Whether you’re an Austin native or just in town for ACL, here’s a list of everything you won’t want to miss this year.
1. Eat some ridiculously good food
When I think of Austin eats, three things come to mind: BBQ, tacos and Chef Paul Qui. Luckily all three of these will be making an appearance at the festival. Torchy’s Tacos will be serving up next-level tacos, which you’ll definitely want to score. To get your BBQ fix, stop by The Salt Lick where pork ribs, sausage, and chopped beef sandwiches will be on the menu. If you’re looking for some lighter fare, get the Brussel Sprout Salad from Chef Paul Qui’s asian-fusion food truck East Side King. Finally top off your meal with a dessert you don’t have to feel guilty about: shaved ice made with all natural flavors at Snowie.
2. Discover a new band
Sometimes the greatest moments at festivals happen before the crowds descend for the headliners. Here are a few non-headliners that you won’t have to elbow someone in the face to see:
These guys pull off a retro-americana folk vibe while still sounding modern and fresh.
The upbeat synth paired with their deep vocals make this nouveau-New Wave band great to dance to.
If you’re looking for an introduction to country music, check out Nikki Lane whose interpretation of the genre makes her music accessible and easy to enjoy.
Soulful R&B singer Jhene Aiko has been building an audience with her atmospheric music that pairs perfectly with her sultry vocals.
DeMarco’s music seems to saunter through the air and matches his lackadaisical, yet engaging stage presence.
3. Buy some cool and functional souvenirs (no chachkies)
The best keepsakes don’t gather dust on your dresser; they serve a purpose while reminding you of where you’ve been. Pick up a hat at local Austin purveyor Hatbox: A Modern Haberdashery, which will have a shop set up inside the park. Shield yourself from the sun as you navigate the festival grounds, and keep it around for festivals to come.
If hats aren’t your thing, Souldier will also be there selling guitar straps, camera straps and other items made from repurposed materials like seatbelts.
4. Checkout prototypical Austin music venues at the ACL Late Night Shows
The festival ends each night at 10 p.m., but that doesn’t mean you have to go home. The ACL Late Night Shows bring musicians from the festival to local Austin venues like Emo’s and Stubb’s. Beck, Childish Gambino, Skrillex, DIPLO, Mac DeMarco and more will all be playing throughout both weekends.
5. Take a break from the mosh pit
In the heat of the day, get a break from the sun by visiting the Art Lounge, sponsored by AT&T, where local Austin artists will be displaying their pieces as they work on them. After that, freak out getting your new vinyl signed by your favorite artist at the Autograph Sessions.
Be sure not to miss out on these fun and unique experiences you could only find at an Austin festival.
Contact Gabriela Groth at gabrielangroth ‘at’ gmail.com