They say 75,000 people enter the Austin City Limits Music Festival grounds every day during its 6-day, 2-weekend span… but let me tell you, it feels like one million.
With newly-expanded territory in the park, the crowd was expansive and festival-goers had even more acreage to traverse than usual this year. The weather cooperated rather well over weekend one, so even the early afternoon acts didn’t pass out from heat exhaustion during their sets. The beers sold like hotcakes and the food selection was as eclectic and extensive as ever.
Headliners included Jay-Z, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Killers, The Gorillaz and Chance The Rapper.
Highlights from daytime acts came from MuteMath, with an almost unbelievably animated show and, in a very different sense, Mr. Ryan Adams who, mid-set, publicly chastised a viewer for using the flash on his camera – Adams suffers from Ménière’s disease (Google it) and performed mainly backlit for the majority of the show.
The Beer Hall was, as always, a popular destination offering both refuge from the sun and a great selection of craft beers. Patrons also camped out to catch some of the college and NFL football games, as well as the MLB playoffs.
As is typically the case, everyone is whatever and whomever they choose to be inside the festival gates, which is what makes it so great. As I’ve said in previous years, you can be any version of yourself that you want. Even this boat shoe, J. Crew, Polo shirt-wearing father of two fits in just fine in the middle of Hipster Central.
The atmosphere keeps thousands upon thousands of people attending year after year, and it wouldn’t seem that it will stop any time soon. Ticket sales, food, alcohol, merchandise – they are just raking it in, year after year.
One more thing to note before this comes to an end – if you’ve never witnessed the Silent Disco, please do so.
Three DJ’s, 1000 audience members, concert lights, lasers… and not a single bit of audible music for the outside observer. For those with their special headphones, however, it’s an experience like no other. Attendees don special headphones with which they select the DJ they want to listen to, and their selection is indicated by the color of the LED’s on their headphones – blue, red, or green. If you’re just watching, you only ever know what song is playing because of the crowd singing along. Smiles abound, it’s something to behold.
I’m still nursing my ACL withdrawal symptoms, but I think they’ll be cured October 5-7 of 2018.