Austin City Limits Fest

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

The Austin City Limits music festival started today. Barton Springs Road is now closed until early Monday morning, and while the traffic and the tents dotting Zilker Park are temporary, there is a part of the festival that will stick around.

Mengwen Cao

Austin City Limits returns today to Zilker Park for two three-day weekends, and as usual, with the hordes of soon-to-be flash-tatted music fans come some street closures, a heightened police presence, probably some unlicensed short-term rentals and considerable congestion in and around the park. So, here's some of the info you'll want if you're rushing to catch a mid-afternoon set or if you're just looking for a re-route on the way to your dry cleaners.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUTX

As quickly as it arrived, Austin City Limits Fest has come and gone.

So, with that in mind, we've put together a gallery of some of the best images, performances and moments of the fest captured by KUT and KUTX photographers.

You can view full photo albums of both ACL weekends, ACL aftershows and even Ditch the Fest on KUTX's Flickr page, or head over to for full coverage of the fest, including live performances from the KUTX sets at the Four Seasons.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUTX

This year’s Austin City Limits festival is over, but the Great Lawn at Zilker Park will remain closed for about a month, leaving enough time to remove stages, sod the lawn and complete other post-festival maintenance. But, after that, the lawn will close again ahead of the Trail of Lights, and the park will close again in January.

Austinites, especially those living near the park, have often complained about the traffic, crowds and park closures that come with the festival.

But, will a new, geographically-representative city council be as willing to make accommodations for special events?

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

ACL is here. That means – whether you’re a native Austinite or an out-of-towner – there will be traffic.

I-35, MoPac, Congress Avenue, Barton Springs, South Lamar and any other stretch of paved road remotely near the downtown area will likely begin to resemble a parking lot by the time things kick-off this weekend. While there's plenty of parking, we can pretty much guarantee that none of it will be free.

So, with that in mind, here’s a guide to help you get from point A to point B without getting behind the wheel.

It’s that time of year. The weather’s (kind of) cooling down and the vacation rental beds are about to warm up with music-loving out of towners.

Austin City Limits is upon us and while some may forego the fest, it’s safe to say many Austinites will join the revelry both at Zilker Park and downtown for the after-shows.

With that in mind, here’s a map of the street closures over the festival weekend and some of the parking spots in the downtown area suggested by the festival organizers and the City of Austin.

Ross Brown/

Calling it one of their most energetic lineups to date, the 13th annual Austin City Limits Music Festival also includes a blast of nostalgia.

Pearl Jam is headlining and The Replacements are top billed. Major hip-hop acts of the 2000s, Outkast and Eminem are also headliners. The festival also sees a significant number of electronic music acts with Calvin Harris and Skrillex headlining – and groups such as Major Lazer, Zedd, Phantogram, Chromeo and CHVRCHES in the big font. Beck rounds out the list of this year’s headliners.

Last year’s festival drew some criticism for a lack of female performers. However, this year’s top billing includes international superstars, Lana Del Rey and Lorde (though the latter will be for the second weekend only). Female acts such as St. Vincent, Iggy Azalea, Jenny Lewis, Nikki Lane, tUnE -yArDs and My Brightest Diamond also made the cut.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon, KUT News

Each year, KUT is fortunate enough to host traveling journalists from around the world. Recently arrived in Austin is Lorrencia Nkrumah, a broadcast journalist at Citi 97.3 FM in the Republic of Ghana. What follows are her thoughts on her first weekend in Austin. 

As a visiting journalist from Ghana, it is not surprising to wake up and find some parts of my capital Accra – or anywhere else, flooded. So when I came to the United States – and to Austin for the first time – I was a bit surprised by the rains that led to flooding in several areas.

In the midst of a multi- year drought, many locals were surprised too.

When Sunday of this year’s Austin City Limits Music Festival was canceled, concert promoters were widely congratulated for finding alternate venues for many of the day’s headliners.

But what about another collection of festival talent: the food vendors that kept crowds fed?

While Sunday headliners Atoms for Peace rocked a capacity crowd after a last-minute rescheduling – and Lionel Richie played for a lucky, select few – there were no rebookings for the nearly 40 food vendors at ACL’s Austin Eats food court. Instead, vendors were left to rely on their wits alone to salvage such a potentially devastating blow.

YNN Austin

Because of the weather, all of Austin Parks and Recreation systems trails are closed. Parks and Recreation also closed the Barton Springs Pool because of flooding, and all of Austin's golf courses are also closed. The Austin Police Department is urging limited driving on roads. 

