In the fifteen years since its inception, the Austin City Limits music festival has seen itself grow from a moderately sized, family-oriented celebration of folk and roots rock to a monolith of the national festival scene, spanning just about every genre and demographic.
Story by Alejandro Diaz
Illustrations by Jesus Acosta
With this mass expansion has come performances by some of the biggest names in music. This year’s edition includes a victory lap from hip-hop darling Kendrick Lamar, rare performances from alternative staples Radiohead and LCD Soundsystem, the return of Mumford & Sons and EDM heavyweights Kygo and Major Lazer.
Outside of the headliners there is a wealth of new music for festival-goers to discover, but with over 140 artists performing over two weekends, deciding who to see can require reading the fine print.
To help narrow the field, ORANGE is breaking down the lineup, selecting some of our favorites based the headliners you already love.
If you like Kendrick Lamar, you might like...
The Odd Future affiliate’s delicate balance of hazy grooves and manic energy sets the ideal festival vibes. Recommended track — "Dapper (ft. Anderson .Paak)"
Jazz Cartier (Weekend 1 Only)
The high-octane flow on his latest mixtape, “Hotel Paranoia,” brings a newfound sense of immediacy to his music, whether he’s commenting on important issues or simply trying to get bodies moving. Recommended track — "Red Alert / 100 Roses"
If you like Mumford & Sons, you might like...
Julien Baker (Weekend 1 Only)
The raw emotion she brings to her highly confessional compositions on her debut record “Sprained Ankle” is unparalleled. Recommended track — "Funeral Pyre"
Lucy Daucus (Weekend 1 Only)
The 21-year-old songstress on the rise’s latest album “No Burden” is equal parts twangy and thoughtful. Recommended track — “Troublemaker Doppelgänger”
If you like LCD Soundsystem, you might like...
Ra Ra Riot (Weekend 2 Only)
The indie-rock veterans’ latest release, “Need Your Light,” takes the shimmery synthpop of 2013’s “Beta Love” to new anthemic heights fit for the festival stage. Recommended track — "Absolutely"
St. Lucia (Weekend 1 Only)
Their lush, 80s-inspired pop is the ideal way to ring in the opening evening of ACL, whether you want to show off your best moves under the bright lights or kick back on the fringes. Recommended track — "Elevate"
If you like Kygo, you might like...
Honne (Weekend 1 Only)
Electro-soul is alive and well in 2016, and few artists do it as well as their debut record “Warm On A Cold Night.” Recommended track — "Warm On A Cold Night"
This electronic duo’s soulful brand of electropop is exactly the kind of sleek, sensual music to set the mood midday at Zilker Park. Recommended track — "Tearing Me Up"
If you like Major Lazer, you might like...
DJ Mel (Weekend 2 Only)
The quest to reach turn-up nirvana is real, and DJ Mel is sure to get things headed in the right direction with his mix of hip-hop and funk beats. Recommended track — “Tour de France Remix”
Nothing gets the crowd moving quite like a good latin rhythm, and these Colombian beatsmiths’ brand of psychedelic cumbia delivers it in droves. Recommended track — "Soy Yo"
If you like Radiohead, you might like...
The genre-hopping space cadet has been steadily cranking out some of the most forward-thinking music of our generation, and his live performances are visual marvels. Recommended track — "And the World Laughs With You" (ft. Thom Yorke of Radiohead)
Like their fellow Oxford exports, Radiohead, their pulverizing, angular guitar work pushes alternative rock to a place that is both technically engaging and infectiously catchy. Recommended track — "Spanish Sahara"