After coming home from the Austin City Limits music festival this weekend, I had a lot of people ask me about my experience. Since this was my first year to go, I’m no expert on the matter, but here’s what I learned.
Plan to make some sacrifices.
You can’t see every performance. You can’t get front row for every band you choose to see. So, you have to prioritize.
I met G-Eazy instead of Walk The Moon. Decide if you would rather have a good spot for an artist you don’t know and a headliner, or mediocre spots for two mediocre artists. Once you figure out what you’re going to prioritize, you can plan your weekend accordingly.
Do your research.
Look up artists you don’t know before the festival. If you’re planning on watching the act you’ve never even heard of that goes on before your favorite artist, familiarize yourself with a few of their songs. Maybe make a playlist. You might like what you hear, and it’ll make standing in a crowd of people much more enjoyable when you know the band that’s playing. It’s even better if you can sing along.
Bring a portable charger for your cellphone.
I cannot stress this enough. At ACL, you’re going to be standing and waiting the majority of the time, and you’re going to want to be on your phone. You’re going to be taking lots of pictures, videos and snap chats, and posting to social media. Your battery is going to drain fast. This isn’t a two-hour concert; it’s an all day affair. If for some reason you get separated from your friends, you’re going to need a way to reach them. When it’s time to catch an Uber home, you’re going to need your cell phone. Plus, there’s nothing worse than camping out all day at the stage for your favorite artist just to have your phone die 10 minutes before they go on.
Don’t forget to be a nice person.
Yes, getting to the front is important. You want to make the most of your weekend. You want to get the most bang for your buck. Just remember that so does everyone else. We all paid the same amount. We are all just as excited to see our favorite bands take the stage. There’s no need to shove and elbow and lie your way to the front. There’s no need to abandon your friend who passed out in the grass to go watch the next performance. (Yes, I saw that really happen to someone). Let the girl whose legs are killing her sit down for five minutes. Watch your profanity around the few children that are running around the park. Take a picture of the stranger in front of you in line when she meets her favorite musician at an album signing. And most of all, make friends with the people around you when you’re squished like sardines waiting for Drake to come on stage — in that moment, you’re just best friends watching your favorite artist kill the beat.
Sarah Scales is a junior journalism major from Texarkana. She is the web and social media editor for the Lariat.