Loaded with fun and activities for everyone, Austin City Limits (ACL) has been celebrating Austin and its musical culture for over 10 years. The festival consistently brings an eclectic collection of music under one park, promising attendees a good time.
Organized in 2002, the festival initially expected only 20,000 fans, but it opened Saturday morning to over 42,000 people. One-day passes sold for only $25. Lines were long; people crowded the city of Austin. Residents complained that the traffic was worse than South by Southwest, which was (until then) considered Austin’s biggest festival.
But that was only the beginning. Since then, the festival has grown into an extravagant event.
In the past, ACL has featured acts like Coldplay, My Morning Jacket, Big Boi, Bright Eyes, Nas & Damian Marley, Social Distortion, Kanye West, Stevie Wonder, Arcade Fire, The Foo Fighters, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Muse, M.I.A, the Strokes, Beck and Robert Plant.
The festival venue is the center of Austin on 46 acres of Zilker Park. Aside from the live music on multiple stages, attendees can enjoy a range of activities and foods. ACL displays Austin’s fantastic variety of flavors, featuring Leaf Tea, Stubbs BBQ and Amy’s Ice Cream. Austin’s incredible music and eats speak for the unique nature of the city.
Children are not excluded from the festivities of ACL. The Kiddie Corner offers many fun and free alternatives for the younger audience, such as Zumba, lyrics workshops, percussion workshops and an air band competition.
The festival’s music choices have always been innovative, but this year could be an exception to the rule. Many well-seasoned festival veterans argue that this year’s line up-Neil Young and Crazy Horse, The Black Keys, Jack White and Florence + the Machine-is not as extravagant as in years past, as it features the same lineup as many other festivals around the country.
With the rise in the popularity of music festivals across the country, it’s hard to keep ACL’s diversity, but the festival still succeeds in bringing under-the-radar bands and the up-and-coming best thing to a population that takes pride in “keeping Austin weird.”
For the third year in a row, three-day tickets sold out very quickly. Due to the large demand for tickets, this is the last year that ACL will be only one weekend long. The Austin City Council recently approved the extension of ACL, allowing the festival to earn an extra weekend of revenue.
According to a 2012 KXAN news story,Austin City Limits hosted more than 100,000 vistors and generated $106 million. Although this will earn more revenue and present a greater opportunity for those wishing to attend, it also makes the festival less of a unique experience.
The extension doesn’t begin until next year, but it doesn’t change the fact that tickets are still sold out. But don’t be discouraged. Scalpers can be found on every corner for a 10-block radius of the fair grounds.
Even with these changes, the festival is still worth the trip to Austin. Like the festival says on their website, “In what has become a rite of fall in Austin since 2002, ACL has brought music lovers together for three full days of unforgettable music and an unmistakable Austin vibe.”