When you think of a music festival you probably are inclined to believe there is a huge camp out with lots of setup and the fact that you have to “rough it” for a few days. However, with city festivals you get the amenities of day-to-day life while being able to enjoy the music you love, which is exactly how Austin City Limits is set up. With a destination festival there is usually a little more cost up front, but the experience is definitely worth it.
We were in the heart of downtown Austin for four days. There were plenty of free shuttles that took festival goers back and forth throughout the night, which allowed easy re-admittance if you weren’t located by the outdoor venue. ACL has eight stages showcasing genres from rock, indie, country, folk to electronic and hip hop. The beer gardens and food vendors are decently priced compared to other major festivals which is amazing considering approximately 450,000 people attend the festival each year. That’s a lot of mouths to feed.
There was plenty of space in the 350 acres and literally no lines for anything (Disneyland could learn a thing or two). Entering the festival was a breeze as well as using the bathrooms, which is usually a repulsive nightmare and the ACL app was a necessity for this trip! You were able to plot out the artists you wanted to see using the customized scheduler feature.
My main reasons for attending was to see the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Gorillaz, and Jay-Z. Louis The Child came in close second. Their electronic style of music is definitely something that was not as common at this festival. Portugal. The Man and Milky Chance were among crowd favorites throughout the week, because they brought the relaxing, chill vibes that their fans expected which was a great contrast to a lot of the other music at the festival. Skepta, who originates from the UK was there too. His style was different from most American rap and brought a fun vibe. If you have ever listened to BBC Radio 1xtra you will know what I mean about the “style” of UK rap. This grime style of rap influenced by dance-hall, reggae and UK garage is rooted back to London and remains an uprising rap genre in the US.
Each night the festival ended around 10pm, so there was still hours of the night to be enjoyed. Never been to 6th street? It’s a must-stop. The Blind Pig was our first stop. This was a bar with an open rooftop patio and live music. I liked this place because it wasn’t elbow to elbow. After the crowds at the festival it was nice. There were a lot of people there, but the architecture opened roof deck made it seem much larger.
6th street is more of a tourist attraction during the nights, but highly recommended. Rainey street is where more of the locals hang out. Lustre Pearl is where we frequented on the Saturday before going into the festival. The reason we chose to go here was actually looking around on YELP for places to drink that were affordable, on Rainey Street. Not only was there enjoyable nightlife in Austin, but their BBQ food was on point. When you are in Texas BBQ food is a must, so we had to check that off our list as things done. Also, it was relatively affordable for the amount of food. We decided to end the trip with a meal at Iron Works Barbecue. This restaurant is tasty BBQ stop that I would recommend to anyone else in the Rainey street area.
Because this festival isn’t genre specific it was extra special and ACL created more than $227 million for the local economy last year so after the weekend’s shenanigans you can feel even better about the trip because the economy of the central Texas is a little better for it. We can’t wait until next year!
Special thanks to Sydney for the amazing photos! Go check her out on Instagram @sydgaw or on her website.