Menu Close

How to Make the Most of a Day at the Austin City Limits Music Festival

Aerial by Charles Reagan for ACL Fest 2021 DSC_3686
ACL Press Photo by Charles Reagan.

We’re in Austin, Texas; the live music capital of the world. Lucky for us, pandemic cautious couple that we are, it’s October and one of the best outdoor music festivals in the country just ended last weekend – Austin City Limits (ACL). They took precautions that made us feel comfortable attending and taking part in the full experience. Attendees were required to provide proof of vaccination, or a negative COVID test. We have now rocked out in the live music capital of the world. WooHoo!

Was it amazing? Yes, it was.

We didn’t know about the festival until a friend commented on our Facebook post. Thanks Gary! Without his comment, we may not have known about the festival at all. Since we were late to the game, tickets were limited. Thankfully, we were able to secure General Admission Plus (GA+) tickets for the second Sunday of ACL. It felt good knowing that a portion of the money we spent on tickets is given to the Austin Parks Foundation.

The Sunday lineup of performers we saw: Band of Horses, Greta Van Fleet, Jon Batiste, and Duran Duran.   

Are GA Tickets Worth it? Yes they are!

There is no seating near any of the stages at ACL. Attendees are welcome to bring their own chairs, or blankets. We do have a picnic blanket that we could have brought, but neither of us wanted to spend the day unrolling and rolling it as we moved from stage to stage, or went to vendors for food and drinks. With GA+ tickets we were given access to a shaded lounge area with:

  • Food and beverage options
  • Plenty of chairs
  • A big screen showing what’s happening onstage
  • Bathrooms that are a considerable step up from porta potties cleaned and restocked continuously by staff. In the ladies bathroom, word was that this feature alone was worth the extra expenditure. 
  • Reduced waits in lines. Since access to the lounge was limited there was barely a wait for anything we might’ve wanted.

Listen to favorites & be open to new groups

Austin City Limits Greta Van Fleet
Austin City Limits Duran Duran

Duran Duran was reason enough for us to go to ACL. I was excited to see Jon Batiste on Sunday’s lineup. Chris was interested in Greta Van Fleet. His brother had recommended the group to him awhile back. I went through other bands in the day’s lineup, listening to their music on YouTube. Band of Horses seemed like the group neither of us were familiar with that we’d most enjoy. We dug their set a lot. 

We could have arrived earlier and watched more performances, but between our workloads and our uncertainty about how much time at a music festival might prove to be too much prevented us. The 2002 Warped Tour is the last full-blown music festival that I can remember being at. I was 24. Chris thinks he was at one about 11, or 12 years ago. 

If I were to do it all again, I think I’d go ahead and arrive earlier. With the way ACL is set up, there are plenty of ways to stay entertained beyond the music.  

Did we feel out of place? Not at all.

Before heading over to the festival, we wondered if we might be the old people at the festival. Really, Chris wondered aloud and then I wondered too. After all, he is 52. I am only 43. 

We were not the oldest in attendance and the crowd didn’t feel super young. The bands whose concerts we saw drew a wide range of ages and the performances were all amazing, so who cares? 

A bit about the bands we saw: 

  • Band of Horses, a well-established indie rock band that did an amazing cover of INXS’s “Never Tear Us Apart.”
  • Greta Van Fleet, a young band that’s been called the second-coming of Led Zeppelin.
  • Jon Batiste, band leader of The Stephen Colbert Show and co-composer of Soul among other accomplishments. 
  • Duran Duran. Need I say more?

Would We Go Again? Yes! Or Should I Say YAAASSS!

Our experience at ACL, the fact that it’s two weekends of music, and that we’ve had all sorts of fun in Austin makes me want to declare Austin our October city. Did you know we lived in 12 Cities in 12 Months? Austin was city #4 for usWe’ll be closing out the month at the Austin Film Festival, so this might rate as one of our most entertaining months we’ve ever had. For more of the details on all of the fun we’ve had in Austin so far, check out our video, 7 Awesome Things To Do in Austin, Texas!

Follow us on YouTubeInstagramFacebook, and Pinterest for more travel and food inspiration.