Every year, Austin City Limits kicks off the Fall season with one of the biggest music festivals around. Over the first two weekends in October, the Austin City Limits 2017 Music Festival takes over Zilker Park to feature more sonic talent from diverse musical genres than you could ever hope to see.
Are you going to ACL this year? Check out Vibedration’s 10 tips to do Austin City Limits the right way.
1. Make a Schedule But Stay Spontaneous
Austin City Limits hosts some of the biggest names in music each year, and with so many acts, it can be easy to lose track of when your favorites are playing. The official ACL website features an interactive schedule so you can plan out your ‘must see’ performances accordingly and start the agonizing decision between seeing Chance the Rapper or the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
At the same time, don’t be a slave to your schedule. There’s so much amazing talent at ACL, and half the magic of the festival is drifting around to see which bands catch your ear. Explore, discover, and stay open minded for best results.
2. Plan on Not Having Phone Service
Attendance at Austin City Limits is usually around 450,000 over two weekends. That means you’re most likely going to have poor or no cell service. It may seem frightening, but really, this is a blessing in disguise. You can focus on enjoying the musical experience and take the day off from your phone.
At the same time, losing cell service can make communication difficult if you get split up from a group or are trying to leave the festival. Designate a meeting spot with your friends if someone gets lost, and make arrangements for a ride ahead of time if you’re getting picked up. If you have a large group, remember that you’re allowed to bring in a totem as long as it’s under twelve feet tall. Just don’t be that guy or girl who ruins everyone’s view with an obstructive totem.
3. Meet Your Favorite Artist
Every year at ACL, Honda and Waterloo Records, a local music store in Austin, team up to host a signing stage where you can meet artists and get merchandise signed. Detailed schedules will be released on Instagram as the festival approaches. Be sure to arrive early if you want to meet big acts!
4. Abandon All Hopes of Parking
Parking is notoriously difficult at Zilker Park during Austin City Limits. Your best bet is to get a ride to a shuttle pickup point and take a bus in or walk/bike from a drop-off point. The festival will have an illuminated bike and walking path as well as plenty of space to lock up your bike. You can also catch a free ride share. More information here.
5. Life's a Party... Stay Hydrated
Don’t let dehydration ruin your weekend at Austin City Limits! Zilker Park is huge, and with eight stages, you’ll be doing your fair share of walking (and of course, dancing!) You’re allowed to bring two sealed water bottles, but why deal with the hassle of carrying around a clunky bottle all day? Hydration packs are convenient, and you can fill them up at the free water stations found around the park.
Vibedration’s designer hydration packs are the best hydration packs for Austin City Limits, no matter what your unique style is. From Coachella Hippie to EDC Trippy, we’ve got you covered. Be sure to check out our Kickoff Collection with exclusive college colors. Our Turnt Orange packs are the perfect way to show your Texas pride at ACL.
6. Snag a Camping Chair
Austin City Limits allows each attendee to bring one camping chair into the festival. There’s a lot of walking involved at ACL. If you plan ahead and buy a lightweight camping chair, your feet will thank you. Especially towards the end of the night when you just want to relax to the sounds of your favorite bands.
7. Avoid Peak Meal Times
The ACL Eats Food Court features some of the best food Austin has to offer. If you go to ACL without trying a Mighty Cone… you’re doing it wrong. What’s a Mighty Cone, you ask? It’s a glorious creation, here’s ACL’s description of the avocado cone: “Chicken tender and avocado in almonds, sesame seeds, chili flakes, corn flakes and seasonings in a tortilla cone with a mango-jalapeno slaw, topped with ancho sauce."
The ACL Eats Food Court has vegetarian and gluten-free options as well, just try to avoid going at peak times (from 11-2 and 6-8) if you want to avoid long lines.
8. Explore Austin’s Culinary Culture
If you’re not an Austin local, you’ll be doing yourself a disservice if you don’t do some culinary exploration outside of the festival. When you go to Austin, there are two things you absolutely have to eat: (breakfast) tacos and barbecue. Barbecue can be an all day event in Austin. People line up in the early morning just to eat at Franklin Barbecue, but you’ll be on the move for ACL, so for a quick Texas BBQ experience, check out Micklethwait.
9. Bring a Bandana and Take Advantage of SWAG
Zilker Park can get pretty dusty with thousands of people walking around and dancing, especially during the second weekend. Consider bringing a bandana that you can don to avoid breathing in dirt. There are also plenty of vendor booths set up around the park, and a lot of them give away free stuff, so be sure to explore and find some rad stuff!
10. Go Around the Crowds
In general, you can usually get closer to a stage by going to the side of the stage that’s opposite the main direction of the foot traffic headed towards it. Same goes for the bathrooms, the ones closest to the crowd always have the longest line.
Now you’re ready to navigate the Austin City Limits Music Festival like a champ. Be sure to tag @Vibedration with any sweet pics of your packs at the Festival!
Until next time, Vibe Tribe out!