Austin City Limits Music Festival

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Austin City Limits Music Festival
ACL Festival
Aclfestival logo.jpg
Austin City Limits Music Festival 2012.jpg
Austin City Limits Bud Light stage, 2012
Genre Music festival
Location(s) Zilker Park
Austin, Texas, United States
Years active2002–present
Most recentOctober 5–7 & October 12–14, 2018
Next eventOctober 4–6 & October 11–13, 2019
Website Official site

The Austin City Limits (ACL) Music Festival is an annual music festival held in Zilker Park in Austin, Texas on two consecutive three-day weekends. Inspired by the KLRU/PBS music series of the same name, the festival is produced by Austin-based company C3 Presents, which also produces Lollapalooza. [1] The reputation of the ACL television show helped contribute to the success of the first festival.

Music festival festival oriented towards music

A music festival is a community event oriented towards live performances of singing and instrument playing that is often presented with a theme such as musical genre, nationality, or locality of musicians, or holiday. Some festivals are focused on women’s music.

Zilker Park Historic urban park in Austin, Texas

Zilker Metropolitan Park is a recreational area in south Austin, Texas at the juncture of Barton Creek and the Colorado River that comprises over 350 acres (142 ha) of publicly owned land. It is named after its benefactor, Andrew Jackson Zilker, who donated the land to the city in 1917. The land was developed into a park during the Great Depression in the 1930s. Today the park serves as a hub for many recreational activities and the hike and bike trail around Lady Bird Lake, both of which run next to the park. The large size of the park makes it a capable venue for large-scale events such as the Austin City Limits Music Festival and the Zilker Park Kite Festival. The park was listed in the National Register of Historic Places on 1997.

Austin, Texas Capital of Texas

Austin is the capital of the U.S. state of Texas and the seat of Travis County, with portions extending into Hays and Williamson counties. It is the 11th-most populous city in the United States and the 4th-most populous city in Texas. It is also the fastest growing large city in the United States, the second most populous state capital after Phoenix, Arizona, and the southernmost state capital in the contiguous United States. As of the U.S. Census Bureau's July 1, 2017 estimate, Austin had a population of 950,715 up from 790,491 at the 2010 census. The city is the cultural and economic center of the Austin–Round Rock metropolitan statistical area, which had an estimated population of 2,115,827 as of July 1, 2017. Located in Central Texas within the greater Texas Hill Country, it is home to numerous lakes, rivers, and waterways, including Lady Bird Lake and Lake Travis on the Colorado River, Barton Springs, McKinney Falls, and Lake Walter E. Long.


The ACL Music Festival has eight stages where musical groups from genres including rock, indie, country, folk, electronic and hip hop perform for fans. The concerts continue from 10 AM to 10 PM on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday during the festival with various stages spread out in the park. Approximately 450,000 people attend the festival each year. [2] In addition to the music performances, there are food and drinks, an art market, a kids area for families, and other activities for attendees. The festival also has various water fill stations for patrons, as well as plenty of bathrooms to support the large crowd.

Rock music is a broad genre of popular music that originated as "rock and roll" in the United States in the early 1950s, and developed into a range of different styles in the 1960s and later, particularly in the United Kingdom and in the United States. It has its roots in 1940s and 1950s rock and roll, a style which drew heavily on the genres of blues, rhythm and blues, and from country music. Rock music also drew strongly on a number of other genres such as electric blues and folk, and incorporated influences from jazz, classical and other musical styles. Musically, rock has centered on the electric guitar, usually as part of a rock group with electric bass, drums, and one or more singers. Usually, rock is song-based music usually with a 4/4 time signature using a verse–chorus form, but the genre has become extremely diverse. Like pop music, lyrics often stress romantic love but also address a wide variety of other themes that are frequently social or political.

Independent music is music produced independently from commercial record labels or their subsidiaries, a process that may include an autonomous, do-it-yourself approach to recording and publishing. The term indie is sometimes used to describe a genre, and as a genre term, "indie" may include music that is not independently produced, and many independent music artists do not fall into a single, defined musical style or genre and create self-published music that can be categorized into diverse genres. The term ‘indie’ or ‘independent music’ can be traced back to as early as the 1920’s after it was first used to reference independent film companies but was later used as a term to classify an independent band or record producer.

Country music, also known as country and western, and hillbilly music, is a genre of popular music that originated in the southern United States in the early 1920s. It takes its roots from genres such as folk music and blues.

Founded in 2002, the festival began as a one-weekend event and remained as such through the 2012 date. On August 16, 2012, Austin City Council members voted unanimously to allow the Austin City Limits Music Festival to expand to two consecutive weekends beginning in 2013. [3]

Austin Eats

The Austin Eats food court in 2004. Austin Eats.jpg
The Austin Eats food court in 2004.

