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ACL 2012–A 30-Something Guide

Posted on : 21-10-2012 | By : Sumina | In : Austin, Austin Life


After having been in Austin for 12+ years, I thought it was finally time that I get around to IMG_3647one of Austin’s biggest musical events of the year. Austin City Limits!

Being in my 30’s, I thought I’d post a bit about my experience and what I learned and how my overall experience went. Especially when I looked at the 20-something year olds (or younger) and found myself thinking, “So glad I am not tempted to do THAT!” One example; Wearing any shoe with a heel. Crazy people!!

IMG_3706Hopefully, if it’s your first time going, you may be able to grab a few tips to improve your experience and have a better time than if you hadn’t read this post!

Here is my Picasa Album from the event






Onto the fun stuff…. ACL Tips!

  • Check the weather forecast and plan accordingly. Not being a big weather IMG_3669checker, I did make a point to check the weather daily before I headed out. For this weekend, we had sun, rain, high humidity, and of course some pretty gorgeous weather thrown in. We had a 20 minute downpour on Saturday. Enough to make EVERYTHING muddy, slippery, sticky and overall disgusting.
  • If rain… then pack a poncho, and several plastic bags to throw damp clothes into. Also recommended are a few Ziploc bags for cell phones, digital camera or to keep any other electronics safe and dry. image
  • Wear comfortable shoes. I had something like these. Not sexy, but definitely allowed me to walk through all kinds of gunk for hours, and trek back and forth between the 46 acres that is ACL.
  • How to best find your group. Look out for people with a flag or other ‘marker’ to locate your group. This is the best way to find people and be found. IMG_3624
  • Be prepared for little or no cell reception. Be prepared that you’ll have either no, or very limited cell reception. I had mostly ‘no-service’ for about 80% of the weekend, but even when I had 3 bars of signal, it was very difficult for text messages to get through. I had a few pre-determined spots to meet people, and that worked out better than trying to send text messages which didn’t get there in time. Granted, I have AT&T, and people with other providers didn’t seem to be struggling as much as I was.
  • Be aware of your alcohol consumption: One other perk about being in your 30’s is that most of us have learned how to pace our alcohol consumption by now. Especially at a weekend-long, outdoor event. But, just to reiterate, alcohol is dehydrating, drink carefully and hydrate more than you think you should. Which leads me to my next tip….
  • Anticipate dehydration. If you are not from Austin or Texas, the heat can be deceptive. The humidity makes it feel like you are really not losing too much sweat, but you are. By the time you start feeling lightheaded, or get a headache etc, it’s already too late. Start pounding the water and electrolytes.
  • General supplies that were helpful:
    • Sunscreen – lotion not aerosol cans
    • Hat – keeping the sun off your face and head helps you not feel as hot throughout the day
    • Camelback or similar water delivery device. There are filling stations throughout the park. Keep hydrated!!!
    • Emergen-C or other electrolyte product. I liked Emergen-C because the packets are dry, lightweight, and I can literally mix them in my mouth if I don’t have a spare water bottle. This came in handy when we were standing for hours in order to catch a band we liked and someone started feeling lightheaded.
    • Take breaks. If you are going to go for all 3 days, save up your energy for the bands you are most excited to see. Perhaps sit under a tree and people watch for an hour to recoup in the middle of the day. On Saturday I headed out to the park at 2pm knowing I would be there all day.

    Bands I saw

    • Delta Spirit – just caught a bit of the end of their show was a GREAT start to the festivities.
    • Ben Howard – I didn’t know anything about Ben Howard, and was pleasantly surprised. I am definitely a new fan!
    • Tegan and Sara – having been fans of their for YEARS, I was excited to see them, and was not disappointed!
    • Florence + The Machine – This was definitely the band I was most excited about seeing! It was a great show, I was up close, and her performance was beautiful.
    • The Black Keys – I was in the very front for this show, and started feeling too claustrophobic and somewhat dehydrated (see ‘Tips’ above), so I watched a part of it from afar. GREAT show, high energy and fun, fun, fun!
    • AVICII – having never heard of AVICII before ACL, I wandered over here and was blown away by a GREAT light show and some high energy dancing. Also a big fan. Techno/electronic fans would have been pleased!
    • Metric – this was the second band I was most interested in seeing. Having been a fan of theirs for a while, I was thrilled to see their name in the lineup. Did not disappoint, AND they jammed out through the rain! (Which is why I have almost no photos of this show.)
    • La Vida Boheme – randomly saw this band while heading to the bathroom area. Great sound and a very happy surprise
    • The Roots – was WAY back for this show, but honestly, I didn’t think it was the best performance I saw
    • Bassnectar – also an enjoyable show, but not as good as AVICII.
    • The Devil Makes Three
    • Bad Books
    • The Lumineers – GREAT show, but WAYYYY too crowded. They were on too small a stage and it was not possible to see anything.
    • Iggy & The Stooges
    • Childish Gambino – another unexpected find that was fun, and a GREAT way to end my first ACL!

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