Named after the PBS television series Austin City Limits Music Festival is run by C3 Presents, the same people responsible for Chicago’s Lollapalooza and who also joined in partnership with Australia’s Big Day Out in 2012.
While SXSW encompasses all of Austin, ACL concentrates on its energies on Zilker Park where a daily audience of 75,000 congregate with a total of 225,000 over the course of one weekend.
If the audience capping wasn’t enough of an indicator of the festivals success, 2013 will see the event expand over two weekends for the first time with ACL taking inspiration from Coachella’s decision to do the same thing a year earlier.
The Texan event has brought over 150 acts annually since its inception in 2002. The three-day event includes more than eight stages.
While the TV series the festival is named after focused mainly on Texan folk and country artists, the event showcases a wide variety of genres.
Highlighting that diversity is past performers such as Red Hot Chili Peppers, Neil Young, Arcade Fire, Coldplay, Kanye West, The Black Keys, Bjork, Queens Of The Stone Age and REM just to name a few.
In a city, which has a venerable reputation for live music like Austin, a festival such as ACL is an event that stands out.
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As is tradition for many C3 events Austin City Limits provides an epic lineup for an epic sized crowd.
Rap heavyweight Eminem, grunge rock heavyweights Pearl Jam, hip-hop heavyweights Outkast and dub-step heavyweight Skrillex headline this genre defying top section of the 2014 bill.
Speaking of the term genre defying it’s hard to go past the ever creative Beck with his 2014 release, Morning Phase, giving the songwriter another excuse to headline several festivals this year. While pop wunderkind Lorde will appear exclusively at Weekend 2 Calvin Harris, Major Lazer, Foster The People and Chvrches will give the masses plenty to dance to for both dates of the festival.
Other must see acts include St.Vincent, Spoon, Belle & Sebastian, Interpol, Tune-Yards, Jagwar Ma and Mac Demarco to name but a few.
Check out the full lineup here.
Where and When
Austin City Limits is running over two weekends in 2013. The first weekend runs from the 3rd to the 5th of October. While the second weekend runs from the 10th to the 12th. The festival is held at Zilker Park in Austin, Texas.
How To Get There
Flights from anywhere in Australia to Austin are valued over $2000 per person. At least one stopover at Los Angeles is a guarantee.
Since Zilker Park is situated within Austin getting to ACL shouldn’t be much trouble. There is no parking at Zilker Park, unless you buy a VIP ticket (read more about that below).
Not to worry though the festival provides a shuttle service from Republic Square. Board at Republic Square at the corner of 4th & Guadalupe streets and the buss will take you to the festival entrance on Barton Springs Road. While the shuttle bus begins taking passengers at 10am, the last return bus embarks at 11pm of each day.
Where To Stay
While the festival has plenty of partnerships with local hotels like The Driskell, Hilton Austin and Residence Inn Austin Downtown just to name a few, there are numerous hostel options around the city.
How To Get Tickets
There are a few different options for tickets for both weekends. While the early bird passes sell out quick they come at a reduced price down $25 from the normal three-day pass.
A three-day pass allows punters with access to all six stages as well as the regular areas within the festival site. It is valued at US $225.
A VIP pass however will set you back – wait for it – $1050 American dollars. It includes daily VIP wristbands, Gourmet Happy Hour daily with guest chef tastings, complimentary catered food and drinks (including alcohol), mini spa treatments, air-conditioned restrooms, shaded and seated areas as well as a VIP parking pass (for people who purchase four VIP passes).
There are several different travel packages that Austin City Limits have put together. Some include VIP or Platinum tickets, while merchandise is also included in some options. Check out all the travel packages here.
There are no set prices online for the Platinum pass, but given the price of the VIP pass expect your mouth to drop if you decide to email ACL with an enquiry. The pass allows you access to the Artist Lounge, the VIP Grove, Guest Areas, a private air-conditioned Platinum lounge which caters for dinner and lunch, exclusive viewing areas for the two main stages, access to viewing areas for the third and fourth stage and dedicated golf cart transportation.
Think the Platinum Pass stops there? Well it doesn’t. It also offers a hospitality suite in Downtown Austin, A shuttle transportation from the hotel to festival, air-conditioned flushable toilets, On-site Platinum Concierge Hosts inside the lounge and through out the festival, an exclusive festival merchandise gift bag and the first option to purchase a platinum pass for the 2014 festival.
Who needs life savings, right?
To purchase tickets click here.
Insider Tips & Tricks/Things You Shouldn’t Miss
The fear of your phone dying is only eclipsed by the fear of missing out on your favourite band’s set. However at ACL there are portable power banks where punters can leave their phones to charge for a few hours.
Austin Eats showcase some of the city’s best restaurants so don’t waste your money on the ol’ burger and cola combo. The success of having restaurants sell food at the festival was encapsulated by Big Day Out’s decision to implement their own ‘Chow Town’ after partnering with C3 Presents.
The ACL market is in the centre of Zilker Park where attendees can purchase accessories, posters, headgear and boots. An official ACL boutique store also sells limited specialty items and there is even a general store for those who may have left a necessity at home.
Want to go to ACL, but are afraid of taking your kids? Fear not! The Austin Kiddie Limits is as the festival describes it “chock-full of rockin’ good stuff guaranteed to make kids of all ages move, groove, and sing-along”. Plus kids under 10 get in free with any adult who has a ticket. Austin Kiddie Limits is open from 11am to 4.30pm daily.
As festivals are undoubtedly tiring ACL provides plenty of rest areas around Zilker Park, so if you’ve got a gap in your schedule go enjoy the park for what it is.
For more details head to Austin City Limit’s Official Website
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Electronic heavyweights Depeche Mode and gloom rockers The Cure head up the 2013 bill with fellow countrymen Muse stopping by on their world tour to showcase songs from last year’s The 2nd Law. Both Arctic Monkeys and Kings Of Leon are expected to play new material from their as-of-yet unannounced new records. While Phoenix, The National, Vampire Weekend, Atoms For Peace and our very own Tame Impala will play in support of their latest studio albums.
Last but very not least veteran crooner Lionel Richie ensures that there few demographics that this lineup doesn’t cater for.