ACL a crowd-pleaser once again

Laurel Wieland & Beth Rozacky

     The Austin City Limits Music Festival (ACL) typically takes place in early fall but the build-up to Austin’s favorite music event starts long before, with the release of the much-anticipated lineup. Featuring 130 bands playing everything from bluegrass to indie-rock, this coveted set list holds something for every music fan. The chances of seeing a much loved band in the lineup or discovering a new favorite are high as ACL always attracts big name performers from every genre.

     Austinites couldn’t have asked for a better weekend to host the many bands that ACL brought to Zilker Park. Bands like Muse, Vampire Weekend, The Strokes, Rebelution, Deadmau5, The Flaming Lips, M.I.A. and The Eagles lit up all seven stages making for three fantastic days filled with good music, amazing eats and lots of great company. The festival was far from the dustbowl of years prior or the soggy swamp of 2009. Clear, sunny skies and perfect weather were the norm, welcoming the 68,000 music-lovers and hundreds of volunteers who attended.

     The concerts themselves were, at times, less enjoyable because of the massive throngs of people and for many shows it was a challenge to get even remotely close to the stage or to clearly hear the performance in front of you. The music itself seemed like a background for efforts to navigate the massive sea of people and was often ailed by tunes bleeding over from other stages. Sound quality is nearly impossible to ensure in an outdoor environment and is difficult to always get a good spot for every band. The experience as a whole is draining but as per usual hundreds of volunteers and staff on site worked hard to eliminate most unpleasant experiences. Luckily, most fans know that ACL is not just about the music, it’s about the experience of enjoying a festival with thousands of fellow music fans.