The Austin City Limits Festival is an annual festival, which is being held in Austin, Texas since 2002. It takes place at the lovely Zilker Park. The festival is named after the PBS concert series and is put on by the company, C3 who also does Lollapalooza in Chicago.
I’ve been going to ACL since the very first year it started. The first couple years I attended, I had the luxury of my parents driving me to the festival since I had yet to turn 16. Transportation is always the hard part of getting to a festival. Either you are lucky enough to live close and can walk, bike or take a short bus trip or you get stuck with figuring out where you can park and calling all your friends asking if you can park at their house.
The group I was with decided to take the bus from in front of my house, which is relatively close. The only downside is that everyone else is taking the bus as well and sometimes you have to wait for a couple of them to pass by for one to actually have enough room to fit you.
When you do finally make it to the front gates and enter into the park, excitement rushes over you. There is just something about festivals that is so different from a regular concert. I think it’s the crowds that I love and how everyone came out to enjoy the weekend for the same reason: music. Also, with so many people being at the festival, you never know who you’re going to run into. There are always surprises in the crowds.
What I really love about ACL is the fact that all the vendors – from food to odds and ends, are always from local businesses. So you’re never without good food, drinks, and local festival shopping.
Unfortunately, the major risk when it comes to festivals is the weather. Now, being in Texas, ACL has always struggled with the heat issue. That is the reason why it is held in October now and not September. That one month makes a huge difference. Sometimes though it’s not the heat that gets in the way, it’s the rain! The one day I was able to attend the festival, it was raining on and off all day. I would take the rain though over the scorching sun.
By the evening when it’s all nice and dark, the air feels so fresh and cool. The only downside are the huge mud patches everywhere. But what would a festival be without getting a little bit dirty? We decided to catch a little bit of Neil Young and Crazy Horse who were headlining for the evening. Of course, the only spots left were way in the back since for most headliners, die hard fans tend to camp out in the front and wait through all the acts beforehand so they can be in the perfect spot. We definitely didn’t mind taking it easy in the back. We had a long walk back to my house from the park.
Even though I only made it out for one day of the festival, and despite the rain, it was still a great day with friends and strangers alike.