Austin City Limits has made its way onto the list of one of the world’s most well-known music festivals. Since its founding in 2002, the three-day music festival is in the heart of Zilker Park in downtown Austin—the live music capital of the world.
The headliners this year included Odesza, Paul McCartney, Metallica, Arctic Monkeys and Travis Scott. Childish Gambino was supposed to headline the final spot on Sunday to end the festival, but because of a broken foot the rapper was forced to cancel both headlining weekends for ACL. They did a great job the second weekend trying to cover his spot, brining Lil’ Wayne to help fill in the gaps.
The music vibe was all over the place from classic rock, rap, indie and electronic. The only music that wasn’t covered for the most part was country, which was surprising since the festival is based in Texas. Overall, there was a great selection from day-to-day. There was not just one day that was classic rock-focused, or one day that was just rap. Everyday there was a great mix of different musical talents, making the three-day plan worth while versus just choosing one day to attend.
Zilker Park was decked out with interactive art displays, plenty of Austin local foods and many green initiatives. The iconic flag pole area was swamped with people getting their famous ACL picture. The background of downtown Austin seen from the park was like a dream. The festival was offering all of what Austin truly had to offer, showing Austin’s other famous tagline alive, “Keep Austin Weird.”
The weekend’s must-sees was Hozier, who was singing songs off of his brand new EP “Nina Cried Power.” The Irish singer put on a long-awaited soulful performance. Shawn Mendes was also a site to see, asone of the younger performers this weekend, but he didn’t let that get in the way of him putting on a fantastic show. The artist I was most surprised to see was Brockhampton. I knew they were decent, but live they made sure to energize the crowd and keep them begging for more. My personal favorite by a long shot was Sir Paul McCartney. His years of performing made his show more than just another musical headliner, it made it an experience. He knew how to keep the audience on their toes playing classic songs from the Beatles, the original Quarrymen, old Paul Mccartney and brand new Paul McCartney songs. He added little quips about his band mates and the creative process behind the songs, as well as having fireworks, an intricate stage setup and pyrotechnics.
Austin City Limits can be a bit intimidating with the numerous bands you want to see, thousands of people packed into a park in the Texas heat and crazy eccentric concert-goers who will push to be in the front. n top of all that, getting to the entrance of the festival is a bit of a trek in itself. The bad definitely does not outweigh the good, though. The environment that the workers, volunteers and normal concert-goers give off are welcoming chill vibes that make you feel happy to be hanging out with some good friends and enjoying the music around you.
This is the festival you want to attend—the size, the city, the artists and the essence of the festival is what makes ACL so popular. Local Texans or people from different countries were traveling to enjoy what was offered. Not being a local, I found this festival to be even more worth it because I got to not only enjoy the concert but enjoy the city of Austin itself and see why so many people take pride in it.