Austin City Limits Music Festival is a three day music festival that takes place in Austin, Texas at Zilker Park and unites 65,000 people (music lovers, drunks, stoners, hippies, college kids who don’t own shirts, middle aged men and their 20 something mid life crisis, middle aged women wearing their mid life crisis, etc…) and showcases 130 bands that range from established acts, up and coming artists, and cult bands.
As I have mentioned in previous blogs, I am a huge fan of Austin City Limits Music Festival (ACL) and have attended each year since 2005. In addition to being a fan of the event, Austin is my favorite city in Texas and ranks in the top five in the country. Shout out to San Francisco and Chicago as well.
Each year is special and I recall fondly my time spent with the mass of people who endure a new environmental nemesis while responding to the siren sound of the multi staged musical extravaganza. In five wonderful years, I have seen fire (burning trailers while Pete Yorn performed and burning speaker while Bjork performed) and I’ve seen rain (thanks James Taylor), I’ve seen dust (Foo Fighters were absolutely worth the 2 weeks of brown soot seeping from my nose) and I’ve seen what some thought was mud (Eddie Vedder became one with the crowd and slid in it) but smelled a bit more pungent and was actually some animal fecal matter.
Over the course of my attendance, I have seen some pretty amazing shows. Listed below are just some of the high lights:
|Ben Harper||Tom Petty||Foo Fighters||Pearl Jam|
|Beck||Robert Plant & Allison Krause||The Raconteurs||Drive-By Truckers|
|Son Volt||Donavon Frankenreiter||State Radio||Brett Dennen|
|The Dead Weather||Damien Rice||Cross Canadian Ragweed||Arcade Fire|
|Amos Lee||Robert Earl Keen||Iron & Wine||Mason Jennings|
|Van Morrison||John Mayer||Ray LaMontagne||Wilco|
|G Love & Special Sauce||The Toadies||The Shins||B-52’s|
|Slightly Stoopid||Eli Young Band||The Black Keys||Okkervil River|
|Queens of the Stone Age||Bjork||The Killers||Steve Earle|
|Bob Dylan||Lucinda Williams||The Tragically Hip||Willie Nelson|
Over the last few years, it has become a tradition for me and my long term, heterosexual, significant other, life partner to attend. We eagerly anticipate the sale of the early bird tickets and the unveiling of the lineup. She too is a huge fan of the festival and city. Which makes the trip all the better. While our musical tastes are similar, with the variety of acts available at the festival, we have a ritual of mapping out the days and comparing our schedules and see how close they match. There is usually some slight difference with the day shows but most of the evening shows are fairly in-line
Last year was particularly memorable because we took our oldest children (her daughter, my son). It was my son’s first concert, he is fifteen and we share a pretty strong bond over music. Several of his favorite bands were playing and I surprised him by waking him up early Sunday morning and driving to Austin and living vicariously through him as he excitedly took in the whole seen. His first concert consisted of Brett Dennen, The Toadies, State Radio (his favorite), Ben Harper, and Pearl Jam. Not a bad first concert. As if this were not enough, he got to meet State Radio, get a picture with the band and their brand new CD “Let It Go” signed. The look on his face was priceless as he posed for a picture and the band talked to him for a few minutes. Add to this day, Home Slice Pizza, two concert shirts, and the use of port-a-pots on the last day of a three day festival. It was indeed a day to remember.
All this, is to say, if you have not attended ACL, I strongly suggest you take the time and attend a day or two if the thought of three days is too grueling. I am a fan of the three days and love every minute of the music and the experience. However, I recognize it is not for everyone and as I have gotten older I have come to realize that the recovery time is just a bit longer with each passing year. My days include less beer, more water, sunscreen, comfortable shoes, and a chair.
So, if you have some time and disposable income, check out www.aclfestival.com.
Great music awaits!