The Festival's food court, called Austin Eats, was modeled after the Jazz Fest in New Orleans. [4] Austin Eats features all of Austin’s finest restaurants and caters to each individual festivalgoer. With gluten-free and vegetarian options, [5] this food is far from funnel cakes and turkey legs. Restaurants featured include Torchy’s Tacos, Stubbs B-B-Q, Chi'Lantro BBQ, and Amy’s Ice Creams, all local Austin favorites. All vendors accept cash and there are ATMs located around the facility. Recycling bins are provided and festivalgoers are encouraged to be conscious when disposing of their food wastes.

New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival

The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, often known as Jazz Fest, is an annual celebration of the music and culture of New Orleans and Louisiana. The term "Jazz Fest" also refers to the days surrounding the festival and the many shows at unaffiliated New Orleans nightclubs scheduled during the festival weekends.

ACL Art Market

The ACL Art Market features numerous art vendors and is located in the center of Zilker Park; all booths are open throughout the duration of the festival. [6]

Relationship to television series

The historic Austin City Limits television series focused for many years on Texas singer/songwriters, country and folk performers, and instrument specialists. That has changed as the award-winning television series now resembles the Festival lineup and spotlights artists of every musical genre from rhythm and blues to rock, jazz, and alternative. Now that the festival is an established destination, it brings major bands to the television show that might not otherwise have made the trip. In past years, Pearl Jam, My Morning Jacket, Wilco and The National have all performed for both the festival and the show. [7] Performers who have appeared on both the PBS show and the Festival in recent years have included:

<i>Austin City Limits</i> American television music program

Austin City Limits (ACL) is an American public television music program recorded live in Austin, Texas, by Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) member television station KLRU, and broadcast on many PBS stations around the United States. The show helped Austin to become widely known as the "Live Music Capital of the World", and is the only television show to receive the National Medal of Arts, which it was awarded in 2003. It also won a rare institutional Peabody Award in 2011 "for its more than three decades of presenting and preserving eclectic American musical genres." For the first 12 seasons (1976–87), Austin City Limits was produced by the Southwest Texas Public Broadcasting Council. Beginning in season 13 (1988), Austin City Limits moved to its current production home at Austin's PBS affiliate KLRU, the Capital of Texas Public Telecommunications Council. The show was created in 1974 by Bill Arhos, Bruce Scafe, and Paul Bosner.

International Expansion

Auckland City Limits

In 2015 it was announced that Auckland City Limits Music Festival would debut at Western Springs stadium in Auckland, New Zealand in early October 2016. The festival will showcase over 40 artists from a broad spectrum of musical genres, and highlight local culinary, artisans, festival fashion, an area for children, and a new festival forum for speaking on and exchanging cultural and innovative ideas.

Sydney City Limits

In spring of 2018 Sydney City Limits made its debut at Brazilian Fields and Parade Grounds at Centennial Park in Sydney, Australia. This festival was one day and featured 28 bands on four stages. It had many of the same activities as Austin City Limits such as Sydney eats, Sydney market, and Sydney kiddie limits.


Austin City Limits Music Festival, Weekend 2 in 2018. ACL 2018.jpg
Austin City Limits Music Festival, Weekend 2 in 2018.

Austin City Limits Music Festival was held over 2 weekends: October 5–7 and October 12–14, 2018. The lineup featured headliners Paul McCartney, Metallica, Arctic Monkeys, Travis Scott, Odesza, and The National. Childish Gambino was forced to cancel his performance after a foot injury, and Justice was promoted from an earlier time slot to replace him as a headliner. Phoenix and Lil Wayne were also added to fill the empty time slots, with the former playing on the first weekend of the festival and the latter on the second weekend.

To display the lineup for a given Year/Weekend, click on the [show] link way over to the right. --->

Weekend 1

Weekend 2


Austin City Limits Music Festival was held over 2 weekends: October 6–8 and October 13–15, 2017. The lineup featured headliners Jay Z, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Chance The Rapper, The Killers, and Gorillaz.

Weekend 1

official Lineup:


Austin City Limits Music Festival was held over 2 weekends: September 30 – October 2 and October 7–9, 2016. The lineup featured headliners Radiohead, Kygo, Kendrick Lamar, Mumford & sons, and LCD Soundsystem.

Weekend 1

Weekend 2

official Lineup:


Austin City Limits Music Festival was held over 2 weekends: October 2–4 and October 9–11, 2015. The lineup featured headliners Foo Fighters, Drake, the Strokes, Florence and the Machine, and the Weeknd.

