Now that the dust has settled (literally), let’s take a moment to reflect on ACL 2016. This year, festival managers went for a younger crowd and the music skewed heavy on EDM. I wandered around and saw a number of bands, Catfish and the Bottlemen, Melanie Martinez and Cage the Elephant all played fabulous sets, full of energy and showmanship.
This year, I didn’t have a must-see band, so honestly, I went because I had a Top Trip Rentals VIP pass and I LOVE the VIP area of ACL. If you have the money, (about $450/day vs. $100/day) it is so worth it. Here lies the promised land, just beyond the VIP gatekeepers–air conditioned flush toilets, free drinks from Tito’s Vodka and Troublemaker Wines, free food from local vendors like Ranch 616 and catered meals from Central Market. It’s called the “Grove” and it’s shady, and relatively quiet and has big-screen TVs set up for football and others showing the stages. It’s an oasis for sure in a sea of people and heat.
There are moments of pure transcendence at ACL, and for me, ironically, I end up spending as much time watching the crowds and clouds, as I do the bands. Don’t get me wrong, the music is great. But, Austin has a lot of great music happening at all hours in all places across town.
What makes ACL such a great place to experience music is the setting. ACL is set up in Austin’s Zilker Park, on the edge of Town Lake, with a great view of Austin’s ever changing skyline across the river. It’s really a gorgeous site.
ACL is coming up fast. And that means, time to pick your favorite bands. Every year we go, it’s so hard to pick between acts when there are two equally interesting bands playing at the same time in opposite ends of Zilker Park where ACL is held. And it’s impossible to run between stages (well, it can be done but not easily) during performances to try to see two acts at once. The only way to manage your band picks is through a careful review of the ACL website lineup page that includes bios and videos, then download the app and set up your schedule.
What are Top Trip Rentals’ staff members psyched about? Here’s a few of our recommendations.
Sandra’s Top 5:
Mumford & Sons
Rebecca’s Top 5:
Band of Horses
Rene’s Top 5:
Nathaniel Rateliff and the Nightsweats
Quaker City Night Hawks
Corrine Bailey Rae
Cara’s Top 5:
As you can see, a real mix of bands and styles from our crew at Top Trip Rentals, but we guarantee, you won’t find a bad band at ACL. And if you’re not much of a planner, wandering the park and staying at a stage that sounds interesting could yield a great new find.
And finally, the kind folks at ACL put together a great “tips” guide that includes an FAQ for getting the most out of the Festival, now in its 15th year. Read this to learn more details like how to get from downtown to Zilker, what items you can and cannot take, and more info on programs happening in addition to music during the event.