Column: tips for attending Austin City Limits

Here are some tips for Austin City Limits. Lariat file photo.

By Erianne Lewis | Arts and Life Editor

It’s the time of year where Austin’s annual music festival, Austin City Limits, commences in Zilker Park for two weekends. People from all over the nation travel to this popular festival, with ACL anticipating around 450,000 people divided between nine stages and over 100 performances.

This year’s headliners include SZA, P!nk, Lil Nas X, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Kacey Musgraves, The Chicks, Wallows and more. This will be my second year attending ACL and my first year with a press pass. Needless to say, I’m very excited.

I’ve compiled a list of tips for first timers, and anyone else who may have felt unprepared in the past, based on suggestions from students, the internet and my own experience.

1. Stay hydrated and nourished

This tip may be the most important. You will be standing up for hours in the sun and surrounded by large groups of people. You will get tired, so you need to make sure you drink lots of water and eat something. This simply isn’t a suggestion, it’s a demand. In the hustle and bustle of festival life, it can be easy to forget to take care of yourself. Make sure that you are devoting time to your wellbeing, which includes eating food and drinking water, lots of it.

2. Stick with a group

A large portion of the festival grounds lacks cell service, so communicating with people you are not with will be extremely difficult. I recommend having a designated meeting spot for people you are attending with, in the off chance you get separated.

3. Get to your favorite artist’s set early

If you have an artist you really want to see and be close to the front for, it may be necessary to camp out at the stage they are performing at all day. This sounds crazy, but it is most definitely worth it. Last year, my friends and I camped out to see Tyler the Creator and Billie Eilish, and it was well worth it. We were basically against the barricade. This can also apply to getting to the festival early. You’d rather have time to hang around than having to rush to catch the end of the artist’s set.

4. Wear comfy shoes you don’t mind getting ruined

Don’t wear those white shoes, even if they match your outfit perfectly, unless you are willing to risk them getting dirty. No shoes are safe from the muddy mess of ACL mosh pits. You will have to deep clean your shoes by the end of the weekend, so keep this in mind when deciding what to wear.

5. Budget money for food

Festival food is expensive and can come as a shock to some people. This can’t be avoided, but if you budget and do your research ahead of time, then hopefully you won’t be surprised at the checkout counter.

6. Have the lineup and set times accessible

I would suggest taking a screenshot of the lineup and temporarily making it the lock screen of your phone. I hated having to open Instagram (which didn’t work 90% of the time because of the lack of service) or digging through my photo album to find the picture of the lineup. This is an easier way to keep up with who is playing and when.

Remember to enjoy yourself and stay safe. If you are unable to attend ACL this year or want to know what to expect for weekend two, follow along as I document content from ACL. Stay tuned on our Instagram story and our website for updates throughout the weekend.