ACL during the day time. Photo courtesy of @livingsunshine

If you haven’t heard of The Austin City Limits Music Festival, better known as ACL, then you might be living under a rock, however, you shouldn’t worry because here comes the light.

ACL is a live music festival based in the “Live Music Capital of The World,” Austin, Texas. Since 2002, it has occupied the first two weekends in October with its multitude of stages and embodiment of true Austin culture. It has brought performers such as The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Drake and Florence + The Machine all to one arena for its massive, larger-than-life weekend events.

ACL is more than a music festival. It is the sober, or drunk, camaraderie with your closest of friends. A weekend of relaxation, where (hopefully) school doesn’t matter, your stresses are alleviated and the music and atmosphere inundates you with happiness and bliss. ACL weekend is full of moments when you can’t help but to throw your hands up in the air feeding off the energy of the crowd. It’s the opportunity to style yourself in clothes that are otherwise way too “unconventional” for everyday life. It’s the heart of music exploration and personal expression.

Photo courtesy of Maya Halabi, The Pasiano. 

One of the most dynamic things about ACL is its dedication to bringing smaller—sometimes considered underground—artists to the forefront.

ACL is truly an avenue for exploring new music of all different genres.

London-bred act, Ten Fe, who released their debut album this February willl bring their alternative/soft rock sound to the stage. Blazing new artist BiBi Bourelly who may be best known for penning the massive Rihanna hit, “B*tch Better Have My Money,” but is forging her own path—and making her own money.

Singer/songwriter Angel Olsen contributes to this years ACL festival, bringing her soft strumming guitar serenades and sweet sensual voice that will bring you to tears by simply being in the same room as her. Her song “Windows” was even featured on the final episode of the popular Netflix series, “13 Reasons Why.” Taking the stage with her blunt bangs well intact, she belts out the lines only a true indie rock star could, such as “I dare you to understand what makes me a woman.”

One of this year’s funkiest acts is the virtual band,

Gorillaz, which helped close out the first weekend of ACL.“Being that they are a virtual band, festivals like this make it so unique for us fans to get to see the artist in a whole new light,” says Texas State senior Alex Davalos.

Now, you can’t talk about ACL without talking about the food. One thing this festival has managed to nail is the quintessential quench of hunger. This year’s festival features over 30 food and beverage vendors including a barbecue lover’s favorite, The Salt Lick, which still uses a slow-cooking family method from the 1800s. Another favorite is the Austin based food truck, Mmmpanadas, that GQ magazine once rated “one of the 10 best food trucks in America”.

This food truck features scratch-made empanadas using entirely fresh ingredients.

Whether you came for the food, the fun or the music, you will certainly be back next year and the year after that.

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