Viewpoint: ACL festival flows with new music

Abby Loop | Staff Writer
Abby Loop | Staff Writer
Abby Loop | Staff Writer

By Abby Loop
Staff Writer

Austin City Limits Music Festival is a time to listen to bunch of bands, dance with your friends and have a good time. The music festival is the longest running music series in American television history. Many of my friends have gone, and this year I decided to go. I expected it to be a great time, and in the end, it was. However, as I listened to the different bands and noticed the atmosphere of the festival I noticed the changes that music has gone through in time and how the popular acts we see today and are featured at ACL have changed since the past.

The ACL Music Festival was inspired by the PBS concert series show that has featured live music acts since 1974, starting with Willie Nelson. The ACL music festival then started in 2002, bringing the music from the TV show and into Zilker Metropolitan Park in Austin. However, what started out with bands that weren’t as well known coming is now bringing some of today’s biggest artists to ACL.

As I listened to Sam Smith, Iggy Azalea and Eminem, I realized the music festival is growing. I remember a few years ago when my friends talked about not knowing anyone at the festival. Now, almost everyone has heard of the different bands and musicians playing. While some have argued that this is a bad thing and takes away from the acts that are more talented but not as well known, I think this has could be a good thing for the festival. People come to hear the music they love and the most popular, well- known artists are going to be loved and attract more people.

The type of music that’s featured at ACL has changed over the years too. What first started with only Texas artists in the 1970’s then changed to a variety of bands and musicians. Today, we now have DJs such as Calvin Harris, Zedd and Skrillex who all graced the ACL stages this year, showing how the role of being a DJ has changed since the past.

Huge crowds were at the DJs’ shows, jumping up and down with the music and quickly turning the concert more into a dance party. Seeing this atmosphere put into perspective how the music scene has changed, with a new genre of music that didn’t really exist a few years ago now a popular outlet.

However, not all things have changed. When I think of music festivals, I automatically think of the 1960’s and Woodstock, with hippies swaying along to the music with flowers in their hair and everyone having a great time. This could actually be seen at ACL this weekend, as many people brought out their flowered headbands and hippie garb and ran along to see their favorite bands. I saw how the love for music has never changed, just the type of music we listen too has.

So as I took part in the festivities that was the ACL music festival this year, I contemplated the music acts I’d seen in the past on the ACL PBS TV show and how they were so different from the acts I was seeing that weekend. I came to realize that although some performances had changed to DJ’s and that a festival that once started as a Texas event has grown into a nationally known event, the love for music that started ACL in the 1970’s remains the same.

Some might argue that older music is better or that the popular acts ruin the festival but in reality, change in music happens and with it, so does ACL.

Abigail Loop is a senior journalism major from Brownsville. She is a staff writer for the Lariat.