For the past 13 years, C3 Presents has brought Austin City Limits Music Festival to the beautiful people of Austin. The event is six days of pure badass-ness — that is, if you know what you’re doing. Here are some tips to enhance your experience and ease the pain of losing that paycheck you handed to C3 Presents.
Story by Kristen Balderas
Photo by Lauren Ussery
Plan your days
Arriving at ACL with no idea where you’re going can make the festival an unpleasantly hectic experience. Be sure to plan where you’ll be at what times. This will ensure you don’t miss any performances you’re excited to see, and can serve as a meet up plan for when your group gets separated.
Register for ACL Cashless
Nothing is more inconvenient and terrifying than losing your credit card at a music festival. You’ll have ordered food, be holding a piece of merch in your hand or in be dire need of an alcoholic beverage, and you’ll realize your form of payment is gone. If you register for ACL Cashless when you activate your wristband, you can avoid these situations completely. You will be able to scan your wristband at any food vendor or store in Zilker, and your credit card will be charged. If you plan to shop at the ACL Art Market you might need cash, but it is totally possible to keep your credit cards safe at home during this chaotic fast paced weekend.
Although it’s unfortunate that last B doesn't stand for beer, ACL does encourage Bring Your Own Bottle. At ACL, you are allowed to bring one empty bottle or two factory sealed bottles of water into the festival with you. There are water stations scattered throughout Zilker Park where you can fill up your bottle for free! After spending so much money on a ticket and standing around in the Texas heat all day, a drink of free water is the best form of hydration.
Invest in a portable charger
Most of your phone’s battery will go toward looking for a cell phone signal it isn't going to find. Another portion will go toward basic ACL pictures you’ll post on Facebook. If you’re lucky you’ll have some battery to capture performances. You don’t want to be the person that doesn't get to Snapchat Drake dance around on stage to the crowd screaming, “RUNNIN THROUGH THE SIX WITH MY WOES,” so you need to buy a portable charger. Do it for Drake.
Watch random performances
With the variety of music showcased at ACL, chances are there are performers you’ve never heard of. Don't be afraid to hang out at a stage and jam out to music you’ve unfamiliar with. Discovering new music is a beautiful thing, and a large festival like ACL is the perfect place to do it.
Never tell your Uber/Lyft to pick you up at Zilker
First, it is important to recognize that Uber and Lyft are simultaneously genius and evil. In Austin, rates skyrocket anytime there are popular city-wide events. You’re going to pay so much for a ride, it may be better to avoid these services all together. If you do choose to utilize these services, do yourself and your driver a favor and walk away from the giant mess that is ACL traffic. Your driver won’t have to deal with hyped up clueless pedestrians and busses, and you won’t be paying to sit in a car.
Go to Late Night shows
Headliners’ sets may finish at 10 p.m., and ACL security and volunteers may kick you out of Zilker by 11 p.m., but that doesn't mean the party has to stop. C3 Presents provides ACL goers with the opportunity to keep the party going with Late Night shows. You will have to spend more money to attend, but these shows provide a chance to see ACL artists you might have missed during the day, or artists not on the ACL lineup.
If you can’t make it to ACL this year, check out the LiveStream.