10 Tips for ACL First-Timers

Make the most of ACL Fest

The Austin City Limits Music Festival is one of the many events that helps shape Austin as the live music capital of the world. ACL Fest celebrates a variety of sounds from lesser-known artists to big-name headliners and everyone in between. For first-timers, the experience can be a bit overwhelming, so here are 10 tips to make the most of ACL Fest:

1. Buy early, and buy from a trusted source

People all over the country know about ACL Fest and the high demand for wristbands, scammers included. Don’t get taken advantage of! Your best bet is to buy from ACL Fest’s official website instead of turning to less reliable sources.

2. Secure your wristband properly

This one is simple. It’s best to not touch your wristband until you are done using it for the weekend. Once you tighten it around your wrist, it’s there to stay. Keep in mind that it cannot be loosened.

3. Your iPhone/mobile device cannot be your BFF this weekend

Photo by Photo by Cambria Harkey

ACL Fest has done an amazing job with providing charging stations to guests. Unfortunately, when 75,000 people crowd an area, mobile reception isn’t ideal. Some texts, calls, and Instagram posts may go through, but it’s not something to be depended on during the entire 11 hours.

4. Have a way home

For $30 you may park on Barton Springs Road along with various scattered lots for an equally high price. Otherwise, you will have to walk for a while before reaching a point where Uber, Lyft and reception are available in order to call for a ride.

5. Come prepared

Before heading to Zilker, take a look at the list of restricted items on the official website and plan accordingly. Recommended items include a blanket, chairs, sun protection, a mobile charger and most importantly an empty, refillable water container.

6. Dress accordingly (Whatever that means)

Photo by Photo by David Brenden Hall

For those who don’t live in Texas, don't be fooled by the crisp 60-degree mornings. By the afternoon, the sun will be in full protest of the fall season. Layering is a great way to counter the ever-changing October weather. Everyone loves flip-flops until their feet get crushed. In this case, closed-toes are happy toes.

7. Stay Hydrated

Bring a refillable water bottle and take advantage of the free filling stations. Water is also available for purchase, but why pay $2 every time?

8. Raise your expectations from your typical carnival food/festival treats

ACL’s food court gives a taste of Austin’s best eateries. Amy’s Ice Creams, P.Terry’s, The Salt Lick BBQ, and Trudy’s are just a few. From snow cones to tamales, ACL Eats has food for every possible craving. Plus, it’s the best way to recharge after a great performance.

9. One word: Ibuprofen

Photo by Photo by Shelley Hiam

After being at the festival for a few hours, the elements and a few adult-drinks can take their toll. The good news is, you can take some preventative actions to avoid leaving the festival early because of a pounding headache.

10. Discover music early

Photo by Photo by David Brenden Hall

Many are familiar with the music of The Strokes, Drake, and Foo Fighters as well as the massive audience that inevitably comes with watching these headliners. But why not find a new favorite? Lesser-known performers put on an amazing show. Festival-goers are able to watch closer, get better pics and find new favorites while getting the most out of their experience.

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