Learn about the Austin City Limits Music Festival



It should come as no surprise that one of the most thrilling music festivals in the United States is hosted within the city borders of Austin, given that Austin is known as the Live Music Capital of the World. The Austin City Limits Music Festival is the thing that music fans’ dreams are made of, including two weekends’ worth of events on eight stages showcasing a broad mix of artists from a wide variety of musical genres. 

The long-running music-oriented television program “Austin City Limits” served as the inspiration for the founding of the Austin City Limits Music Festival in 2002 as a one-weekend event. 

The festival, which takes its name from a well-known music venue, continues to entice music lovers year after year, who are thrilled by the event’s captivating lineups of top-notch musicians. The event also has a wide variety of art sellers and delicious food counters, turning the experience of the festival into a food and music extravaganza.


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What City Is Austin City Limits In?

The Austin City Limits Music Festival does take place inside the boundaries of the city of Austin. The event is held at Zilker Metropolitan Park, which is located where Barton Creek meets the Colorado River. The expansive grounds of the festival, which are held beneath the huge Texas sky, are just a stone’s throw away from downtown Austin across the Colorado River. Every year, a map of Austin City Limits is made available, and on it, in addition to the stages, pinpoints the locations of the many food vendors, local activities, and other local attractions.

When is the Austin City Limits Music Festival?

Just in time for the start of the autumn season, the annual Austin City Limits music festival takes place over the course of two consecutive weekends during the first and second weeks of October of each year.

A Brief History of Austin City Limits Music Festival

  • Music enthusiasts Charles Attal and Charlie Jones came up with a brilliant plan in 2002 to launch a fall festival that was modeled after the illustrious Austin City Limits television series that was shown on PBS. The first-ever two-day Zilker Park gathering began on September 28, 2022, with 25,000 spectators per day with local band the Arc Angels as the event’s headlining act. The idea for the event developed in less than four months. 
  • The Austin City Limits Music Festival, also known as the ACL Festival, has gone a long way since it was first held in 2002. What started as a two-day event with a handful of artists has now expanded into a multi-day festival with over 130 bands performing over many stages. Since it first started, the event has been hosted once a year at Zilker Park, and its growth has been nothing short of remarkable since then. 
  • ACL Festival is now one of the most well-attended music festivals in the United States as a result of expansions made in 2006. The festival now spans three days and has a capacity of more than 70,000 people. As the size of the festival increased, it also began to draw a larger variety of musical genres to the event. These genres included country, electronic, hip-hop, as well as indie and alternative rock, amongst others. If you want to listen to country bands from Texas, we provided recommendations through our article, Country Bands from Texas You May Like.
  • In 2011, the festival was extended for a second time to a total of two weekends, enabling an even greater number of attendees to take pleasure in the live performances and festive environment of the gathering. In addition to the musical performances, the festival has evolved into an exhibition of local and regional cuisine, with dishes representing Texas’s diverse culinary landscape. 
  • The Austin City Limits Music Festival has established itself as a time-honored custom in the state of Texas. Every year, hundreds of people travel to Zilker Park with the hopes of getting a taste of the finest music and cuisine that the state has to offer during the annual Zilker Park Music Festival. From its humble origins to its current prominence as one of the major music festivals in the country, the ACL Festival has always been and will continue to be one of the most important musical events that take place in the United States.

When is the Austin City Limits Music Festival?

The Austin City Limits Music Festival was held again in 2022, which was the festival’s 20th anniversary. The Austin City Limits Music Festival (ACL Fest) takes place over the course of two weekends in October. The first weekend is October 7-9, and the second weekend is October 14-16.  The Austin City Limits Music Festival is set to take place on October 6-8 and October 13-15, 2023, marking its return for its 22nd year.

Austin City Limits Music Festival’s Cultural Influence

  • Since it first began in 2002, the Austin City Limits (ACL) Music Festival has grown to become a beloved tradition in the state of Texas. Over 450,000 people attend the festival every year, many of whom travel from far and wide to get a taste of the dynamic music, art, and culture that the city of Austin has to offer.
  • What was once a modest music festival has evolved into a cultural phenomenon that has made a significant contribution to the development of Austin as a city. 
  • The event has evolved into a point of civic pride for a significant number of Austin residents and has even been lauded in several well-known songs. It has evolved into a rite of passage for a significant number of young people, who travel from all over the nation to take part in the one-of-a-kind ambiance of the event. 
  • The event has also had a significant influence on the economics of the community. It is believed that the event generates more than $300 million in income each year, which helps to create jobs for residents and brings new businesses to the area. Additionally, the festival has been instrumental in elevating Austin’s profile as a destination of choice for music enthusiasts all over the world.

