The end of summer in Austin means two things are about to go down, the sweltering heat of the summer and the best music festival in Texas, Austin City Limits. Starting in 2002, ACL is a musical extravaganza that spans over two weekends. For those who don't know, this music festival is known for showcasing artists of all genres for many different generations of music fans. Being that ACL is a huge event spanning across multiple days, there are some things you might want to know before attending. We have compiled a list of everything you need to know before going to ACL so you can start enjoying a weekend full of music. ACL covers two weekends, starting October 4. ACL Weekend One runs October 4-6 and ACL Weekend Two runs October 11-13.
As previously mentioned, the festival takes place over two weekends October 4th- 6th and the 11th-13th. The lineup of both weekends is essentially the same, with a few exceptions (the lineup specifies which artists will only be there one weekend). Wristbands can be found on the ACL website and vary in price depending on how many days you want to attend. Find the weekend that works best with your schedule and grab your wristband before they sell out.
The festival hours for both weekends are Friday 12 PM-10 PM and 11 AM- 10 PM Saturday and Sunday. However, we would recommend getting there anywhere from 30 min to an hour early. Give yourself time to park and get through the check-in line (especially if you are bringing a bag).
Pro tip: if you don't want to be at the festival all day get there before 3:30 PM, so you don't spend most of your ACL experience in the line.
Just like anywhere in Austin, parking for ACL can be tricky if you don't go into it without a parking spot in mind. Being that there is no parking in the park, taking the designated shuttle is easily the best option. The ACL shuttle picks up at republic square at 4th and Guadalupe in the heart of downtown. Simply park your car at one of the nearby parking garages and have the shuttle drop you off right by the festival grounds. If shuttles aren't your thing, you may consider using a rideshare option. However, be warned that rideshare prices tend to fluctuate heavily when ACL is going on.
When attending any type of festival, a good rule of thumb is to travel as light as possible. One thing you can leave at home on your journey to ACL is your cash. At ACL you can link your wristband to your credit card and pay for just about anything with a simple scan of your bracelet. Skip the time it takes to pull out exact change and pay for anything you may need with the flick of your wrist.
The VIP Experience
Like many music festivals, ACL offers a VIP area that makes your festival-going experience even more luxurious. The VIP treatment at ACL offers exclusive lounges, delicious local food, private bars, air-conditioned restrooms, and even mini spa treatments. Experience ACL in the most luxurious way possible with the VIP treatment.
Late-night ACL shows
Unable to score a wristband or just want a more intimate show with your favorite artist? No need to worry, because ACL offers a late-night concert series that is spread across multiple local venues that showcase many of the artists playing at the festival. Music venues such as Stubb's Austin, Emo's, Mohawk Austin and Historic Scoot Inn will be taking part in the showcase. Don't miss your favorite artist, pick up a ticket to a late-night show today!
ACL for Kids
Who said ACL is just for adults? The festival has a designated area of the park exclusively for kids known as Austin Kiddie Limits. This area of the park is a place for children and parents to listen to music and make crafts. Since children 10 and under are admitted to the festival for free, you won't have to find a babysitter for this big weekend out.
In short, ACL fest is a great time, in fact, its something that most Austinites look forward to year-round. However it can be a little overwhelming at times if you don't know what all to expect, but with the provided tips plus a little careful planning, it will be a stress-free, music-filled, great time!
Cover photo from ACL Facebook page