By Erianne Lewis | Arts and Life Editor
I woke up around 7:30 a.m. to hop on the road an hour later for my journey to Austin City Limits, but in typical me form, I was running behind. I hurried and carried all my belongings to my car in an attempt to grab breakfast, gas and a quick coffee from Dutch Bros. before I headed out.
The Dutch Bros. line was wrapped around the building when I drove up, so I knew it was an immediate no. After pulling into the Panera Bread parking lot, I realized I would much rather just grab an energy drink and breakfast taco from Buc-ee’s in Temple, so I drove away as quickly as I had pulled in.
Once on the road, I listened to some popular songs from the band, Sarah and the Sundays, that I planned to interview once I arrived. Thirty minutes into my drive, as planned, I stopped to Buc-ee’s to pick up my breakfast items and get back on the road to ACL.
I began to panic slightly when I realized I was only getting there around 8 minutes before the box office opened, where I needed to get my wristband. I thought there was going to be a huge line that was going to take forever to get in, but that ended up not being the case at all.
Once I arrived in Austin, I parked in a garage that did look a tad bit sketchy, but it was apparently recommended by ACL, so I decided to check it out. Then, I began my mile-and-a-half trek from the garage to the East entrance of the festival.
The walk honestly wasn’t awful, and I spent most of it planning out my interview in my head and snapping photos along the way. Once I arrived at the media credential box office, it wasn’t open yet, even though I got there 30 minutes late.
I made small talk with the other press around me, and then it was time to grab our wristbands. Donning the sparkly orange and yellow media band made it feel real for the first time. I was here to cover a festival, and I couldn’t be more excited.
After the box office, I walked to the entrance where there was a much shorter line for media. Everyone patiently waited for the gates to open at noon.
When the “Star Wars” theme song sounded, we knew it was time to enter the festival. Almost as if on cue, everyone rushed to the front to get through the gates. Once I passed through security, I began my second trek of the day in search of the press lounge for my first interview.
The press lounge was significantly larger than I expected, and they had freebies galore. From coffee to chips, popsicles and granola bars, the press lounge was starting to feel like home. They even had comfy chairs to sit in for casual interviews or to just take a break from the business of the festival.
After my interview, I chilled in the press lounge for a bit before I decided to explore the park. First, I had to get an airbrushed tattoo, of course. I waited in line for entirely too long, but it was worth it, because the tattoos came out cool and I got to talk to the artist for a while.
After the tattoo, I snapped a few photos in front of the iconic ACL flags, then curiosity got the best of me. I saw a long line extending out of the Hulu Motel pop-up area, and I immediately needed to know why. Interestingly enough, no one in line knew what was inside too. They had hopped in line out of curiosity like me.
I’m thankful I hopped in the line, because I met two cool girls that I chatted with for around the next hour.
Once I got to the front of the line, I discovered Hulu had set up a lounge themed after the new TV show Bates Motel, based off the movie Psycho! They had postcards you could sign and mail off, then at the end you took a quiz of movie-related questions on a vending machine screen to try and win prizes. I won an electric, handheld fan. I was jumping for joy at this point.
After the Hulu area, I had to hop over to the Coca-Cola area to chill on one of the swings for a bit, where I won a free pin. I absolutely loved taking advantage of all the ACL freebies.
I met up with my roommate after, and we decided to grab some kimchi fries and a cherry limeade from JuiceLand. This was my favorite drink from ACL last year, so I was so excited to be able to have it again.
Post ACL eats, I went to my first official concert of the day, which was Sarah and the Sundays. I left a tad bit early to head to BENEE for a bit, then I took another snack break in preparation for the closers of the night.
I ended the night with seeing Omar Apollo, who absolutely killed his performance, and SZA, who effortlessly closed the night on the Honda Stage.
Day one was very long, but so worth it, and I’m excited to see what’s in store for day two!