Austin City Limits is nearly just two months away. With one of the most impressive lineups for any festival this year, ACL 2019 is sure to be an unforgettable experience. That being said, like with any major festivals, there are some tips you will want to know about before heading down to Austin.
Whether you are a veteran or a first-timer, check out our list of hot takes to make sure that your ACL 2019 experience is as fantastic as possible.
1. Comfortable Shoes
Everyone wants to make sure they look their best for music festivals, especially for one as “instagrammable” as ACL. While your pictures of you with the Austin skyline in the background might suffer a bit from more utilitarian footwear, you will thank the gods you decided for sneaks over heels.
First things first, the walk up to ACL is long. If you are lucky enough to have a ride from someone who isn't attending, you will most likely be coming from South Lamar Street. The walk from here to the festival grounds is well over a mile. That being said the walk is dotted with restaurants, bars, and food trucks, making it much more bearable.
Once inside the grounds, you will immediately realize that the distance between stages is unbelievable far. With some conflicts bound to crop up, you might have to run in order to make the acts you want to see, and running a half-mile in shoes that aren't broken in or comfortable will be a horrible experience.
2. Get There Early For Undercard Acts
Austin is known as one of the music capitols of the world. For this reason, ACL always does an unbelievable Job booking up and coming talents who will be performing earlier in the day. While the headliners and more well-known artists might attract your attention, no checking out the local talent is a huge mistake most ACL rookies make.
Some of the best talent at the entire festival are acts you have never heard of, and the opportunity to see those who might be headlining stages in just a few years with an intimate crowd at a side stage is one you cannot pass up. So get into the festival early and enjoy the day.
3. Yes Its Technically During Autumn, But Its Texas And It Gets HOT
Being a Texas native, I know this little fun fact more than others. But if you are traveling to Austin for ACL from up north, do not get the seasons twisted – temperatures at ACL have the potential to hit the 90s. For this reason, it is crucial to stay hydrated, wear sunscreen and dress appropriately.
Now, the fun part of Texas weather is that the temperatures can range greatly. While most years the evenings of ACL fall in the 70s, temperatures can drop quickly. It is smart to pack a flannel or light jacket and have it stashed in a backpack or around your waist in case it does get chilly (or windy!) as the sunsets.
4. Plan Transportation Wisely
Austin City Limits attracts nearly 100,000 attendees each weekend. While other festivals such as Coachella and Lolapalooza bring in similar amounts of guests, the population of Austin is significantly less than the metropolitans of the aforementioned festivals. In fact, you might be surprised to learn that Austin's population is only about 800,000. That means during ACL the populations surges by nearly 15%!
This addition population puts stress on the city's transportation network. Therefore, it is important to plan transportation to and from the festival carefully. As with most major festivals, Uber and Lyft pricing hits astronomical levels, so it is best to try and avoid rideshare services. Parking is almost entirely out of the question as well, as businesses on Lamar and Barton Springs Rd can and will tow anyone using their lots for festival parking.
It is best to try and find a ride to Lamar, either crossing the river of being let off down by 6th street. You can easily walk across the Lamar Street bridge, or even find thousands of E-scooter littered on the walk to the festival. One meeting spot that has always worked well for me in the past, was to find a ride and have them drop me off just on the far side of the river right before the bridge starts. A YMCA is a great parking lot to be dropped off at or picked up at. But be warned – they will also tow if you try and park long term.
5. ACL Is A Family Friendly Festival – Bring Blankets, Chairs And More!
ACL is an all-ages event. This means that you will find many families laying out blankets and chairs and relaxing behind the big pits formed around the main stages. This is a great practice if you are not looking to get up close to the stages.
Bring a blanket to lay down in the grass when you get tired and want to rest. Bring foldable chairs and even create a little picnic site to chill out and listen to the music from a distance. If this isn't your style, be conscious of your surroundings when running to different stages. Families and kids will be running around too, so make sure not to step on any fingers or bulldoze any youngsters as you jostle for positioning.