The Austin City Limits (ACL) Music Festival is an annual music festival held in Zilker Park in Austin, Texas on two consecutive three-day weekends. Inspired by the PBS concert series of the same name, the festival is produced by Austin-based company C3 Presents, which also produces Lollapalooza. The reputation of the ACL television show helped contribute to the success of the first festival.
The ACL Music Festival has eight stages where musical groups from genres including rock, indie, country, folk,electronic and hip hop perform for fans. Approximately 450,000 people attend the festival each year. In addition to the music performances, there are food and drinks, an art market, a kids area for families, and other activities for attendees.
Founded in 2002, the festival began as a one-weekend event and remained as such through the 2012 date. On August 16, 2012, Austin City Council members voted unanimously to allow the Austin City Limits Music Festival to expand to two consecutive weekends beginning in 2013.
Austin is known for its food, and the festival is no different. Austin Eats is the name of the festival food court that was modeled after the Jazz Fest in New Orleans. Austin Eats features all of Austin’s finest restaurants and caters to each individual festivalgoer. With gluten-free and vegetarian options, this food is far from funnel cakes and turkey legs. Restaurants featured include Torchy’s Tacos, Stubbs B-B-Q, and Amy’s Ice Creams, all local Austin favorites. All vendors accept cash and there are ATMs located around the facility. Recycling bins are provided and festivalgoers are encouraged to be conscious when disposing of their food wastes.
Festivalgoers are given unique opportunities to give back to the community during their time at the festival. ACL Cares is a section of the festival that supports good causes and encourages support from the thousands of attendees of the festival. Organizations like KLRU and The Nature Conservancy have been involved in past years. ACL Cares aims to make a difference in the local Austin community and beyond.
ACL ART MARKET
Local artists have a unique creative and business opportunity to showcase their talent at the ACL Art Market. This section of the festival aims to support local artists as well as give the festivalgoers the opportunity to walk away from the festival with more than a T-shirt. The market is located in the center of Zilker Park and all booths are open throughout the duration of the festival.
RELATIONSHIP TO TELEVISION SERIES
The historic Austin City Limits television series focused for many years on Texas singer/songwriters, country and folk performers, and instrument specialists. That has changed as the award-winning television series now resembles the Festival lineup and spotlights artists of every musical genre from rhythm and blues to rock, jazz, and alternative. Now that the festival is an established destination, it brings major bands to the television show that might not otherwise have made the trip. In past years, Pearl Jam, My Morning Jacket, Wilco and The National have all performed for both the festival and the show.