And just like that, it’s over. Three days of drastic weather changes, massive crowds, and fantastic music are officially in the books. To aid in the recovery from a wild Weekend Two, here’s our yearly photo retrospective of Austin City Limits Music Festival 2019.
With the weather more Trail of Lights than ACL Fest, Friday’s blustery temperatures kept performers bundled up and festival-goers huddled together for warmth. But the historic low temperatures did nothing to damper the fun.
Pike and Sutton kicked the day off with a blood-stirring set of old classics and brand new tunes. From the varied percussion and spot-on guitar playing to Patrice Pike’s overpowering vocal energy, the duo was exactly the warm up everyone needed.
At the same time, Jane Ellen Bryant wowed the Tito’s Stage crowd with her unique blend of country charm and pop hook bounce.
As the afternoon wore on, the brisk chill in the air dulled. Blistering rock and roll from Austin garage rock duo Black Pistol Fire singed the Miller Lite stage with explosive guitar licks and thunderous drums. An exhilarating performance that saw front man Kevin McKeown jump, shake, and stage dive for an incredible 45-minute set.
As evening fell, the temperatures stabilized and the crowd settled into watching sports, drinks with friends, and checking out a series of incredible after dark performances.
With improving temperatures but no sun in sight, Zilker Park traded blistering heat for–dare I say it–fall weather. While nobody worked on a tan, enjoying a day of music in relative comfort was a refreshing change of pace.
But this is Austin, and when UT is playing, life goes on pause. And when the game is the Red River Showdown, then everything really goes to the back burner. Luckily, ACL Fest had the game on a giant screen, playing to a packed house. Sadly, the good guys didn’t win, but Longhorn spirit was in full swing.
While the Longhorns battled the Sooners, Austin hip hop was well represented. First on the bill was the one-two punch of Blackillac. The dynamic duo of ZEALE and PHRANCHYZE tore up the VRBO stage, spitting rhymes and freestyles to a hyped crowd.
After Blackillac, another Austin MC took the Tito’s stage in dominant fashion. Abhi the Nomad delivered a buoyant, high-energy performance that showcased his musical range. By mixing clever rhymes and production dripping with pop punch and old-school hip hop drive, Abhi turned the covered stage into a dance session.
As we prepared for Gary Clark Jr at 6 p.m. on the giant AMEX stage, there was no shortage of fun, smiles, and good vibes from the fans in attendance. ACL Fest is just as much the people as it is the music, and this year was no exception.
And then there was Gary Clark Jr. Playing the largest stage at the festival, our hometown hero showed why he’s become the biggest Austin music act since Spoon.
During his incredible hour-long set, Gary Clark Jr played old classics, new bangers, and invited fellow Austinites Blackillac and The Peterson Brothers on stage for a couple of songs. An incredible moment for old and new school fans alike.
After having my mind blown by Gary Clark Jr, it was time to settle into the evening and take in everything ACL Fest had to offer. For me, the night was capped with a surreal set by The Cure surrounded by an eclectic crowd of local music lovers all there to have a good time.
The final day of ACL Music Festival 2019 brought great music and the first warm weather of the entire weekend. We even saw a ray of sunshine peek through the cloud cover. With this sudden brightening, the festival ended with an explosion of positive vibes from the out of town acts, while the locals started the day off with fun and all inclusive beauty.
Starting Sunday Funday off right, Austin’s reigning pop princess Kady Rain took the VRBO stage with the authority of a national act. Backed by an incredible band and colorful cadre of dancers, Kady Rain ignited the day with her special brand of feel good pop.
Austin’s own Ley Line followed Kady Rain’s summer-soaked pop set with a serene set of world rhythms, multilingual lyrics, and awe-inspiring four-part harmonies.
A musical moment I desperately needed, Ley Line’s 45-minute set on the Tito’s stage was the rejuvenating elixir I needed to push me to the ACL Fest finish line.
Once the locals were finished representing, it was time for ACL Fest 2019 to showcase its best and brightest. As the sun peeked out from the clouds, Lizzo dominated the tiny stage she was scheduled on and the festival ended with an impressive bang.
Witnessing a sea of 40,000 cell phone lights blanket Zilker Park while Lizzo performed will stick with me forever, as will the work of our local heroes. From guitar rock bombast to bubble gum pop and everything in between, Austin City Limits Music Festival 2019 was one for the record books. Looking forward to what this landmark festival brings us in 2020.
@BillTuckerTSP wants to know:
What was your favorite ACL Fest 2019 memory or moment?