Austin City Limits 2019 started out with a phenomenal Weekend One. The record-breaking heat did not discourage music lovers from making their way to Zilker Park to take in the sights and sounds of the 18th annual ACL.
The lineup for the whole weekend was stacked. There was a little something for everyone; Classic Rock, Hip-Hop, Blues, Indie, Latin and everything in-between. Everywhere you turned you could see people dancing and singing along and having an exceptional time.
Day one at any festival is the time to get to know your surroundings. Find where all the stages are located, where the bathrooms are and plan for the rest of your weekend. One of the standout artists on Friday was headliner Guns N’ Roses. They performed for an unbelievable two and a half hours. Slash is always outstanding and Axl was singing his heart out and brought out hits like “Patience”, “Paradise City”, and “Live and Let Die”.
Tame Impala also had the crowd mesmerized on day one at the Honda Stage. The area was packed when they started to perform. The band brought out the lasers for “Elephant” and had the crowd singing along and on their feet. When “The Less I Know the Better” started people were running towards the stage to get closer and catch a glimpse of them performing this hit.
Saturday was another scorcher in Austin. We took the shuttles to the festival and they were super-fast and convenient. I would recommend using this method of transportation for weekend two. Getting in and out of downtown was a breeze and having the free shuttles were an amazing bonus.
Once we entered the festival, we made our plans for who was on the list for the day. We also came across a few surprises along the way. We caught the end of the Hippie Sabotage set and they had the fans at the Miller Lite stage on fire and in a frenzy. I was excited to catch their set since we had an interview scheduled later in the day. We then made our way to the Beer Garden for some delicious craft beverages. The Beer Garden had their own party going on with the University of Texas game on the big screen. Football fans were getting a break from the heat and being able to watch the home team win was extra special.
Gary Clark Jr. was at the top of our list for the Saturday performances. We picked a spot towards the back of the lawn and laid down our blanket to take in the amazing set by this hometown hero. Clark Jr. played one of his most well-known tracks “Bright Lights” towards the beginning of his set. He also played “This Land” off his new album of the same name which came out earlier this year. Clark Jr. is a master on the guitar and had fans dancing throughout his set and having an outstanding time. He closed out his performance with the sun setting over Austin and with The Beatles classic “Come Together”.
Saturday headliner The Cure brought the night to a close with a packed crowd at the Honda Stage. They are celebrating the 30th Anniversary of the “Disintegration” album and played several tracks off the release like “Pictures of You”, “Fascination Street”, and “Love Song”.
The festival rounded out with an incredible lineup for day three. The fan-favorite of the day would have to be Cardi B. Since she was only performing for the first weekend of the fest this was the act to see. She is fresh off the heels of the “South of the Border” video release with Ed Sheeran and Camila Cabello. This video has already racked up eight million views on YouTube. Her performances are always over the top and fans couldn’t wait to see what she had in store for ACL.
Other notable artists for the final day were Fisher, Mumford & Sons, and Lizzo. Everyone was dying to see Lizzo at ACL. Her 2019 album “Cuz I Love You” debuted number six on the Billboard charts and she is selling out shows all over the U.S.
What always amazes me about this festival is the number of families you see. Parents exposing their kids and instilling the love of music in them from an early age is awesome. The event caters to families with a special family-friendly stage “Austin Kiddie Limits”. This area provides a break from the crowds with activities for kids, areas to hang out in the shade and opportunities for kid-friendly sing-alongs. You even have a chance to register your child for an RFID wristband. This wristband would assist in getting reunited with your child in case you got separated from them.
The last time I attended ACL was four years ago and I was excited to see how much the festival has grown. One thing that I was way more delighted about then I should have been was the flushable port-o-potties. Why haven’t I’ve seen these at more festivals?! They are way cleaner than the usual kind and, in my opinion, should be the standard. There was a large crowd of about 75,000 attendees throughout the weekend and everyone was super friendly and kept the vibes high during the entirety of the event.
Austin is a green city and you could tell everywhere you turned during the weekend. The Austin Parks Foundation is a presenting sponsor of ACL Fest’s signature greening program Rock & Recycle and Divert it. This program invites attendees to pick up a bag of recyclables from the grounds in exchange for a specially designed ACL Fest line-up t-shirt. During ACL 2018 this program helped divert 34% of waste from the landfill.
My takeaways from the fest were super positive. The staff and volunteers were extremely helpful from the shuttle service to box office staff to the people on the ground making sure the crowds were under control. Even though it was a hot weekend in Texas, all the fans were in an awesome mood and just there to have a good time, enjoy the music and atmosphere that Austin City Limits provided.
Weekend two of ACL is happening this weekend and some tickets are still available. Find out about ticketing options here and make your way to Zilker Park for what will definitely be a weekend to remember.
*Featured Photo | Austin City Limits via Roho Foto*