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Tips You Should Know if You’re Attending the Festival

Learn the Essentials of ACL Fest

If you’re going to be in Austin for the ACL Festival, it’s important that you have a basic understanding of when and where the festival takes place. Even if it is basic information, it is nonetheless beneficial to look at a map of the city and determine where you will be about everything else. Zilker Park is the location of the annual Austin City Limits festival, which takes place in October. Expect that some sections of the park and the roads in the immediate area will be blocked beginning in September so that preparations can be made.

Select the Best Modes of Transportation for ACL Fest

It is strongly recommended that you should not bring your car. Attendees of the ACL Festival will not be able to park at Zilker Park, and the parking lots of the nearby businesses will charge a significant fee for a spot. In addition, it is challenging to leave at the end of the night. If you are staying at one of the hotels in the area, you will be able to save some money and get some extra exercise by walking to the event. 

There will be a large number of Pedi cabs available to provide lifts, and if you want to spare yourself around a mile of walking, it would be worthwhile to invest a few dollars in one of these vehicles. At the festival, you should plan to spend the entire day standing.

Follow the Austin City Limits Guide & Rules at All Times

You are strongly encouraged to review all of the official guidelines before participating in the ACL event. Make sure you are aware of what items may be brought into the event venue and what items cannot be brought into the event site. Before you enter Zilker Park, your belongings, including your baggage, will be inspected. 

The very best piece of advice for ACL Fest, in all honesty, is to just leave your bag at home so you can avoid any potential hassles. You can attach your credit card to your wristband, carry a water bottle and a phone together with a small power pack, and connect your credit card to your bracelet. However, you are required to abide by their bag rules to bring a bag into ACL Fest.

Your Clothing at the Festival

When choosing what to wear to the Austin City Limits Music Festival, comfort should always be your top priority. Even in October, Austin can be quite warm, and if you get a 3-day pass, you can expect to spend dozens of hours on your feet during the weekend. Wear clothing that allows air circulation and is comfortable. 

It is important to keep in mind that you will spend the majority of your time standing and strolling from one stage to another. Additionally, the park is quite large, so make sure to wear a pair of shoes that are comfortable rather than high heels, boots, or sandals that are too flimsy. Be prepared for the area to be covered in muck and filth as well. 

It is highly recommended that you do not wear your most prized pair of shoes, as well as those exquisite bright white boots or sneakers because the dirt will go all over them. Be prepared for your shoes to taking a hammering since not only is the venue packed with people, but as soon as the music starts, everyone starts getting amped up.

Arrive at Zilker Park Early for the Festival

Although the majority of attendees don’t arrive until between 4 and 5 p.m., there are some fantastic performers scheduled for the earlier slots. If you want a more personal experience, you can get that by standing closer to the smaller stages. Then, if you feel like you need a break in the middle of the day, all you have to do is lie down and get some shut-eye on one of the park’s grassy areas. 

Arriving at the park at three o’clock in the afternoon is the perfect time to do so. If you want to arrive later in the day to see the big headliners, keep in mind that the queues at the entrances may be even more busy at this time, so be sure to allow extra time for that. Do not arrive thirty minutes before the start of the performance of your favorite artist; you may miss some or all of their set.

Consider Porta Potties Early

The porta toilets at the ACL festival are, in all honesty, very clean and well-maintained; however, because tens of thousands of people will be using them throughout the day, towards the end of the day they are going to get a little bit filthy. 

Bring a small amount of toilet paper with you, snag some from the porta potties at the beginning of the day before they run out and keep it in your pocket, or just attempt to find the porta potty that is the farthest away from where you are standing. 

Yes, it does appear to be quite straightforward; however, the vast majority of attendees only visit the nearest ones, which means that those become unsanitary the quickest. The few customers who travel to the ones on the ends of the row, on the other hand, find those to be the cleanest and best stocked.

Bring Your Bottled Water

Food and beverages brought in from outside are not permitted; however, there are food vendors from the Austin area located inside the venue from which you may purchase food to eat and water to keep yourself hydrated at a premium price.

Having said that, you should bring your water bottle that can be refilled. You may easily obtain a lot of free drinking water thanks to the numerous water refilling stations that are dispersed throughout the park.

Think About Bringing a Folding Chair or a Blanket

There is a segment of the audience that likes to remain standing throughout the performance; nevertheless, these individuals are typically the festival’s younger attendees. Additionally, there is a segment of the audience that delights in reserving a fixed location throughout the festival. armed with a blanket, a foldable chair, and a variety of everyday essentials such as sunscreen, drink bottles, and hats. Both of these approaches are wonderful ways to enjoy the event.

Where Can You Buy Tickets for the Festival?

