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On Scene: Austin City Limits Music Festival

Written by Kelly Weimert on Wednesday, October 2nd, 2019 at 11:05am.

Source: dancingastronaut.com

Founded in 2002, Austin City Limits (ACL) is an annual music festival in Austin, Texas, that draws droves of people (about 450,000) from all over the country for its seemingly endless lineup of huge bands and musicians.

Each year, the festival takes place in Zilker Park on two consecutive three-day weekends, with each day featuring concerts from 10 a.m.-10 p.m. The concerts run the gamut of genres, from folk and country to rock, hip hop, and indie, so you’ll find all kinds of people enjoying what the festival has to offer. 

Austin City Limits Music Festival
Source: aclfestival.com

Speaking of what ACL has to offer, in addition to some of the best musical acts in the world, it features a variety of tents offering unique experiences. For instance, you can attend a silent disco, charge your phone and meet new people at the Bumble pop-up installation, or enjoy a refreshing frose from the Campo Viejo Wine Lounge. There are also free phone-charging stations throughout the event and free filtered water stations from Camelbak. 

Additionally, ACL offers Austin Kiddie Limits so that your littles can get in on the action. There’s a special family-friendly entrance to avoid the sometimes-belligerent crowds and creative activities for kids in addition to essentials like baby-changing stations. And the best part? Kids under 10 get in totally free. 

Austin City Limits Music Festival Food
Source: aclfestival.com

And because no festival is complete without delicious grub, ACL offers plenty of that. You can get down on killer barbecue from local Austin favorite Salt Lick BBQ, nosh on empanadas from MMMPanadas, or cool off with a snow cone from Sno-Beach (don’t let the fall season fool you; it’s still hot in Texas). And that’s just the tip of the culinary iceberg. Plus, the website breaks down the huge variety of vegan and vegetarian options available at the festival so you can ensure all of your dietary needs and preferences are met. 

Austin City Limits Festival Lineup
Source: aclfestival.com

While the food and activities alone make ACL worth the trip, what people really come for is the musical lineup. And this year it’s nothing short of huge. Just some of the headliners hitting the eight different stages the festival features include Cardi B, Childish Gambino, Mumford & Sons, The Cure, and Billie Eilish. You can also check out shows by the likes of Kacey Musgraves, Lizzo, James Blake, and 21 Savage. With over 130 bands, this festival truly has something for everyone. 

That being said, if you’re interested in seeing some of the bigger-name bands and musicians, you’ll want to head to their stage well in advance of the set time so you can snag a good spot. There are no assigned seats; everyone enjoys the shows from the lawn on a first-come, first-served basis, so if you don’t get to the right stage at least an hour before big headliners are set to play, you’ll likely be way in the back. 

Austin City Limits Music Festival Lawn
Source: aclfestival.com

This year, the festival takes place on October 4-6 and 11-13. And what’s great about ACL’s Zilker Park location is that it’s just a stone’s throw from downtown, so it’s easy to hop on a pedicab or take an Uber to boundless bars and restaurants once you’re done at the festival. 

The ACL website offers all the information you’ll need to maximize your time at the festival, including detailed show schedules, ticket prices, a Zilker Park map, and recommendations for where to stay. And be sure to follow @aclfest for all the up-to-date festival news.

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Check out the Local section on our blog, Noted. to read more from our curated list of things to do, cities to see, and places to go.

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