Austin City Limits Music Festival

Austin City Limits Music Festival
ACL Festival

Main entrance of the 2005 Austin City Limits Music Festival in Zilker Park.
Genre Music festival
Frequency Annually
Location(s) Zilker Park
Austin, Texas, United States
Years active 2002–present
Most recent September 30-October 2 & October 7–9, 2016
Next event October 6–8 & October 13–15
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 PBS concert 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.

The ACL Music Festival has eight stages where musical groups from genres including rock, indie, country, folk, electronic and hip hop perform for fans. 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.

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

Austin is known for its food, and the festival is no different. Austin Eats is the name of the festival food court that 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, 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.

ACL Cares

Festivalgoers are given unique opportunities to give back to the community during their time at the festival. ACL Cares is a section of the festival that supports good causes and encourages support from the thousands of attendees of the festival. Organizations like KLRU and The Nature Conservancy have been involved in past years. ACL Cares aims to make a difference in the local Austin community and beyond.

Certain organizations that are involved in ACL Cares are HeadCount, United Way for Greater Austin, Austin Music Foundation, Keep Austin Beautiful, and many others.[6]

ACL Art Market

Local artists have a unique creative and business opportunity to showcase their talent at the ACL Art Market. This section of the festival aims to support local artists as well as give the festivalgoers the opportunity to walk away from the festival with more than a T-shirt. The market is located in the center of Zilker Park and all booths are open throughout the duration of the festival.[7]

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.[8] Performers who have appeared on both the PBS show and the Festival in recent years have included:

International Expansion

Auckland City Limits | Auckland, New Zealand

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.


Austin City Limits Music Festival is held over 2 weekends: September 30 - October 2 and October 7–9, 2016. This years lineup features more than 130 artists, including Radiohead, Kygo, Kendrick Lamar, Mumford & sons, LCD Soundsystem and many more.

Weekend 1

Weekend 2


Austin City Limits Music Festival is held over 2 weekends: October 2–4 and October 9–11, 2015. This year lineup features more than 140 artists, including Foo Fighters, Drake, the Strokes, Florence and the Machine, the Weeknd and many more.

Weekend 1

Weekend 2


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.[9]

Weekend 1

Weekend 2


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

Weekend 2

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


Austin City Limits took place from October 12–14, 2012. The official lineup was announced on May 22, 2012.[10]


ACL Festival celebrated its 10th Anniversary on September 16–18, 2011.[11] The official lineup was announced on May 17, 2011.[12]


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


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.


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


The 2007 Austin City Limits Music Festival occurred September 14 15, 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.[13]


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.[14] 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.


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

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.

See also


  1. "C3 Presents". C3 Presents. Retrieved 2013-04-15.
  2. "Austin City Limits Music Fesitval". Topo Chico USA. Retrieved 3 August 2016.
  3. "Council Approves Two Weekends of ACL Fest". Austin 360. Retrieved 2014-08-14.
  4. "ACL Music Fest – Austin Eats: ACL's food court, 10 years later – Food – The Austin Chronicle". 2011-09-16. Retrieved 2014-07-21.
  5. "2014 Austin Eats | ACL Music Festival | Oct. 3-5 & 10-12, 2014 | Zilker Park, Austin, Texas". Retrieved 2014-06-25.
  6. "ACL Cares Partners". ACL Festival. Retrieved 3 August 2016.
  7. "2014 ACL Art Market | ACL Music Festival | Oct. 3-5 & 10-12, 2014 | Zilker Park, Austin, Texas". Retrieved 2014-06-25.
  8. "Artists | Austin City Limits". Retrieved 2014-06-25.
  9. "5 American Music Festivals To Look Forward To". Forbes. 2014-10-05. Retrieved 2014-10-07.
  10. "Austin City Limits Festival Announces Schedule | News". Pitchfork. 2012-07-26. Retrieved 2014-06-25.
  11. "Austin City Limits Festival Celebrates 10th Anniversary". 2014-09-14. Retrieved 2014-08-14.
  12. ACL 2011 Lineup Announcement
  13. "Austin Music Source". Retrieved 2014-06-25.
  14. "Rolling Stone, ''The 10 Best Shows at Austin City Limits''". Retrieved 2013-04-15.

External links

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Coordinates: 30°16′3.216″N 97°46′1.78″W / 30.26756000°N 97.7671611°W / 30.26756000; -97.7671611

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