Robert Earl Keen ’78 To Open Aggie Park With Free Concert
To help formally open Texas A&M’s new Aggie Park, Texas music icon Robert Earl Keen Jr. ’78 will play his final show in Aggieland on Sept. 2.
The free Aggie Park Kickoff Concert is coordinated by The Association of Former Students and sponsored by Southwest Airlines, the Office of Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp ’72, the Office of Texas A&M President M. Katherine Banks, and Bob ’85 and Kelly ’86 Jordan.
Keen’s headlining performance is his farewell to performing in Aggieland, where he got his musical start, as he retires from the road this year after 41 years of touring.
Music will begin at 7 p.m., with two opening Aggie acts (Max Stalling ’89 and The Barn Dogs, a band of current A&M students). The concert will end before Midnight Yell Practice, just across the street in Kyle Field.
The concert will take place at Aggie Park’s Performance Pavilion – one of the many new sites being created as Aggie Park’s development transforms 20 acres at the heart of A&M’s campus into a premier green space offering locations for gathering and recreation.
More details about the concert will become available at AggiePark.tamu.edu, where Aggie Park plans can be viewed.
Aggie Park broke ground in February 2020 and will be completed later this summer with an estimated $35 million in funds coming from generous donors to The Association of Former Students, which is leading the project.
Association President and CEO Porter S. Garner III ’79 said Keen was his first and only choice to play the inaugural concert in Aggie Park.
“I have the highest respect for Robert as a man and as an artist,” said Garner, who has maintained a close friendship with Keen for almost four decades. “He is a great Aggie, a thoughtful and honorable gentleman, and one of the greatest singer-songwriters of our time.”
In 2018, Keen was named a Distinguished Alumnus of Texas A&M University, the highest honor bestowed upon a former student by the university and The Association of Former Students.
“Through his music and his generosity, Robert has brought tremendous distinction to Texas A&M and the Aggie Network,” Garner said. “It’s fitting that his farewell concert in Aggieland will take place in Aggie Park. It is going to be an outstanding show featuring an exceptional artist in a premier venue.”
Over the years, Keen has returned to Texas A&M to play many concerts, including benefit performances for those affected by 2017’s Hurricane Harvey and the 1999 Bonfire collapse.
An award-winning singer/songwriter with 21 records to his name, Keen came up from the Texas folk scene to recognition as an Americana music pioneer, credited with bringing a new heyday to grassroots Texas music.
Sponsorship makes this free event possible.
“Southwest Airlines is committed to our customers in all of Central Texas and the greater Houston area, serving both major Houston airports, and we take great pride in connecting them to what is important in their lives. We’re thrilled to be part of the Kickoff Concert at Aggie Park, a space that will bring community, entertainment, recreation and more to Aggieland for decades to come,” said Ryan Green ’99, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer for Southwest Airlines.
The Association of Former Students, established in 1879, is the official alumni organization of Texas A&M University. The Association connects hundreds of thousands of members of the worldwide Aggie Network with each other and the university, and provided $13.6 million in impact to university scholarships, awards, traditions and student activities and recognition for students, faculty, staff and former students in 2021. For more information, visit www.AggieNetwork.com.