I hadn’t originally planned on attending Austin City Limits Festival this year, but when I found out I won tickets, I quickly reviewed my ACL Fest survival & packing tips from attending in 2016, packed a bag, and drove to Austin. Was it worth? Ahhhh let me work it, put my thang down, flip it and re… sorry… YES. Definitely worth it.
ACL Fest 2017 welcomed myself and my fabulous gal pal, Viola with open arms, hot Texas weather, glitter, and some fierce performances.
We drove down to Austin Thursday night while consuming a whole bag of white cheddar popcorn, so unnecessary but so freaking delicious. We woke up Friday morning with the task at hand to find a local coffee shop with yummy coffee and even yummier wifi. We settled in, knocked out our work, then returned to our temporary residence to saddle up for the festival. Off we go!
We headed towards downtown Austin to make use of the free shuttle ACL Fest provides. It’s so easy, FREE and drops you off right on the festival grounds. Don’t have to stress about parking or walking 100 miles, I highly recommend.
I was greeted by welcoming festival volunteers at the ticket booth where we picked up our weekend wristbands and went through the festival security. You can imagine the weekend after the horrible Las Vegas shooting that things would be a little tense. Overall we were happy with the security procedures the park implemented. I recommend you familiarize yourself with the festival prohibited items list to avoid any issues with entering the park.
Our plan of action was to pick up a map and check out the grounds. We found the information stand with the map and weekend schedule with ease and stopped by the wristband activation stand next door as well. You can add a credit/debit card to your wristband instead of paying with your cash/card all weekend. It’s super easy to activate and the convenience is great.
We walked the park a bit and were diligent about finding the emergency exits. All of the exits were clearly marked with giant red signs reading ‘Emergency Exit’. We were comforted by the festival’s initiative to help fans feel at ease.
On to the fun stuff… we wiggled our way over to the HomeAway stage to catch Irish singer/songwriter James Vincent McMorrow. Viola and I love James and his set didn’t disappoint. Great live performer and his band was awesome too. Awesome way to start the weekend.
A big part of ACL Fest is the food. Burgers, taco cones, gourmet popcorn, fruit popsicles, you name it. We walked through all the vendors eyeing the menus for our weekend food plan. We both grabbed a bite, I settled for some white cheddar mac & cheese topped with bread crumbs, and walked towards a familiar sound.
We arrived at the Honda stage to an interesting sight. I’ve heard a few Crystal Castles songs before but had NO idea what a performance would be like. It was… interesting? A bit like Twenty One Pilots but instead of ski masks, they opted for black panty hose over their faces. When they did come off the main singer, she uncovered hair as green as the joker, alien-like contacts, and lipstick smeared alllllll over her face. Honestly a little frightening with the microphone cord wrapped multiple time around her neck, we caught our glimpse and quickly moved on.
BBC Radio 1 introduced me to the next band, Royal Blood. Joining ACL from the UK, the guys rocked the crowed. The guy standing in front of us knew EVERY SINGLE drum note and air jammed the entire time. Such a fun atmosphere and love being surrounded by big fans. Despite having to pause for a few minutes due to a tech glitch, I enjoyed singing along to the few songs I knew from British radio and discovered a few new ones too.
Viola took a break and rocked out in the grass.
We stopped by the AMEX sponsorship activation on-site next to the AMEX stage. It was pretty cool! They had a guestbook you could sign, a team doing screen presses on various items for fans, and a photo opportunity with the festival artwork this year. We signed the guestbook then headed out to catch the remaining Foster The People set.
Martin Garrix was awesome… so was the pyro. We met two girls from Florida, danced the whole set, and made a brief appearance in their GoPro video recap. We wished Dua Lipa popped out for a second to sing Scared To Be Lonely, but somehow we managed to cover Dua’s parts for her.
As day 1 turned to night, we made our way back to the Honda stage for who I was most excited to see all weekend, The xx. We met up with some friends and found a few drunk strangers, and danced all night. Jamie xx just released the remix to On Hold the week prior and the transition into it during their set was so sick. Definitely my favorite song off their latest record. Love love love The xx.
