This past weekend, Anthony and I attended ACL Festival, or Austin City Limits Festival, a 3-day music festival in Zilker Park, with over 120 bands playing on 7 different stages. We watched somewhere around 22 of them. If I had to play favorites, The Colorfeels, Ben Howard, Gary Clark Jr., and Florence + The Machine would be at the top of my list. Finish reading this post, then go immediately and check them all out.
ACL rules say you’re not allowed to bring in cameras with a removable lens, so we broke out the old Polaroid camera my uncle gave me and my siblings when we were small and ordered some of the Impossible Project‘s Film. I also thought it would be an appropriate time to download Instagram. We saw so many people with DSLRs, and overheard people tell the gate guards that the lenses didn’t come off. We decided to stick to the rules and have our fun by documenting our time with our instant camera and Instagram. If my scanner wasn’t boxed up in Austin, I’d upload the Polaroids.
The first day, we found a no-hassle, free parking spot 1.2 miles from Zilker (yes, this can actually be considered a great spot for the fest). We returned there each day. That was where our adventures began. Friday, we walked past different tents handing out sodas and goodies, and scored some more shades; this time, in a fun blue hue.
When gearing up to go we had a dilemma: bring chairs and lug them around all day or a blanket that could squeeze into the backpack? I’m very much the “travel light” type. This question was easily answered as we conducted our own “social experiment”. Friday we brought one inexpensive folding chair that would not be missed if lost or stolen and placed it at a stage near the festival entrance. We proceeded to stage hop and left the chair. In the end, our chair was safely resting where we left it. Anthony said that leaving the chair was like leaving your dinner plate at a buffet restaurant. That made me giggle. While the blanket was great, it poured on Saturday, so chairs were a much better option for the mud. We picked up a second chair for Sunday.
With a crowd of about 80,000, ACL is people watching at its prime. Can you say gold lame leotards? If outfits didn’t make you stand out in the crowd, many people made “flags” so they could easily be found by their group. It felt a bit like ESPN’s College Game Day. Anthony and I stuck together the whole time, so we didn’t need a flag, but when meeting up with some friends it was easier to find each other by saying fun things like, “We’re to the left of the giraffe, in front of the tie-dye.” My favorite flag was an upside-down turtle with a speech bubble that said, “This is awkward.”