If SXSW is for tourists, then Austin City Limits Music Festival is for locals. For two weekends a year, Zilker Park transforms from an oasis of laid-back leisure into a celebration of music from around the world. From chart-toppers, to indie darlings, to oldies looking for one last chance in the spotlight, ACL Fest attracts artists like chips to queso.
But what about our hometown heroes? As headliners like Radiohead, Mumford & Sons and LCD Soundsystem grab the marquee, local talent tends to get lost in the schedule, swallowed by acts with deeper pockets and wider reach.
But no more! There’s plenty of local to love at this year’s festival, so we’ve compiled a list of every ATX artist playing over ACL Fest’s two long weekends, and the times to check them out. Listen local!
NOTE: Check out our Spotify playlist for a track from every band in this article.
Friday – Sept. 30
Bayonne – Wrapping dreamy, spacey electronica around tightly-wound backbeats, Bayonne’s soundscape feels like the soundtrack to your favorite moments. Big, enveloping and inspiring, Bayonne’s morning ACL set will bring good vibes and energy to the festival’s opening.
Bayonne is playing at 11:30 a.m. on the Miller Lite Stage.
Recommended Track: “Spectrolite”
Asleep at the Wheel – Local legends in the Texas country scene, Asleep at the Wheel needs little introduction. Clever lyrics with a storyteller’s twang, they bring a down-home honky tonk vibe to every performance. Boots, belt buckles and ten-gallon hats not required. Just encouraged.
Asleep at the Wheel is playing at 12:15 p.m. on the Honda Stage.
Recommended Track: “Miles and Miles of Texas”
Los Coast – Mixing blues, funk and soul with a psychedelic twist, these ATX originals are as varied as they are multi-talented. Their latest single, “Simplify,” would sound at home on a Bill Wither’s protest record. Impassioned vocals mix with funky guitar and scorching horn lines.
Los Coast is playing at 12:15 p.m. on the Honda Stage
Recommended Track: “Simplify” (on our Spotify playlist)
Gina Chavez – Much has been written on this site about the Leading Lady of Latin Austin, and all for good reason. Her body-shaking blend of samba, soul and cumbia will keep early festival goers dancing on the lawn. And if you’re not moving during the toe-tapping “Siete-D,” then something is seriously wrong.
Gina Chavez is playing at 4:45 p.m. on the Tito’s Stage.
Recommended Tracks: “Fire Water,” “Siete-D”
Saturday – Oct. 1
Israel Nash – Another jewel for the early festival goer, this Dripping Springs resident creates a lush sound via layered harmonies, steel guitars and introspective lyrics. Tracks like “Rain Plains” are full of trippy imagery, while tunes like “Woman at the Well” start simple and blossom into sonic umbrellas. A fantastic way to start your Saturday.
Israel Nash is playing at 12 p.m. on the Miller Lite Stage.
Recommended Track: “LA Lately,” “Rain Plains”
Matt the Electrician – Once an actual electrician, now a well-respected songwriter, Matt the Electrician’s guitar style is simple, straight-forward and strikingly touching. A mix of playful plucking and tender lyrics, Matt will make the park feel like a small, intimate venue. Plus his version of “Jesse’s Girl” is incredible.
Matt the Electrician is playing at 12:45 p.m. on the Tito’s Stage.
Recommended Track: “The Bear”
Sunday – Oct. 2
Shane Smith and the Saints – These days, bluegrass bands are commonplace, but Shane Smith and the Saints stand apart by going back to the basics. Scorching fiddle, jumping guitar leads and railroad rhythm provide the backbone for their sound to blossom into a foot-stomping cascade of down home goodness. Wear good shoes. Your feet will be going non-stop!
Shane Smith and the Saints are playing at 11:30 a.m. on the Miller Lite Stage.
Recommended Track: “Dance the Night Away”
Jai Malano – It wouldn’t be ACL without a local blues act, and Jai Malano represents the style beautifully. With earthy, powerful vocals backed by a sumptuous groove, Malano delivers her music with authority. One of the bigger voices you’ll hear on the ACL stage, Malano is a must-listen for fans of blues, soul, and old school rock & roll.
