejano legends like Alfonso Ramos, Manuel Donley, Leonard Davila, Freddy Martinez, Johnny and the Sensations, Flaco Jimenez, Shorty and the Corvettes, and Nash Hernande Orquestra. In 1978, a mural was painted by artist Raul Valdez to enhance the community cultural essence of the Hillside Theater.  Music is of the utmost importance to continue this legendary event to unite our communities, especially with the rapid growth surrounding central Austin. Mexican American music and culture are an integral part of Austin’s fabric and the Oswaldo A.B. Cantu Pan-American Recreation Center plays a big role in keeping that family tradition alive.

To see  the Pan-Am Summer Hillside Concert Series’ full schedule, see this month’s To Do Música.


About Merideth Cox 239 Articles
Merideth is a music writer who has covered bands from her hometown in Colorado to London to Bangkok to Shanghai and finally back to Austin. Led Zeppelin changed her life. So did Dolly Parton. You can read her music reviews at

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