Austin City Limits Fest

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.

Tamir Kalifa for KUT

The 2012 Austin City Limits Music Festival concluded last night. 

KUT Austin was out at Zilker Park all weekend. Take a look at our photos from the festival grounds, along with more photos from Friday morning's KUT Live at the Four Seasons concert featuring Quiet CompanyFirst Aid KitJovanotti and Antibalas.

Ihwa Cheng for KUT News

Mondays are typically one of the busiest days at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. And officials say today will be especially busy—as folks who were in town for the Austin City Limits Music Festival head out.

ABIA officials are expecting longer-than-normal security waits—as much as an hour long. To have time to check in and go through security, the airport is asking everyone to arrive at least two hours ahead of their scheduled flight.

Tweets from early-morning travelers are confirming the airport's predictions:

"Airport is insanely busy today .. Like 400 people waiting in security ..," tweeted @austin_dsouza.

Sean C. Murphy for KUT News

With 70,000 people making their way there each day, you can expect heavy traffic this weekend as people head down to the Austin City Limits Music Festival

Big delays around ACL host Zilker Park are a given. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Catch the Bus: Roads will also be closed around Republic Square Park at Fifth Street and Guadalupe Street to make room for Capital Metro's free ACL Shuttle at downtown. The shuttle drops off at ACL’s doorstep in Zilker Park.
KUT Austin

If you couldn’t tell already from the hum in the streets, the 2012 Austin City Limits Music Festival is here.

KUT kicked things off at the Four Seasons this morning, hosting a concert featuring four ACL performers: Austin rockers Quiet Company, the Swedish folk sisters of First Aid Kit, Tuscan vocalist Jovanotti and Afrobeat ensemble Antibalas.

Naturally, KUT was on hand to document the performances. Here's two videos from this morning.

With woolly traffic expected this weekend, city officials are reminding Austin drivers that texting while driving is banned under city law.

Texting while driving is a class C misdemeanor, which means offenders could face up to a $500 fine. And smart phone users should know that all "electronic messaging" is banned. That means no email, no Facebook, no ACL Festival iPhone app, and especially no Words With Friends behind the wheel.

Police Chief Art Acevedo asked drivers to be especially aware of pedestrians around Zilker Park this weekend, which, of course, is hosting the Austin City Limits Music Festival this weekend. Acevedo says crashes are likely to happen when texters look up from their phones and overcorrect.

To remind drivers not to text, Acevedo sported an orange thumb band, and encouraged others to do the same. 

flickr.com/kevharb

The 2012 Austin City Limits Festival is less than 24 hours away.

Thousands of ACL attendees are probably compiling lists of bands to see, foods to eat, and places to go. But it's going to be a challenge: There's over 100 different acts performing at the festival, close to 40 different vendors serving all types of food and drink, and tons of events and parties going on all over downtown Austin.

While we can’t put your list together for you, maybe we can help you get started.

Here's some picks compiled by KUT's Austin Music Matters team: 

From Susan Castle, KUT Music Host:

KUT News

The Austin Parks and Recreation Department has lifted the burn ban for all city parks. Department Director Sara Hensley cites recent rainfall and improving drought conditions for the change.

No more burn ban means grilling is now allowed in designated areas. Campfires are only allowed at Emma Long Metropolitan Park.

The city reminds everyone that fires should never be left unattended and should be fully extinguished when not in use. The city says a source of water should also be kept nearby.

Naturally, you won't be able to grill or build a campfire at Zilker Park during the Austin City Limits Music Festival. But more importantly, you also won't be able to smoke there.

Tyler Pratt, KUT News

We heard it in August, when City Council unanimously voted to let city council negotiate an ACL two weekender with C3. Then we hear it on Monday, when ACL announced it had created a two-weekend ACL Festival. Well, in case there was a shadow of a doubt that it wouldn't happen, Mayor Lee Leffingwell announced today that ACL was indeed getting expanded.

Leffingwell doted on ACL for bringing in "a hundred thousand visitors with over a hundred million dollars in economic impact to our city every year," and creating over 1,400 jobs.  

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

What's the Impact of All Those Events at Zilker & Auditorium Shores?

The Austin City Council is scheduled to discuss today a resolution that would direct the City Manager to study the impact of events at Zilker Park and Auditorium Shores.

Last week, council members approved expanding the Austin City Limits Music Festival to two weekends next year. The festival organizer, C3 Presents, promised to pay not only fees for the use of Zilker but also an unspecified sum of money to upgrade Auditorium Shores.

C3 Presents also organizes the Austin Food and Wine Festival at Auditorium Shores. Attendees at this year’s event complained the festival was “dusty” after grass was worn down to dirt from a previous event at the park.

Sean Murphy for KUT News

The Austin City Council just voted unanimously to allow C3 Presents to expand the Austin City Limits Music Festival at Zilker Park to two weekends next year.

The resolution states that City Manager Marc Ott is encouraged “to negotiate and execute an agreement with C3 Presents to include an additional weekend event for the Austin City  Limits Music Festival,” beginning next year.

The resolution had included language that would allow for adding additional event days at Auditorium Shores but council members decided to take that part out – likely owing to controversy over whether a Formula One-related concert would be allowed at Auditorium Shores the weekend of a major Junior League of Austin fundraiser.

