Music festival series: Austin City Limits

Throughout the next few months, I’ll be doing a post on each of the eleven different music festivals I’ve been to. These posts will focus on any and every aspect of the festival, such as the artists who performed, the venue it was held at, and the people who attended.

To start off this series, I’ll begin with Austin City Limits (ACL).

ACL feels like home. October of 2016 was my tenth year of going to ACL. Let me repeat that… It was my tenth year of going to ACL. When I first attended ACL, in 2007, I was barely thirteen years old. Nine years have passed since then, and I just finished up my tenth year. Here are some of my favorite moments from the years I have attended…

2007 – Being front row for Ghostland Observatory

2008 – Seeing Manu Chao – This was probably one of the most interesting sets I’ve ever witnessed. In a good way.

2009 – !!!’s entire set – During the entire hour that !!! (Pronounced Chk Chk Chk) performed, it was a non-stop dance party. My friends and I were lucky enough to be second row and in the section of the crowd that Nic Offer kept running over to, and because of this, we were shown on the video screen multiple times. When I met up with my father at the end of the night, I was extremely excited to tell him this; however, he had actually been at this set, just further back in the crowd, and had seen us on the screen. Additionally, I woke up Monday morning to the news that I had made it onto the front page of the Austin American Statesman in a photo from this set. To say that !!!’s set was memorable would be an understatement.

2010 – Discovering the magic that is the gospel bands that play at ACL each year – For those of y’all who don’t know already, I love getting to ACL early. This is due, in large part, to the gospel bands that play in the late morning / early afternoon under the tent. The vibes under the tent at this time are usually very relaxed, yet enthusiastic, so it’s the perfect way to ease yourself into the festival.

2011 – Falling asleep during Stevie Wonder’s set – When I think back to this moment, I have no idea how I actually managed to fall asleep in the middle of ACL, but I did. All I remember is laying down on the grass and thinking about how amazing Stevie Wonder sounds live, and the next thing I knew, his set was over and it was time to go home.

2012 – The ending of Big Gigantic’s set – Big Gigantic is currently one of my favorite artists; however, in 2012, I had no idea who they were. In fact, the only reason I caught the ending of their set was because my friends and I wanted to get a good spot for Bassnectar, who was playing next. The ending of their set is one of my favorite moments because of the image that I see in my head whenever I think about it. Big Gigantic was playing Sky High, it was raining, and everyone in the crowd was straight up vibing.

2013 – Bringing my friend Kate to her first ever ACL (& first ever music festival) – I absolutely love going to music festivals, and being able to guide my friend through her first experience with music festivals in general, and ACL specifically, was extremely special.

2014 – Seeing Eminem – Eminem is a machine. Enough said.

2015 – Seeing Griz for the first time – I won’t go into much detail about this moment, because I’m going to be writing a whole separate post on it, but I’ll just say that it marks a turning point in the music I most often listen to and the role that it plays in my life.

2016 – Seeing the Chainsmokers twice – As mainstream as the Chainsmokers have become, I absolutely love them. The first time I saw them was at Lights All Night in 2014, and I’ve been a fan ever since. The first weekend of ACL was my fifth time seeing them and they put on such a great show that I ended up buying a Saturday ticket for the second weekend just so I could see them again.

10 years of ACL. 10 of my favorite moments. Here’s to hoping that there are many more years and many more favorite moments.

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