"Austin City Limits" Festival Picks & Sleepers

Blurbs on the majority of ACL Music Festival performers


Austin City Limits producer Terry Lickona recently suggested that the launch of the Austin City Limits Music Festival may eventually wind up as significant to the city as the launch of the television program 28 years ago. Hyperbole? Maybe. But you'd have to be pretty damn jaded to look at this inaugural festival's lineup and dirt-cheap ticket price and not see the potential for something big.

Its best asset is clearly its name: ACL carries instant street cred and offers an immediate, but elastic, aesthetic. Like the venerable program itself, look at the festival grid in this issue's special insert, and you'll see blues and gospel, singer-songwriters and jam bands. And, oh yeah, there's country too. It's perhaps this simple: If you've ever bought an album from Waterloo Records, listened to KGSR, or watched ACL, there's something out at Zilker Park for you.

In fact, it's almost an embarrassment of riches; with six stages you'll have to decide between the Blind Boys of Alabama or Asleep at the Wheel, Patty Griffin or Wilco, Emmylou Harris or Ryan Adams. If the breadth of the lineup and the tough choices evoke South by Southwest, we thought so too: for the first time outside SXSW, we've turned to the three words that put fear in the hearts of Chronicle editors and writers, "Picks and Sleepers."

Ultimately, the festival itself is a "Pick." It's what Austin needs: a festival that could provide a fall complement to SXSW and usher in a secondary annual influx of media attention and tourism dollars. But more immediately, it just looks like a fine weekend of music and a helluva lot of fun. Hyperbole? Not at all.

See you there.

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Austin City Limits, Austin City Limits Music Festival, Terry Lickona

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