Austin City Limits – Everything is Bigger in Texas, Especially Music Festivals!

 There’s no doubt as to why Austin has been crowned the “music capital of the world.” This city boasts one of the biggest and best local music scenes around, making the Austin City Limits Music Festival a must. With big names like Radiohead, Kendrick Lamar, Major Lazer, The Chainsmokers, and more, ACL is setting the limit for the best music festival of the year.

Between eight stages, 130 bands, and six packed days of nonstop live music, Austin City Limits festival is the place to be for first time attendees or concert veterans. Thanks to popular demand, Austin City Limits has expanded into a two-weekend event. The festival’s opening weekend starts on September 30th and finishes on October 2nd. The second weekend starts on October 7th and finishes on October 9th.


The main stages feature the most popular artists of the year.

Austin City Limits festival does not skimp at all on the big name bands. Artists include electronic favorites The Chainsmokers, Flume, Flight Facilities, and many more. For the hip-hop lovers, artists like Kendrick Lamar, School Boy Q, and LL Cool J are among the rappers to be featured. True to Austin’s indie music loving reputation, Austin City Limits festival features a slew of indie bands ranging from HAIM, Cage the Elephant, City and Colour, Mumford and Sons and many, many more.

For those that are die-hard Austin City Limit lovers, hopefully you bought tickets in the early bird season; the first weekend has already sold out of 3-Day General Admission passes! There is good news for those without tickets—the second weekend is still available with 3-Day-General Admission tickets for $255. Regular 1-Day-General Admission passes for $100 will be available for purchase soon.

Small Stages, Local Bands and Late Night Shows
Glancing through Austin City Limits’ list of bands may give you the idea that the festival only features big name bands. However, as well as featuring popular musicians, ACL has an incredible lineup of new, smaller bands that are quickly gaining traction in the underground music world.

In addition to discovering new talent, hearing smaller bands at Austin City Limits allows for a more personal experience. At these smaller stages, there are less people in the crowd, more areas for dancing, and better chances to get to know the artists in person.                  

If you are worried about going to Austin City Limits and not knowing any of the bands playing—don’t worry! Before you head out to ACL festival, make sure you listen to a few tracks of the performing artists and maybe even have a few new favorites to check out on the festival days.

The late night shows at Austin City Limits are something of a hidden gem. Big named artists and smaller bands all have late night shows in some of the best local venues Austin has to offer. These shows are small, intimate, and one of Austin’s biggest treats.

When it Comes to Heat—Don’t Mess With Texas
It is true what they say about how hot Texas is! Do not make the mistake of being underprepared for the weather at Austin City Limits. Dress for hot and humid weather; bring a hat and sunblock for the sun.

Dehydration does happen often at festivals—especially in Texas. Weeks before Austin City Limits, it is important to make sure you are hydrating yourself well to prepare for the festival. During the festival, definitely take a water bottle with you, preferably a reusable one. Along with a water bottle, festival fans often swear by water packs in order to stay happy and hydrated. In order to make the most of the water, keep the alcohol and caffeine beverages to a minimum.

What to Wear in Austin
Austin City Limits sees several quirky fashion choices. Whatever your inclination is towards fashion, it is a great idea to keep your surroundings in mind as you prepare! Suggestions for clothing include light, airy fabric, avoiding dark colors, visors and headwear to block the sun, sunglasses, and a watch to keep track of the time.
Festival Fare

As well as being the music capital, Austin is known for its diverse and creative food.
Austin City Limits brings all the city’s best cuisines under one roof. Fare offered at the festival features some of the city’s famous tacos, barbecue, hamburgers and other favorites. Many concertgoers eat at least one of their meals inside Austin City Limits—make sure you do the same!

Keep Austin Weird!
Austin is a city with its own unique quirks, artsy hangouts, and weird landmarks that are just waiting to be explored. While you’re in town for Austin City Limits, make it a point to explore the rest of the city.

When exploring the neighborhoods around Austin City Limits, you’re going to want to make it a point to go on the Austin Duck Tour, travel to the historic venue Austin City Limits, take a dip in the Barton Springs Pool, and view the Bats of the Congress Avenue Bridge. In addition to these tourist sites, you will want to visit Austin’s best bars, dance venues and iconic restaurants.

Festival Safety First
While having fun at Austin City Limits, it is always necessary to stay on top of your surroundings. Have a buddy system wherever you go and have a plan in case someone gets injured, lost, or has an emergency. Determine a meeting place and meeting time with your group of friends in order for everyone to be able to find each other in case cell phones die or lose signal. Always keep identification, money, and a phone charger with you, in case of an emergency.

In addition to staying safe at Austin City Limits, it is important to keep track of the scheduling changes at the festival. ACL has a phone app that updates immediately with any new information. Having the phone app will keep you aware if any bands drop out, shows get cancelled, and the other unforeseen circumstances. Festival apps also have a handy map with all the amenities and band information enclosed.

Prohibited Items
When thinking of festival safety, it is important to note what NOT to bring to Austin City Limits. When attending the festival, do not bring professional recording equipment, professional cameras or video equipment, drones or flying devices, coolers, camping equipment, non-collapsible chairs, hammocks, glass containers, framed backpacks, outside food or drink, unlicensed pets, cigarettes, illegal substances, selfie sticks, vehicles apart from ADA approved items, weapons and/or explosives, amongst other things.

Austin City Limits does allow empty reusable water bottles, two factory sealed water bottles, standard backpacks, baby strollers, sheets, towels, blankets, purses, non professional cameras, hand-held umbrellas, portable phone chargers, and flags, totems and rage sticks are among the accepted festival items.

Do Your Part to Better the Festival
Festival patrons that would like to actually BE apart of the experience can volunteer with one of Austin City Limits’ Festival community partners. The Love Strength Hope Foundation is looking for volunteers for the 2016 ACL festival to spread their message about improving the quality of life for many people by recruiting potential bone marrow donors. Additionally, volunteers will also help out in information booths, refilling water bottles, promoting the Rock & Recycle Program, amongst other helpful activities. Those interested can apply to become an ambassador with the Foundation.
When it comes to creating a better environment for the Austin City Limits Music Festival, guests are encouraged to promote environmentally friendly lifestyles. Fans are expected to take good care of the fairground of Zilker Park, make sustainable choices, use reusable water bottles, amongst other sustainable acts. To encourage this sustainable lifestyle, “Don’t Mess with Texas” trashcans will be featured throughout the festival.

Hate Carrying Cash? Go Cashless

It pays to go cashless at ACL.

It pays to go cashless at ACL.

Going cashless at Austin City Limits makes life easier for everyone. In order to go cashless, festival ticket must be activated by an ID, linked to a credit card, and set with an original PIN number. When purchasing at the festival, all you have to do is tap your wristband to buy any item. Once the PIN is entered, the transaction will go through. When you go cashless, you don’t have to worry about your money being stolen or lost. However, it should be noted that Art Market Vendors will only accept cash or credit cards.

Accommodations and Travel Details
Though the city residents flock to Austin for the festival, many people travel into the city when coming to Austin City Limits. For festival goers that are traveling, Austin City Limits has partnered with several hotels, hostels, and motels to accommodate you.

Booking through the Austin City Limit’s website will get you cheaper rates while donating a portion of sales to Kids in A New Groove. The Hostelling International agency features hostels in Austin that are in walking distance of the festival. Additionally, attendees can use HomeAway to rent vacation homes for the perfect festival vacation.

So whether you are a Texas native or coming from states away, Austin City Limits Music Festival is definitely worth traveling to!

Visit information about festivals section to explore a full list of festivals happening around the world yearly!