Two weekends, 130 bands, eight stages. Austin City Limits Festival is the official end-of-summer party. Accordingly, festival-goers can expect lots of day drinking, dancing, and picturesque sunset moments with 70,000
strangers close friends.
Nothing brings people together (or sets the stage) for a good story quite like live music and local booze. To celebrate the return of the festival for another year, here are 10 quotes from Austin locals that perfectly explain why ACL is the best music festival ever.
1/ Alexia Zamora–Publicist, Breakaway PR
“The memory that sticks out to me was when I got front row for Sam Smith’s performance in 2014. I volunteer for ACL (almost) every year and couldn’t believe I got to hear all of Sam Smith’s radio hits so close up. Everyone was moved by his voice, so much so that a group of teens in front of me were even crying. It was such a surreal experience because it made me truly appreciate how special Austin’s live music scene is!”
2/ Bill Tucker–Lead Blogger, The Austinot
“During ACL last year, local Euro-funk band CAPYAC played on the Tito’s stage at noon. The Tito’s stage is an early afternoon haven. Covered and close to ACL Eats, it’s where those in the know eat lunch picnic-style. Luckily for those with empty pockets, free food was coming.
“For the entirety of CAPYAC’s surreal 45-minute set, amongst shrub blessings, deep knee bends and disco/funk that Daft Punk would appreciate, a young woman made pancakes for everyone from the front of the stage. And that’s all she did. Groove behind the griddle, make pancakes, and toss them to the audience.
“Why did the band burn a roster spot on its lineup for a batter-toting chef with a penchant for local funk? I’ll never know. But it did make for a deliciously bizarre beginning to a day of incredible music.”
➡️ Keep reading: 20 Things I learned During Weekend 1 of ACL Festival
3-5/ Christian, Hunter, and Sam–Local Musicians, Christian Sparks and The Beatnik Bandits
“I bought a ticket on the street one time for $150. During the festival, I saw people jumping the fence to get in.”
-Christian Sparks, lead singer
“A homeless man came up to me after the festival and sold me a sweatshirt for $10. It wasn’t even cold out.”
-Hunter Lenington, drums
“It’s really hot, really packed, and really fun.”
-Sam Lathrop, guitar
6/ Matt McGinnis–Marketing Agency President, Pen & Tell Us
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“I was managing public relations for Austin City Limits Music Festival a while back and hosted a press conference in the media area with various bands. One afternoon while I was on the stage in the media area, getting ready to introduce the bands for a press Q&A, Kyle McDonald from the band Slightly Stoopid jumped on stage and stuck a lit joint in my mouth, and shoved a bottle of Tito’s vodka into my hand and yelled, ‘Let’s get f****d up!’
“I politely handed the weed back to him, to his disappointment, but took a deep tug off of the vodka bottle to ameliorate his discontent. The Q&A went off with an extra level of levity.”
7/ Courtney Bianchi-Chapa–Publicist, LookThinkMake
“Last year, I found out that there are two ways to experience ACL: general admission and VIP. After three years of rocking a general admission ticket and loving the experience of bringing a blanket, finding a shaded spot, posting up for most of the day hanging with my husband, waving to friends, and listening to so much good music, I lucked into a backstage pass.
“Hot dang, y’all! Beyond the gate, I found a magical place with air-conditioned bathrooms, unlimited amounts of Chameleon Cold Brew, waters, and cocktails while being 30 feet from HAIM. It will be hard to experience ACL the same again. Even after they stepped up their porta-potty game by adding flushable toilets! Thank you, ACL!”
8/ Julian Acosta–Musician, Julian Acosta Music
“I was in the guest lounge during ACL weekend, and ended up rolling dice with beautiful strangers. I made about 100 dollars after an affluent man said, ‘Who’s bank rollin’ this outfit?’ Probably one of the most fun moments in my festival life.
“Fast forward to Sunday Funday. It’s 7 a.m. and a buddy and I looked at each other and said, ‘Let’s travel!’ I woke up the next day in Denver on a plane bound to Chicago. I went with no clothes, just the vibe.”
9/ Jesse Stowell–Publicist, Parker Phoenix Public Relations
“I went to an after-party at Nickel City for some band (whose name I can’t remember). I tried to flirt with some guy and finally pulled the NYC, ‘So what do you do?’ Turns out he was in the band whose after-party it was. Whoops!”
10/ Janice Bond–Director of Music & Social Programming, Geraldine’s
“Whenever there is a convergence of local talent, international performers, and creatives, and a city like Austin, there is naturally a ‘hive’ of excitement, curiosity, spontaneity, and even a bit of magic. There’s something about ACL that for all of the production and big names, it still feels homegrown. It is forever ATX and I love it.”
@dollarsaenz86 wants to know:
What’s your best ACL Fest story?