Jai Malano is playing at 12:15 p.m. on the Tito’s Stage
Recommended Track: “Johnny Knows”
Wild Child – If you’ve been involved in Austin’s music scene for more than five minutes, you know the name Wild Child. Winners of numerous “Best Band in Austin” awards, Wild Child’s brand of folky indie pop is infectious and undeniably fun.
Wild Child is playing at 1 p.m. on the HomeAway Stage.
Recommended Track: “Fools”
Friday, Oct. 7
The Stapletones – Austin City Limits Music Festival isn’t all rock, bluegrass and indie. There’s a little gospel in the water as well. While not professional musicians by any stretch, this local super group of Austin church voices will deliver an uplifting beginning to Weekend Two.
The Stapletones are playing at 11:15 a.m. on the Tito’s Stage.
Keeper – Combining sultry harmonies with 80’s style pop production, Keeper feels like a mix between New Order synth and Beyonce swagger. By wrapping luscious melodies around ever-shifting electro backbeats, these ladies will turn up the heat during ACL’s already steamy afternoon.
Keeper is playing at 11:30 a.m. on the Miller Lite Stage.
Recommended Track: “Next to Me”
Lincoln Durham – The first time I heard Lincoln, he was playing a Black Fret event at the Paramount. Surrounded by guitars, kick drums and anything that could make noise, he blew the fabric off the plush theater seats. Gravelly-voiced Southern rock sung from the depths, Lincoln Durham’s sound is what the Sons of Anarchy would listen to as they cruise the open road. Maybe at this year’s ACL set, he’ll bust out his single-stringed electric guitar made out of a cigar box. Seriously, that is a thing.
Lincoln Durham is playing at 12:15 p.m. on the Tito’s Stage.
Recommended Track: “Creeper”
Saturday, Oct. 8
Walker Lukens & the Side Arms – Like Gina Chavez, many a word has been written by yours truly about the wonderful Walker Lukens. A multi-talented songsmith, his blend of soul, rock and funk stomps along like tap-dancing elephants. Delicate, yet heavy, and full of irresistible groove. The first few notes of “Every Night” still rocks me hard after dozens of listens.
Walker Lukens is playing at 12 p.m. on the Miller Lite Stage.
Recommended Track: “Every Night”
Shawn Pander – Just when it seems like anybody can walk up to an acoustic guitar and start playing, in walks Shawn Pander. Penning carefully-crafted folk tunes with a pop/rock bent, Shawn creates a sound that’s at home with the greats of the genre. Familiar and something completely new at the same time.
Shawn Pander is playing at 12:45 p.m. on the Tito’s Stage.
Recommended Tracks: “What a Beautiful Life,” “Own Private World”
Sunday, Oct. 9
Magna Carda – With all the buzz swirling around Kendrick Lamar, Schoolboy Q and LL Cool J, true hip hop heads will be arriving early to check out Magna Carda. Lead by MC Megz Kelli’s easy-going yet razor sharp flow, these ATX upstarts are making a name for themselves in the local scene. Think Riders Against the Storm social consciousness with instrumentation a la The Roots. Your head should already be bobbing.
Magna Carda is playing at 11:30 a.m. on the Miller Lite Stage.
Recommended Tracks: “The Root,” “Inviting You”
Charlie Belle –Let’s just say that if my SXSW Top 15 list extended to 16, Charlie Belle would’ve been on it. This phenomenally talented brother/sister duo crafts tightly-wound pop tunes with an R&B flair. Despite both of them being under legal drinking age, the craftsmanship they display in each song is undeniable. Catchy, uplifting and full of youthful abandon, Charlie Belle is more than worth arriving at Zilker early.
Charlie Belle is playing at 12:15 p.m. on the Tito’s Stage.
Recommended Track: “Shake You Off,” “Get to Know”
All Week – Austin Kiddie Limits
And you thought Austin City Limits Music Festival was just for adults? This year, there’s an entire section dedicated to the little ones, and some of Austin’s finest kid-friendly performers are making appearances. Be it marimba music with Kupira Marima or vocal virtuoso Nakia singing with the Barton Hills Choir, there’s a ton to love and listen to in the kiddie section.
@BillTuckerTSP wants to know:
Who will you be rushing the stage to see at Austin City Limits Music Festival?