2012 ACL Festival Preview

Photo by Ashley Garmon

It’s finally here! The week of the Austin City Limits Music Festival. Three days spent with around 70,000 of your closest friends in Zilker Park, listening to the varied tunes of over 100 bands on 8 stages. LiveMom is here to bring you artist and band profiles, live updates from the Festival and more! So, whether you are bringing the kids along for the ride, leaving them with the grandparents, or even if you are sitting ACL out this year (but want to keep tabs on all the bands performing there), we’ve got you covered. Oh, and if you didn’t hear the news and missed out on tickets this year, the Festival will be expanding to two weekends next year.

Here’s what we’ve learned both from attending ACL and from our friends and ACL experts. Please share any advice or thoughts in the comments below!


Getting Ready
If you haven’t already, you should download the mobile app. You can use it to check out the lineup, create your own schedule, use the interactive map (you can share your location with friends), listen to the ACL Slacker Radio station and set up a group to keep in touch with friends via GroupMe throughout the weekend. If you want to see what we are up to, you can check out our schedule and our Pinterest board.

What to wear
Of course, the biggest question mark is, what will the weather be like later this week? Fingers crossed the rain stays away, and I’m hoping that even if it warms up, temps won’t go above 90. Right now the forecast calls for highs of 90 degrees and partly cloudy skies.

If, like me, you have been holding out on buying fall clothes until Mother Nature decides it is really ready to be fall, you might be coming up empty when you open your closet. OK, in truth, I come up empty every time I need to venture outside of my normal t-shirt and yoga pants. But, I digress…

Thankfully, Michelle Rodriguez of Well Styled, who we featured way back in 2010, came to the rescue. Michelle recently expanded her business model to connect women with stylists across the country. Her goal is to connect you with a stylist who “understands your lifestyle, body frame, and budget and will make getting dressed a breeze”.

In ten minutes over the phone, and knowing my budget (ummm…minimal — I just threw out $200 for the three-day festival) Michelle offered the following suggestions from Old Navy and DSW:

For pants, Michelle suggested the Rockstar Super Skinny Jeans. In purple! Or teal. She also pointed out the Sweetheart Skinny Jeans in red. Michelle likes these because they are long hip friendly, trendy but practical and not too low rise. Also, the pockets in the back aren’t too small (in other words, they don’t accentuate the rear). I went in and tried some on, but just couldn’t get used to the tight fit, although I loved the idea of the colors.

For tops, Michelle suggested these color blocked crepe blouses. She pointed out that they are lightweight and longer in length, so you can bend down without worrying you are flashing some poor fellow concertgoer. She also liked the plaid flannel shirt (in yellow! She suggested I wear this paired with purple pants), the embroidered ¾ top sleeved shirts and the teal and fuschia pintucked tie-yoke tops. Michelle added that it would be good to pair these tops with a cool necklace that ended near the middle of your collarbone.


After trying on what was at my nearest Old Navy, I settled on the yellow plaid flannel shirt and a purple gauze top.

In terms of shoes, Michelle suggested a pair of Converse or comfortable flats. She walked me through the DSW website and suggested the Me Too Nini flat (which, alas, looks like it’s not available locally) and this Bandolino loafer.

Phew! Thanks to Michelle’s great advice, I won’t be tragically unhip this ACL!

What to bring
So now that clothing and shoes are out of the way, what else do we need to know about what to bring? Here is the official list of what you can and can’t bring, and here are what we’d suggest you pack:Advertisement

  • A backpack
  • Two sealed, non-glass water bottles up to 1 liter each (you can refill these at the stations at the Festival)
  • Cash for food and drinks
  • Sunscreen (yes, we are moms!) Note: Do keep in mind that aerosol sunscreen is not permitted.
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Kleenexes (for the inevitable point during the day that the portable toilets run out of TP)
  • A bandana which can serve multiple purposes and doesn’t take up much room
  • A blanket to sit on or one of those collapsible chairs (note that you can’t get one of the “double-wide” connecting chairs) — Academy is a great place to find these if you don’t already have some, although they likely will sell out later in the week
  • One of those fold-up rain ponchos if the forecast changes — you can always sit on it if you don’t use it for its intended purpose
  • A lightweight, yet easy to navigate stroller, if the kids are coming with (no red wagons are allowed)
  • If you plan to meet up, you should pick up a distinctive flag so you don’t have to worry about cell phone traffic congestion

You’ll need to leave your pets, food (usually you can bring in some kids’ snacks), coolers and large umbrellas at home.

Photo by Ashley Garmon

Parking/Getting There

If you haven’t been to ACL before, there are two entrances: one on Barton Springs and one on Stratford Drive (towards the northwest corner of the park). If there is any way to have someone drop you off and pick you up, that is the best option. The passenger drop-off area is at the north end of the Mopac (Loop 1) Pedestrian Bridge on Stephen F. Austin Drive next to Austin High School. The pedestrian footbridge runs underneath Mopac. This is the closest drop point to the Festival grounds. It is a short walk across the footbridge. Access the drop off point by entering Stephen F. Austin Drive, near Austin High, from the East. This is the only official drop off point. If not, now’s the time to find that friend who lives within three miles of Zilker who will let you park in his/her driveway or make your plans to take the shuttle.

If you can’t bum a ride, starting at 10:00am and ending at 11:00pm each day of the Festival, Capital Metro provides FREE shuttle service to and from Republic Square on 4th and Guadalupe.Do keep in mind that the lines are long if you wait to leave when the headliners finish.

Bike racks are available at each of the Festival Entrance gates, with plenty of lighting. The friends I talked to said this was a really nice and easy option. You do need to make sure you bring your own lock.

Good to Know

  • 3-Day AND 1-Day Passholders are allowed to enter and exit the festival as needed up to 5 times per day. You must be scanned upon exit at the gate in order to re-enter that same day.
  • If your childcare fell through or you think your kids are old enough to do it, children 10 years-old and younger will be admitted free of charge with a ticket-holding adult. If you do bring kids, take advantage of the free Tag-a-Kid service. When you arrive at Zilker Park, sop by the Tag-a-Kid booth where we will take down your contact information and give your child a specially numbered wristband. Should the two of you get separated, we’ll have a way to reconnect you.
  • Even if you haven’t been with kids before, you probably already know that ACL has you covered with Austin Kiddie Limits. There is a ton to entertain kids of all ages. One mom friend recommended setting up camp in the sand volleyball courts, as it’s a great central location, close to three stages and the food.

What else do you wish you had known when you went to your first ACL? Which bands are you looking forward to seeing? Will you be spending most of your time at Austin Kiddie Limits?

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://www.livemom.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/Nicole-Basham-Sara-Marzani-Photography-livemom.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]A native Austinite and soccer-playing mom, Nicole uses her 6-year-old son as an excuse to rediscover her hometown through his eyes. In Thoreau’s words, her mission is to “suck out all the marrow of life”, or in her son’s words, to cultivate in him a love of “advenchers”.[/author_info] [/author]

About Nicole Basham 793 Articles
A native Austinite and soccer-playing mom, Nicole uses her 10-year-old son as an excuse to rediscover her hometown through his eyes. In Thoreau's words, her mission is to "suck out all the marrow of life", or in her son's words, to cultivate in him a love of "advenchers".

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