ACL Fest 2016 Lineup

Radiohead, Kendrick Lamar, Mumford & Sons, LCD Soundsystem

On Wednesday, the Austin City Limits Music Festival teased its 2016 lineup with sign spinners around town holding up placards: Mumford & Sons, Haim, Chainsmokers, LCD Soundsystem. That P.T. Barnum-like promotion stirred moderate social media interest compared to a website glitch that caused the 2015 lineup to be momentarily posted a day early.

Thom Yorke leading Radiohead at the Frank Erwin Center in 2012 (Photo by Gary Miller)

Before sunrise today, the roster for Austin’s largest outdoor music festival, which runs Sept. 30 – Oct. 2 and Oct. 7-9, went viral. As expected, the C3 Presents/Live Nation venture will be headlined by British art-rock titans Radiohead, who teased their ninth studio LP on Tuesday with “Burn the Witch.” The band last visited Austin in March 2012, when they taped an Austin City Limits episode before playing the Erwin Center. Frontman Thom Yorke’s supergroup with Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist FleaAtoms for Peace – appeared at ACL Fest the following year.

Sharing top billing is hip-hop inspiration Kendrick Lamar, previously mentioned British Americana stars Mumford & Sons and Brooklyn alternative dance rockers LCD Soundsytem, plus EDM superheroes Major Lazer, and Norwegian DJ Kygo.

When Lamar stunned crowds at ACL Fest 2013 as an undercard standout, the Compton MC was the only rapper on the lineup. This year, he shares poster space with his fellow Black Hippy alum Schoolboy Q, veteran hip-hop ladies' man LL Cool J, Toronto showstopper Torey Lanez, rapper/drummer/singer Anderson .Paak & his Free Nationals, Odd Future’s Domo Genesis, Minneapolis femcee Lizzo, and jazzy hip-hop locals Magna Carda.

The cowboy-hat segment of popular music also gets representation from Austin ambassador Willie Nelson, Texas breakout Kacey Musgraves, classic country songstress Margo Price, and Chris Stapleton, who played the festival’s second weekend last year before earning wider recognition with a pair of Grammy wins in February. The fest also doubled down on white soul singers with long band names via Otis Redding conjurers St. Paul & the Broken Bones and Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats.

Vibrant Tuareg guitarist Bombino, who released his career-defining LP Azel this year, circles back to town after appearing at South by Southwest back in March. World music aficionados will similarly rejoice in Colombian alternative cumbia energizers Bomba Estéreo, who broadened their initial Pachanga Fest profile here in Austin at Fun Fun Fun Fest last fall.

Other points of intrigue on the ACL Fest 15th anniversary lineup, which arrives far more impressive than last year’s numbing barrage of EDM and Drake, include psychedelic beatmaker Flying Lotus – whose performance at last weekend’s Levitation Festival was rained out – French electro-rockers M83, Kentucky ragers Cage the Elephant, Northwest sirens Band of Horses, South African electro-rap bizzarists Die Antwoord, Bright Eye’s Conor Oberst, trending English rockers Foals, auto-harp strumming Canadian songwriter Basia Bulat, and British mood muses Haelos, whose sound alludes to trip-hop and shoegaze.

Artists garnering major buzz at the aforementioned SXSW, like Anderson .Paak, return with increased momentum on the festival stage, among them electronic imbued songwriter Jack Garratt, Sting’s dark synth-pop daughter Eliot Sumner, and UK rock quartet the Struts.

Austin artists greeting the sun on the Zilker grounds include Wild Child, Asleep at the Wheel, Israel Nash, Lincoln Durham, Bayonne, Walker Lukens & the Side Arms, Matt the Electrician, Blue Healer, Keeper, and Los Coast.

More than ever in the three years since dividing into consecutive weekends, ACL Fest 2016 ensures a dual sellout by differentiating lineups. Weekend one exclusives include: Chris Stapleton, Andrew Bird, Kacey Musgraves, Blue October, St. Lucia, and more. Weekend two-only acts include Willie Nelson, Conor Oberst, Awolnation, Anderson .Paak, Atlas Genius, Crystal Fighters, the Struts, Anderson East, and others.

The ticket window for three-day passes ($255) opens today at 10am. Buy them here.

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