Fans can now sell their tickets and buy other fans’ tickets online through Ticketmaster’s Verified Ticket Exchange. You can also utilize the exchange to resell your tickets if you previously acquired them but find that you are unable to attend the festival after all.

Accessing the Festival and Leaving It

Surprisingly, depending on the time of day that you go, taking rides to get to the festival itself isn’t a terrible idea at all. You will still be able to reach the festival gate on foot even if you are dropped off in a different part of Barton Springs. There are four different entries to the festival, with Barton Springs being the most frequented of the bunch. However, having four different entrances is helpful for those coming from either the North or the South. The East Entrance to Barton Springs is the most popular among visitors. 

Barton Spring’s West Entrance, which had shorter wait times, may be reached by following the trail that bears to the left. The line to go through security may be the shortest at the Lady Bird Entrance. It could simply rely on where you park your car, where you ride your bike, or where your ridesharing service takes you. 

Regarding the time that you leave the festival, you won’t be subject to exorbitant surcharges even if you leave the venue twenty minutes before the conclusion of the final set. Because the event concludes at 10 p.m., there is a crossover of attendees between those leaving the festival and those heading to the bars, which increases the cost of beverages.


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Facts About the Austin City Limits Music Festival You Did Not Know

  • An episode of a television program broadcast on PBS served as the inspiration for the creation of ACL.
  • ACL is produced by the same people who are responsible for Lollapalooza. “C3 Presents” is the name of the event management business that is responsible for organizing the Austin City Limits Music Festival. These people are also responsible for the yearly music festival known as Lollapalooza, which takes place in Chicago.
  • When ACL was only a little music festival in 2002, C3 Presents asked for $25 per wristband in exchange for each day’s worth of musical delights. That is a significant reduction from the present rate, which is $100 until they sell out, after which you are required to purchase wristbands at a higher price than they were originally sold for. Wristbands cost $25 per day to purchase at ACL I.
  • The ACL has experienced more than its share of unfortunate events. There is no such thing as a large-scale event that does not have its own set of challenges, but the ACL has faced some truly bizarre catastrophes over the course of its history, the majority of them were caused by the weather.
  • Supporting local artists, food vendors, and nonprofit organizations is at the heart of what ACL is all about. People visit ACL Fest for the music, but the event also promotes Austin’s flourishing art, food, and nonprofit communities through its ACL Art Market, ACL Eats, and ACL Cares programs. People come to ACL Fest for the music.

Tips for Getting the Most Out of the Austin City Limits Music Festival

  • Walk around the site on the first day to get a feel for where things like the stages, food, and water are located. This will also help you find the restrooms and water stations.
  • Taste some of the food that is offered at the venue. There is such a wide variety of delicious foods, from tacos to chili cheese fries to empanadas.
  • Relax and take in a show while you lay in the grass.
  • Apply some sunscreen and ensure that you have some way to cool off, such as a spray bottle or a fan, with you. Take care to avoid dehydration at all costs. Either get a water bottle that can be refilled or buy one. Find water refilling stations so that you may stay hydrated throughout the day.
  • The festival will end at ten o’clock at night, at which point you will be free to visit the bars located on the well-known Dirty 6th, Rainey St., or West 6th. Our group is particularly fond of Rainey and West, but if you’ve never been to Austin before, you really must pay a visit to the Dirty 6th neighborhood.


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Who will be performing at the Austin City Limits Music Festival?

The artists who will be performing at the Austin City Limits Music Festival in 2023 have been announced, and the headliners include rap superstar Kendrick Lamar, rock legends Foo Fighters, country music icon Shania Twain, and roots rockers Mumford & Sons. The Lumineers, Odesza, Alanis Morissette, and the 1975 will be performing at the festival over the second weekend. These four acts will complete the top line-up of musicians. 

Other notable artists that will be performing at Zilker Park include the Irish heartthrob Hozier, the Colombian American pop sensation Kali Uchis, and Yeah Yeah Yeahs. The pop star had a remarkable headline performance at ACL Fest 2009 when they were selected at the last minute to replace the Beastie Boys. Other notable artists that will be performing at Zilker Park include Hozier and Kali Uchis. Alongside Irishman Niall Horan and Swedish singer-songwriter Tove Lo, the lineup also includes singer-songwriter Maggie Rogers, British rapper and vocalist Labrinth, dream pop trio Cigarettes After Sex, and Irishman Maggie Rogers.

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The Austin City Limits Music Festival is an activity that brings together individuals from all over the world for them to enjoy the best of what Texas has to offer in terms of its music and culture. There is something for everyone at the festival, so it doesn’t matter if it’s your first time or you’ve been going for years. The Festival is a Texas classic that continues to energize and uplift Austin with its amazing music and distinctive art displays. It’s a fantastic way to discover the finest of the city because there is so much to see and do.

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