Extreme flooding also impacted the Travis County wastewater lift station. It spilled 500,000 gallons of wastewater earlier this morning. The lift station, located at 4504 Travis Country Circle, has been repaired by Austin Water crews. Austin Water urges residents to avoid the area's creeks, though Austin Water's drinking water supply isn't affected.

Mary Kang, KUT

The Austin City Limits Music Festival isn’t the only production put on by parent company C3 Presents. In addition to booking and promoting Austin concerts throughout the year, C3 also puts on Chicago’s annual Lollapalooza music festival.

Like ACL, Lollapalooza is hosted on public parkland, requiring a contract with the city. So how do the contracts compare? KUT scoured C3’s deals with Austin and Chicago to find out.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon, KUT News

Update: The final Sunday of ACL's second weekend has been canceled due to weather.

For more, including information on refunds see: Heavy Rains Soak Austin, Central Texas; ACL Festival Cancels Final Day  

Update (Oct. 11): Traffic could be a bigger problem in the Austin area for weekend two of the Austin City Limits Music Festival. Road closures around Zilker Park and Republic Square Park will be in place just like last weekend (see below). But the highways may also be packed.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon, KUT News

If you’ve been to Austin City Limits Music Fest, you’ve seen them. And while they’re not the band, they are on stage and they are very talented, in their own way.

They've worked with everyone from Wu-Tang Clan to Green Day, from Black Sabbath to Jack White. They even braved the harsh cold of President Obama’s 2012 inauguration this past January.

They’re the sign language interpreters of LotuSIGN, and you can find them emphatically interpreting bands' lyrics and sounds at performances across the country. And while there’s plenty of air guitar and air piano, LotuSIGN means business.


Update: Austin City Limits Music Festival organizers just announced tickets are officially sold out for their second weekend. But tickets are still available on the secondary market, although they're selling fast there too.

Reseller StubHub currently has tickets left. Tickets for ACL’s second showing are also still for sale on Craigslist, with most passes going for well under the festival’s $225 face value. Austin City Limits Music Fest kicks back off this Friday.

Original story (Oct. 4): Don’t have tickets for the 2013 Austin City Limits Music Festival? Surprisingly, you’re in luck.

Jenna Macaroni

When you were in high school, wouldn’t you have loved to have a cool band play in your gym? I remember trying to get the band Karp to play my high school in the 1990s, but the teacher who sponsored the student council balked once he heard what they sound like. Instead, they spent the money on a Top 40 video dance party with fog machines. 

But last night, Anderson High School in Austin ISD did what my high school could never do: They hosted a secret show for the French dance-rockers Phoenix. (While considerably more accessible than any post-hardcore band, it's a remarkable achievement nonetheless.)

“Seriously how the hell does Anderson book Phoenix to play a gig at their school and Pflugerville gets Granger Smith #injustice,” tweeted one envious teen.

“Phoenix at Anderson? Lucky bastards,” said another.

Indeed. So, how did it happen?

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon, KUT News

Anyone that’s attended the Austin City Limits Music Festival understands the importance of the weather over the weekend. You might remember the dustbowl year, or the Dillo Dirt mud-fest.  While Friday was hot and humid, Saturday’s cooler temperatures ushered a forgotten sensation into town. And the change seemed to be all anyone could talk about.

KUT News

No more leaks: the full Austin City Limits Music Festival lineup is out. 

Sure, British rock band Muse had accidentally confirmed their performance during an interview with a Montreal radio station. Over the weekend other band names like Portugal. The Man, Neko Case and D’Angelo appeared on beer coozies and Topo Chico bottle caps around town. And last week cheeky ads were placed in the Austin Chronicle (“For a little Fun. Call 555-ACL-FEST”).  But just after midnight this morning, the full lineup was finally unveiled.

Google Maps

Auditorium Shores is a step closer to closing for a year.

Today, the Austin Parks and Recreation Board voted to recommend that City Council approve a plan to upgrade the park with a $3.5 million donation from an Austin-based event planning company C3 Presents. You can watch that meeting online

Beth Cortez Neavel for KUT News

Part of Zilker Park’s Great Lawn is back open for public use—but only for a couple of weeks.

The entire Great Lawn had been closed since Oct. 1 in preparation for the Austin City Limits Music Festival. It’s remained closed for maintenance after the festival.

Now, the southwest portion of the Great Lawn and the volleyball courts are back open. But the areas will be closed again starting Nov. 19 for setup for the Trail of Lights Festival.

Tamir Kalifa for KUT

"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.