Wells Dunbar, KUT News

Austin City Council members voted 5-2 last night to pass a plan that regulates short term rental properties.

The plan puts no limit on the number of short term rentals that are owner-occupied. But council members put a cap on the percentage of homes per census tract that can be used primarily as short term rentals. All short term rental homeowners will have to register with the city and pay hotel tax.

Council members Laura Morrison and Kathie Tovo, who had been pushing for an outright ban on rentals that aren’t the renters' primary residence, voted against the regulations.

flickr.com/kevharb

The release of the 2012 Austin City Limits Music Festival’s schedule grid wasn’t the only big Austin City Limits news today: Music festival producers are in talks with Austin officials to extend the popular three-day event by an extra weekend starting next year.

C3 Presents, the company that produces ACL Fest and other big events nationwide, would also donate some of the increased revenue it would gain each year, in addition to the amounts they already give, to help improve Austin parks.

“We’ve been discussing working with Auditorium Shores for almost two years,” Austin Parks and Recreation Director Sara Hensley tells KUT News. “It’s dusty, it’s truly muddy, there’s no grass there. For me, it’s just an opportunity to take a park area that’s just heavily used and make it a lot better and a lot more vibrant for the community and visitors.”

Photo by Paul Woodruff for KUT News

Red Hot Chili Peppers lead the line-up of artists and bands performing at this year’s Austin City Limits Music Festival. The official list was released this morning.

Neil Young and Crazy Horse, The Black Keys, Jack White, and Florence + The Machine are the other headliners.

The festival is October 12-14 this year.

The Complete Line-Up:

  • Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • Neil Young and Crazy Horse
  • The Black Keys
  • Jack White
  • Florence + The Machine
Photo by KUT Austin; lotto image courtesy aclfestival.com; graphic by Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

The 2012 lineup for the Austin City Limits Music Festival will be announced tomorrow. But, thanks to festival promoters and some silver-fingered Austinites, we’ve gotten a few previews of the lineup.

Over the weekend, festival fans started buying lotto-style scratch tickets for a chance to win passes and more. The tickets also revealed the names of attending bands. Each of the following bands were featured on the tickets, confirming their appearances at ACL this October (barring any cancelations, of course):

  • Quiet Company, Punch Brothers, Steve Earle, Bon Iver, Alabama Shakes, Freelance Whales, Kimbra, Barrington Levy, Jack White, Black Keys, Andrew Bird, Esperanza Spalding, A-Trak, Zola Jesus (via diffuser.fm)
Photo by Jeff Heimsath for KUT News.

Austin got its long-awaited glimpse at the new Willie Nelson statue on Friday.

The April 20th unveiling of the statue was captured by photographer Jeff Heimsath for KUT News. On hand for the commemoration of the eight-foot tall, one-ton statue was the Red-Headed Stranger himself, who treated the audience to a song.

Mark Britain/flickr

Texas Prisons Hard Up for Execution Drugs?

Texas state prisons are running low on a key execution drug, according to a report released Tuesday. According to the Austin American-Statesman, state prison officials say there is enough of the drug to continue with six executions that are scheduled over the next four months.

Photo courtesy flickr.com/starbright31

It’s safe to say a music-loving town like Austin’s familiar with Bon Iver, the folk-tinged indie band fronted by Justin Vernon. But that might not be the case for the public at large.

Bon Iver has made numerous stops in Austin: at South by Southwest, the Austin City Limits Music Festival, and most recently, a performance at the Long Center. (KUT is a fan as well.)

Nationally, Vernon’s stature has grown since appearing on Kanye West’s platinum-selling “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy”, and Bon Iver’s self-titled 2011 album was named album of the year by numerous critics, including music-review site Pitchfork.

But for many, Vernon’s Grammy win for “Best New Artist” last night was the first many had heard of him. And moments after his acceptance speech, the confusion took to Twitter, with hilarious results.

Photo by Sean Murphy

Bastrop County Complex Fire Update

Bastrop county officials say the Bastrop County Complex fire was 95 percent contained as of Sunday. Officials released The Bastrop County Complex Fire Factsheet on the county's Office of Emergency Management Facebook page.

Austin City Limits Festival 2011

Yesterday rounded out  the last day of the ACL festival. If you were not part of the 75,000 people there each day, KUT's Texas Music Matters has reviews of the headlining acts. Here is just a handful:

Photo by Sean Murphy

The city really, really doesn’t want you to smoke if you plan to attend the Austin City Limits music festival. Austin Parks and Recreation director Sara Hensley even said “please” during a news conference this morning. But there will be no parks rangers at the festival, and ACL organizers’ private security guards may not be actively hunting down those who do light up.

“We’re not going after the smokers,” Austin Parks and Recreation spokesman Victor Ovalle clarified on the telephone this afternoon. “We’re asking them to please help comply with the smoking and the fire ban in the park.”

“We’re really not trying to ruin anyone’s experience,” he said.

Because the smoking ban in parks is not a city ordinance, people can’t be fined for lighting up. But they can be asked to leave the park. If the smoker refuses, he or she could be issued a criminal trespass notice and be banned from city parks for a year.  

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