Next weekend marks the beginning of the two-weekend-long Austin City Limits festival (ACL). Austin, Texas is nicknamed the live music capital of the world, and it has the festival to match. Inaugurated in 2002, Zilker Park is host to tens of thousands of people per day during its two weekend shows.
Whether you’re already waiting on your wristbands or still contemplating the decision to buy tickets, this guide should answer some common questions.
How to get tickets
ACL tickets went on sale in May. Both weekends are now sold out for weekend-long passes, but Weekend Two one-day tickets are still available. Through ACL’s site, you can buy verified resale tickets if you missed out.
Sophomore Victoria Stringer will be attending Weekend Two this year.
“Tickets are pretty expensive, but considering all the artists you get to see for the amount of money you pay, it’s a pretty good deal. Buying tickets during the early bird sale or basically right before ACL is when they’ll be the cheapest,” Stringer said.
ACL is known for bringing a diverse range of artists to the festival, including lesser-known artists. This year, notable performers will include Childish Gambino, Khalid, Metallica, Paul McCartney, Odesza, Travis Scott and the Arctic Monkeys.
Stringer and Dylan Stansbury, also a sophomore, shared who they were most excited to see this year.
“Childish Gambino! And Brockhampton! And Paul McCartney’s a legend. It’s hard to pick just one,” Stringer said.
“I think I’m most excited to see Odesza or Travis Scott. I’ve never seen Odesza before in concert, but I’ve seen Travis twice and he always puts on a crazy show,” Stansbury said.
Marina Schweitzer, senior, agreed that Travis Scott would light up ACL this year.
“I hadn’t listened to him before his new album, and I’ve really fallen in love [with it], and his stage presence is gonna be really cool,” Schweitzer said.
Students attending ACL this year should decide who they want to see beforehand using the hourly schedule to mitigate conflicting acts.
“I gotta say, it’s a little irritating that they have set times that coincide with Paul McCartney and Metallica,” Stansbury said. “I want to see them as well since they’re rock icons, but I only know a handful of songs from either of them.”
As ACL is such a vibrant and lively festival, it’s possible that you’ll be standing on your feet for long hours a day. Proper hydration and eating are key to thriving at ACL and should never be sacrificed to get to the front row of an audience.
“No. 1 tip: bring a hydration pack! It’s hot, you sweat a lot, and there are free water refills,” Stringer said. “The food is amazing; it’s all local businesses, so everything is really fresh and creative. The only downside is that it’s a little bit expensive, so eat breakfast and maybe an early lunch wherever you’re staying so you don’t have to spend $30 a day on food.”
Transportation & lodging
With ACL taking place at Zilker, it’s important to have a plan on how to get there and how to get out that doesn’t drain your wallet.
“Whatever you do, don’t Uber if you have the luxury of doing so,” Stansbury said. “Uber prices in Austin skyrocket around the time of ACL due to high demand. We’re talking upwards of $40 for a 10 minute ride. Try and arrange to have a friend/family member to transport you to the festival, if possible.”
As for lodging, the key is to plan early.
“If you can stay with a friend in Austin, that’s the best option for lodging, but if not, book your AirBnB or hotel room early because they get more expensive closer to the festival,” Stringer said.
For a festival as massive as ACL, there’s a lot to take in, and the most important thing is to enjoy yourself.
“The best part of the ACL experience is definitely the crowd,” Stansbury said. “There’s a huge spectrum of artists that are coming that span several different genres so you get to experience a huge range of different atmospheres within the entire festival.”
“Everyone there just has such a happy, positive vibe and it’s infectious. Getting to spend time with friends in such a cool place where everyone’s excited and in a great mood is awesome,” Stringer said. “Stay safe, stay hydrated, wear sunscreen and have the best weekend of your life!”