Another ACL Fest In the Books
For those expecting a weekend in Zilker Park marked by hellish heat, long lines waiting for buses, choking clouds of dust or puddles of dillo dirt: we regret to report that based on our conversations, the 10th iteration of the Austin City Limits Music Festival will not be remembered for anything more dramatic than remarkable music. And the all too brief appearance of something known in other parts of the world as “rain.”
Friday morning brought the first few drops during opening sets by Asleep at the Wheel and Theophilus London, who almost missed his chance on the big stage. Highlights of the three day music festival included Seattle’s Brandi Carlile with an elegant set that meshed perfectly with the Austin crowd. Also, Austin resident Sam Beam, better known as Iron & Wine, put on a stirring, eclectic show with a full band including horn section.
Also memorable: California rockers Foster the People who’s performance on one of the smaller stages drew a teeming throng of at least ten-thousand people. As part of Foster the People’s appearance, the band brought in what they called the “Do Good Bus” to raise money for texas wildfire relief and the red cross. They raised more than 15 thousand dollars—a sum to be doubled by a matching pledge from ACL Fest promoters C3 Presents.
By Saturday morning, C3 declared ACL fest ‘sold out’, with the final tickets for Sunday getting snapped up. As a consolation prize of sorts, people could watch the festival from anywhere in the world on You Tube for the first time, through a special ACL Fest music channel.
But not all the music was on the 8 big stages. Backstage, at a specially built sound booth, bands like The Head and the Heart performed live mini-sets for KUT.
The statewide burn ban which won much attention in the run up to ACL Fest seemed to get some respect on Friday, but as light rain came down intermittently through the weekend, cigarettes and lighters came out. There were no reports of any related incidents.
Disappointments? Perhaps the one most talked about was weak sound for headliner Stevie Wonder, who performed a parade of his hits for those close enough to hear it. Many others gave up and followed the electric thump from the big stage across the field to see My Morning Jacket. Other dueling headliners included Kanye West (who magically emerged from the middle of the audience to take his place onstage) and Coldplay.
Though quite flat, the grass of the great lawn was still quite green and remarkably full by the time Arcade Fire closed it all down Sunday night. With music still in the air, a gentle breeze blew across the park and, against the spotlights, you could make out the silhouettes of the scaffolding already folding down as the circus left town to return next September. Speculation about next year’s line up begins right about now.