Austin City Limits Music Festival is one of the leading music festivals in the country and I was lucky enough to end my summer festival season at Weekend One. Selling out two consecutive 3 day weekends, Zilker Park was ready to present the 450,000 attendees the best music and food experience of their lives.
I entered between 2 and 4pm all three days and the lines moved very quickly. As you tapped your wristband each day and walked through the gates, you were immersed into a whole new culture of multi-genre music and killer Austin food all brought under one roof. Eight stages spread across the park, covering different genres such as rock, indie, country, EDM, and hip hop. The overall set up was easy to navigate and spread out with a main stage placed at each end of the park.
Each day brought a new back to back packed line up for my group. We ended night one with a set from Major Lazer that was so unreal you literally thought you were bring brought into an alternate p
arty universe from the very first drop. I mean this set had everything from fire to dancers… they even implemented the old crowd control stampede lead by the one and only Walshy Fire. They played everything from ‘Pon De Floor’ and ‘Bubble Butt’ to ‘Lean On’ and their newest release, ‘Cold Water’. Covers of Valentino Khan’s ‘Deep Down Low’ and DJ Snake’s ‘Propaganda’ turned the crowed into absolute bass-stomping chaos. Major Lazer didn’t show up to just throw down another set, they came with a show so hyped up people of all ages couldn’t help but be consumed. Definitely one of the best sets I have seen at a festival in a while!
The major sets of night two were Chainsmokers and Kygo. We thought getting to the Chainsmokers set 40 minutes early at 6:50 would be enough time to get a decent spot and sit down for a little. We were never so wrong. Even at that time, streams of people were pushing their way through. Literally shoving people out of the way in some instances. It seemed like every single frat bro skipped Friday and showed up just for the Chainsmokers set that Saturday evening. The set itself was very mainstream with some rock mixed in from Twenty One Pilots, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and KISS. The ENTIRE festival showed up for this set and showed the most enthusiasm for the newer releases such as ‘Closer’ and ‘Don’t Let Me Down’. ACL clearly was not prepared for a crowd like this putting the American duo Andrew Taggart and Alex Pall on such a small stage.
As everyone from that set flooded to Kendrick Lamar, my group went in the opposite direction back to the Honda stage to Kygo. Good choice for us after the Chainsmokers blood bath. Kygo brought his uplifting Tropical House sound that we all know and love. His updated graphics and light techniques paired perfectly and lit up the entire area into a fun, dancing atmosphere for all ages. Kygo played everything from ‘Sexual Healing’ to ‘Stole the Show’ and ‘Younger’. His set was extremely interactive as he brought out live Saxophone support throughout and Conrad Sewell to sing ‘Firestone’ live. We were all in awe as the Fireworks filled the sky above with vibrant coloration during his 8 minute rendition of ‘Firestone’ came to an end. It was the perfect ending to day two as we all danced and sang along.
Day three was more of a folk/rock day. We caught some of the Porter Robinson and Madeon set, but had to leave early to make our way to the closing Mumford and Sons set. From what I saw though, their Shelter Live Tour will be a futuristic ride that should not be missed! They are the perfect combo, balancing their two styles flawlessly to take you on a journey that blends whimsical synth with a dark electro trip.
Overall ACL was a success. It is the first time I have been to a festival that blends so many different genres together and it was a refreshing experience. It felt like there were multiple festivals blended into one, but once you entered the set of your choice, that was the world you were instantly submersed in.