Weekend 1

Official lineup:

Weekend 2

Official lineup:


Austin City Limits Music Festival was held over 2 weekends: October 3–5 and October 10–12, 2014. It was listed in Forbes as one of 5 American Music Festivals to look forward to. [8]

Weekend 1

Official lineup:

Weekend 2

Official lineup:


For the first time, the Austin City Limits Music Festival was split across two weekends with matching lineups: October 4–6 and October 11–13, 2013.

Weekend 1

Official lineup:

Weekend 2

Due to heavy rains and flash floods, the festival was cancelled on Day 3 of Weekend 2.

Official lineup:


Austin City Limits took place from October 12–14, 2012. The official lineup was announced on May 22, 2012. [9]

Official lineup:


ACL Festival celebrated its 10th Anniversary on September 16–18, 2011. [10] The official lineup was announced on May 17, 2011. [11]

Official lineup:


The Strokes performing at Austin City Limits in 2010. Thestrokes2010.jpg
The Strokes performing at Austin City Limits in 2010.

The 2010 festival took place on October 8–10, 2010. The performers included The Eagles, Phish, Muse, The Strokes, and M.I.A.

Official lineup:


The 2009 festival took place on October 2–4, 2009. This year's festival is most commonly remembered as the one when torrential rains which started falling on Saturday afternoon turned the new grass turf into slick fields of Dillo Dirt mud.

Performers this year included:


The 2008 edition took place September 26–28, 2008.

Official lineup:


The 2007 Austin City Limits Music Festival occurred September 14, 15, and 16 in Zilker Park. Several acts, including Amy Winehouse, The White Stripes and Rodrigo y Gabriela, cancelled their appearances at the festival due to health reasons, the latter two on very short notice. The scheduled performance by Saturday headliner, The White Stripes was replaced by moving already scheduled Muse into the headlining slot.

Other notable moments include Friday when a propane tank was ignited and a fire broke out in the service area, burning down two trailers and several port-o-potties. Four people who were working at the festival were injured, two of them seriously. A second fire broke out on the speaker stack at the AT&T stage during Björk's set, but it was quickly extinguished and no injuries were reported. [12]



The 2006 festival took place on September 15, 16, and 17.

After sweltering heat in 2005, festival organizers attempted to relieve festivalgoers from the Texas sun by adding more misting and water stations and more tents for shade. Organizers also added a mobile phone texting feature to the festival. AT&T’s Blue Room offered options for fans to watch live streaming bands playing from the comfort of their own homes.

Ben Kweller suffered a nosebleed during his set. He attempted to stem the flow by inserting a tampon, thrown to him by an audience member, into his nostril. The tampon expanded painfully and then he removed it. Kweller performed two more songs until he had to leave the stage. [13] The next day when The Flaming Lips performed, lead singer Wayne Coyne asked the audience to throw tampons at him to help mop up his signature fake blood. It continued to rain tampons on the band for well over two songs.



Main entrance to the festival in 2005. Aclfestival main entrance 2005.JPG
Main entrance to the festival in 2005.

The 2005 festival took place on September 23, 24, and 25.

The 2005 Austin City Limits Festival won Pollstar's Festival of the Year Award. This was also the infamous "Dust Bowl" year where dust kicked up by the festival crowd made it difficult for audiences to breathe. The following year, sprinklers were installed in Zilker Park to remedy this problem.Organizers reduced the daily capacity of the event by 10,000 fans because of neighborhood disputes in the previous years. Three-day passes were sold for $105.


Last minute replacement acts included:

Several acts were scheduled to appear, but cancelled due to transportation issues arising from Hurricane Rita, they included:


Jack Johnson at ACL 2004 JackJohnsonACL2004.jpg
Jack Johnson at ACL 2004

The 2004 festival took place on September 17, 18, and 19.

The 2004 festival had eight stages, and, on the second day of the festival, a top attendance of 75,000 people. This spike in attendance forced the festival promoters to lower capacity per the request of surrounding neighborhood associations.



September 19–21 marked the second year for the ACL Music festival. With 100 bands performing, tickets increase to $65 for a three-day admission pass. Children under 10 were admitted for free when accompanied by an adult with a ticket.



2002 was the inaugural year of the festival. Unlike subsequent years, it was a 2-day event only. The festival, arranged by Charlie Jones and Charles Attal founders of C3 Presents, was thrown together in a matter of three or four months. The 2-day festival hosted 5 stages and 67 bands. One-day passes were $25. 42,000 people attended the event when only 25,000 were expected. The festival has grown every year since.

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  7. "Artists | Austin City Limits". Retrieved 2014-06-25.
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  11. ACL 2011 Lineup Announcement
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Coordinates: 30°16′3.216″N97°46′1.78″W / 30.26756000°N 97.7671611°W / 30.26756000; -97.7671611