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 6TH RECAP
- James Vincent McMorrow
- Crystal Castles
- Royal Blood
- Foster The People
- Martin Garrix
- The xx
We showed up a bit later on Saturday with Tove Lo being our main target for the day. We walked through the crowd at Russ but were completely surrounded by what looked like 12 year olds. We felt old and moved on to Alison Wonderland. We made it through the first couple of songs before being completely mobbed by people trying to squeeze up closer to the front. The girl next to me was wearing a tube top and her sweaty back kept rubbing up against my arm (there’s a pleasant visual for you). I was over it quickly and went to the next best thing. Food.
Viola and I shared a bag of the Austin Gourmet Popcorn and that held us over until our pizza feast later that night after the festival. We arrived a bit early to Tove Lo, made sure we had drinks in our hands and scoped out a good spot. Before her set started, ACL Fest sent out a push notification telling the crowd to look up in the sky as their was a special sky diving performance from Red Bull that went along to a tribute of Tom Petty singing Free Fallin’ at a previous ACL Fest year. Video below (not mine), but it was pretty cool!
Swedish pop star, Tove Lo danced her way onto the stage and sang hits Habits, Talking Body, Cool Girl, new single Disco Tits. She might have even flashed the crowd during Talking Body for a little bit more than what people, myself included, might have expected, if you were even expecting anything. But you betcha, the boys went wild… she REALLY is a Cool Girl. Favorite set from Saturday.
Viola & I aren’t huge Chance The Rapper or Red Hot Chili Peppers fans so we shopped around and dabbed in a little bit of everything in the late hour. The biggest surprise of the weekend was the Silent Disco. Y’all. Silent Discos are so. much. fun.
When we walked into the tent, volunteers passed out headphones with different colors on the ear parts. We were probably about 10 mins in before I even figured out what was happening when half the crowd was singing YMCA when I was hearing Kings Of Leon Sex On Fire. The headphones had a switch on them that flipped between three stations that corresponded with the three DJs up on the stage. Each DJ was their own color (blue, green or red) and whatever color your headphones were, that’s whose station you were on. We had so much fun dancing with strangers and Viola even got some tips from a couple of 40 something women on how to twerk… good times were had here.
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 7TH RECAP
- Alison Wonderland
- Tove Lo
- Chance The Rapper
- Silent Disco
- Red Hot Chili Peppers
We walked in to Milky Chance and stayed for a few songs. Sunday was by far the hottest day of the weekend and the AMEX stage offered no shade this time of day. We were in search of shade and beer so we moseyed over to Louis The Child on the Barton Springs stage where I met up with once of my friends from high school and had the most joyous reunion. Shoutout Katie <3
The sun was heading down, so we made our way back to the AMEX stage for The Head and The Heart. This was my second time seeing this band live and they don’t disappoint. Great live vocals and energy. It was beautiful looking behind us to watch the sun set as they performed.
We skipped by Portugal. The Man on our way to Vance Joy. I heard Purple Yellow Red and Blue and sang it loudly as we ran through the crowd across the park. Vance Joy was packed. Think he could’ve been on a bigger stage honestly but parked ourselves in the back, found a nice grassy patch and gave our feet a break while singing along to Georgia and Wasted Time.
We caught the tail end of Zhu’s set. Found some people in the crowd with hula hoops and light sticks. Obviously we walked directly towards them to join the party. Great set, epic saxophone solos, and rave lights. Pretty solid ‘almost’ end.
Then… The Killers. Oh my gosh The Killers. Having constant flashbacks to my middle school days, we found some English dudes and joined their dance party for Mr. Brightside. I was far too excited when I heard their newest single The Man… but it’s so good and even better live. Epic set including Somebody Told Me, When You Were Young, Read My Mind, and more. We danced and sang and lived up our last set of the weekend.
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 8TH RECAP
- Milky Chance
- Louis The Child
- The Head and The Heart
- Portugal. The Man
- Vance Joy
- The Killers
Overall, a pretty solid weekend. Thanks for having us ACL! See you in 2018?
Did you attend Austin City Limits Festival this year? Let me know your favorite moment in the comments below!