Putting the Awesome in ACL
Updated: Sep 6, 2018
Austin City Limits Festival is always one of my favorite weekends of the year. I wish, like last year, this year’s weekend would have fallen a bit later on the calendar, but apparently UT football is more important than everything else in the world. Anyway, after years of attending ACL, here are some of my tips for surviving those three days among a sea of people, great music, yummy food and hot-as-hell weather:
Bring some toilet paper with you. Unlike The Doctor, the toilet paper supply in those port-a-potties does not regenerate, so by the time it finally gets dark, you’ll be grateful you have a stash in your pocket. Also, the lines for the restrooms can seem like they take forever, so try to choose the line with the most men in it or visit the bathrooms directly to the right of the food court, which always seem the least crowded.
In addition to taking 436 steps backward for women, Twilight made pale skin cool again. (Sort of.) Protect that pale skin with sunscreen. Find a formula you like (like spray) that doesn’t burn your eyes or leave those icky white streaks behind so that you’ll actually use it. And, if you’re super pale, bring a hat or an umbrella to make your own shade.
Dress for survival, not fashion. I admire the ladies who really bring it to ACL in terms of rocking the latest trends, but in this situation, I always opt for comfort and maximum coolness (as in temperature).
Bring hand sanitizer. I’m not a huge hand sanitizer user normally (although I haven’t seen Contagion yet), but there will definitely be moments at the festival (like before you chow down on your Avocado Cone) that you’ll be desperate for clean paws.
Text. Don’t call. And navigate by flags. It’s the easiest way to give someone your location or to find someone in a crowd.
If at all possible, don’t drive. You will waste a ton of time circling for spots and then even longer waiting for that garage to unload at the end of the night. The shuttle is easier and so are walking, biking or rides from super nice friends.
Accept that some things will just suck. It seriously helps to just accept that from the get-go. People will annoy you. You could have gotten to the stage your favorite band will be playing at an hour early and still be stuck next to people who talk loudly during the whole set. It’s a festival and not the Paramount, and don’t let them ruin your experience. And yes, the Mighty Cone will probably be sold out of your preferred cone by Sunday, but remember that you can always find them the next week on South Congress.
Above all else, have fun!