Austin City Limits in Review
What is it?
Austin City Limits (ACL) was originally a television music program recorded live. This show was instrumental (get it?) in making Austin the “Live Music Capital of the World”.
The ACL Music Festival is an extension of that show. The annual music festival is held on two consecutive three-day weekends. It is produced by C3 Presents, who also produce Lollapalooza.
Almost all of the performers play over both weekends. This allows the park to hold over 75,000 people per day over the 6 days(2017).
I had already been to a few other music festivals but this was Samantha’s first experience. Many of the headliners were not ‘must-sees’ for us but getting the full experience of ACL was. So we booked our 3-day tickets for the second weekend. Each ticket cost us $255. Which in my experience is about average for a festival of this size.
We had a few friends tag along on Friday and Saturday, then on Sunday we were all to ourselves(you know, besides the 74,998 other strangers in the park). Surprisingly, despite forecasts, it did not rain on us at all over the 3 days. With the constant rain we have had however, the humidity was at an all time high. This caused the 80 degree days to feel like a sauna that you were sharing with 74,998 people. By Sunday, we spent most of the day in the only slightly cooler shade of the trees.
In my opinion, one of the most important things to get right is the restroom situation at events like this. Even though the stalls were nice and clean, ACL could have done a better job with line regulation. It doesn’t make sense to have 40 lines with each line waiting for two stalls.
Besides that, I believe ACL was extremely well organized and it was executed to perfection. We had an unbelievable time.
I’ve listed some of my favorite performances. Take a listen and let me know your thoughts!
Best Dance Set: Odesza
The first time I saw Odesza was in the Colorado Rocky Mountains during a festival called Vertex. I still remember the feeling that rushed through my body when I heard the first song they played with the CU drum line.
We made sure to get there early so we could get a good place in the huge crowd that stuffed in close to the stage. They did not disappoint. If you have ever seen Odesza live, you understand the lengths that they go through to ensure that everyone is blown away. Full of fireworks and light production that make your head spin. For an hour, it feels like you are on a totally different planet. Below is one of my favorites, ‘Line Of Sight’. Check it out!
Best Stage Presence: Bahamas
I don’t know if I like soft rock as much as the guy that sat in front of us with the pony tail and the fedora, but I definitely get down with it. Bahamas is a Canadian group led by Afie Jurvanen who has one of the best stage presences I’ve ever seen. He had us cracking up the entire time. It also helped that we were light on our feet from the smooth and silky jams that he was playing. Check out one song that they performed really well. It’s called ‘All The Time’
Best Vocals: Khalid
This was the first artist we saw on Friday and he did not disappoint. You know someone is talented when you can close your eyes and it sounds like you’re listening to the radio. Check out him doing a live taping for NPR!
I’ve seen Shakey Graves a few times and it’s always been spectacular. His unconventional approach to performing on stage leaves you on the edge of your seat through the entire performance. Funny, talented, and always trying something new. Oh, and he makes good music too. Take a look at the Austin-bred talent in this live recording!