By Kalyn Story | Staff Writer
Austin City Limits Music Festival celebrated its 15th year at Zilker Park in South Austin this last weekend. Complete with a 15th anniversary guest book, the festival made several changes and additions in hopes of giving festival-goers the best experience possible.
This year ACL significantly changed the layout of Zilker Park to open up the middle of the park and allow for more room to walk and more space between stages. It also introduced improved bathroom facilities, more CamelBak Hydration Stations providing free water and more misting stations throughout the park.
It also introduced ACL Cashless, which allowed people to link their credit card to their festival wristband and make purchases at bars, food vendors art market vendors, and festival merchandise tents by just tapping their wristband and entering a preset pin.
It was Bedford Corners, N.Y. sophomore Jonathan Sclafani’s first time at a music festival and his first time in Austin. He praised ACL’s organization and efficiency and said he hopes to attend again.
“The entire festival was fantastic,” Sclafani said. “I was expecting it to be a lot more chaotic, but they ran everything so smoothly.”
Sclafani made a last-minute decision last week to attend the festival. It was Saturday headliner Kendrick Lamar that sold Sclafani on the festival, but he enjoyed other artists there and became a fan of some bands he had never heard of before the weekend.
“I absolutely loved St. Lucia,” Sclafani said. “I didn’t know who they were, but I’m definitely going to listen to them now.”
Sclafani said he loved the parts of Austin he got to see, and he wants to go back soon to really experience the city.
“I feel like I saw ACL Austin, and I loved it, but I want to get the feel for the real Austin, too,” Sclafani said. “I’d love to go back and see Zilker Park another time and just hang out there.”
Unlike Sclafani, attending ACL was a long-time planned out weekend for Katy sophomore Kristen Echevarria. She decided last semester to go to ACL with friends even though it isn’t her typical scene.
“I felt like a mom at a frat party,” Echevarria said. “I definitely didn’t fit in with the crowd. It was fun to be with my friends and do something outside of my comfort zone, but I definitely would not go again.”
Echevarria said the fun times with friends didn’t outweigh the stress and exhaustion of being with such a large crowd in a small space.
“I died during the Chainsmokers concert. I was squashed until I suffocated,” Echevarria said. “The ratio was like four hours of discomfort to one hour of good music.”
Like Sclafani, Abilene sophomore Abbey Ham went to ACL for the music, but she said it was the experience that she fell in love with.
“I love concerts, but there is truly nothing like a music festival,” Ham said. “I loved the ambiance and atmosphere that came with being surrounded by music and people all day.”
Ham was also drawn to the festival by headliners such as the Chainsmokers and Kendrick Lamar but really enjoyed listening to other bands like City and Color.
“ACL was worth every penny. I can’t wait to go again and go to more music festivals,” Ham said.
ACL weekend two kicks off friday with headliners Major Lazer and Radiohead.