"The people of Austin are overwhelmingly friendly, warm and open to the acceptance of other cultures."
That's one takeaway from visiting Pakistani journalist Samreen Ghauri, who attended the Austin City Limits Music Festival this weekend. Below, read Samreen’s thoughts about ACL, Austin’s role as the “Live Music Capital,” and how music can help bridge cultural divides.
The annual Austin City Limits Music Festival actually has no limits. No limits to the fun, music, and food, but more importantly, no limit to the company of loved ones. The festival truly depicts the American way of life: enjoying life with a full sprit and enthusiasm.
I easily connected with the festival, because in Pakistan we have similar events. I belong to a traditional eastern society that has a rich cultural and musical heritage. In our society, music is a large part of daily life: at religious occasions, social events and cultural gatherings, music is always on.
At ACL, I found different shades of social life. People from every walk of life, age, culture and ethnicity got together and extended cooperation and acceptance, which can lead to social harmony and peace.
Outside of the ACL event space at Zilker Park, I found many artists playing different types of musical instruments, showing their talent. There I saw a banner that read “Support Live Music.” I think these sorts of artists should be allowed to be part of ACL, because they’re showing the talent and promise of live music.
We people of Pakistan believe that music is food for the soul, a language of love and peace which today’s world is highly in need of. Music helps define each nation’s culture and identity; music and culture helps project soft power and a softer image of a nation. Neglect of music and entertainment leaves an undesirable vacuum, often filled by unwelcome influences.
Cultural development in the realm of arts, and especially in music, is of vital importance to any nation. Austin is known as “Live Music Capital of the World.” It’s a point of pride and a privilege, and shows that the people of Austin are overwhelmingly friendly, warm and open to the acceptance of other cultures.