The official lineup for ACL is set to be released next Tuesday morning, so it’s time for the time-honored tradition of using exact science and probability to predict the lineup before it comes out. Using complicated formulas and hours of in-depth research, below with 99% accuracy is a breakdown of who to expect at the festival.
Outkast – The legendary rap group 20th anniversary reunion tour is stopping at major festivals around the world, and so far they have no Texas date listed. Since they’re not playing FPSF in Houston and are likely too big to play Fun Fun Fun Fest, the chances are that ACL will be the one chance Texans get to see them.
Jack White – He just headlined two years ago, but ACL has had no qualms of using repeat headliners lately. He has a new album on the way this summer and his summer tour hits Houston and Lubbock but skips Austin, which indicates that he’ll probably be back in October.
Beck – New album? Check. Popular ‘90s artist who is still relevant both critically & commercially? Check. Scheduled ACL taping with no other Austin date coming up? Check. Prior experience headlining ACL? Check. Beck will almost certainly play this year.
Arcade Fire – It’s been three years since they headlined, and since then they’ve only gotten bigger. They did just play Austin last week, but they also played The Backyard in May in 2011 before they headlined. Austin loves Arcade Fire, and the feeling seems to be mutual. Not as much a lock as the others but still very likely.
Lorde – She sold out Austin Music Hall in March, is playing Lollapalooza (also run by C3), and is a pop star who topped the alternative rock charts. She may not be a headliner, but she’ll be there.
Skrillex – He played ACL three years ago, and headlines both Coachella & Lollapalooza this year. While Calvin Harris or Zedd could possibly take this spot, chances are Skrillex will be ACL’s token electronic headliner this year.
The Replacements – I would have pegged them for Fun Fun Fun Fest, but there are a few rumors online indicating that they will make ACL their Texas stop instead. As a legendary ‘80s indie rock band, its not a bad fit for the festival.
Foster The People – Still not sure who likes this band, but enough people for SXSW to book them at Butler Park this year. Along with Coachella & Lollapalooza, ACL will most likely be a stop for them.
Childish Gambino – See Above, but deduct points for ACL not being very rap friendly.
The Avett Brothers – Here’s another ACL favorite that hasn’t played in two years, is playing Lollapalooza/Bonnaroo, and taps into the festival’s folk rock scene nicely. They’re also touring and playing dates in Texas/New Orleans but not Austin this spring as well.
Disclosure – The brothers from England played a sold-out show at Stubb’s in January and have a large crossover appeal. This would be a good way for ACL to appeal to the electronic fans/youth while also drawing in fans who typically avoid EDM.
Broken Bells – Between The Shins & Broken Bells, James Mercer has played ACL twice already since 2010. The Broken Bells album came out earlier this year, and while they played SXSW, it would make sense for them to come back where more people can have a chance at seeing them. There's also the Lollapalooza connection.
Classic Rock Headliner – Full disclosure (pun intended), I have no idea who this will be. Every year ACL has a headliner or two whose glory days were the ‘70s or ‘80s, and this year is hard to predict. Elton John is playing Bonnaroo, but last year Paul McCartney played there and not ACL. Fleetwood Mac has touring conflicts, and Tom Petty may not be bold enough. Bruce Springsteen is a possibility for this slot as well, since he has a new album out and is touring Houston/New Orleans this fall but not Austin. If he played, it would be a big get. In a perfect world, Prince would have this slot, but sadly, we don’t live in a perfect world. If ACL gets Outkast & Arcade Fire, they will likely be the big draws of the festival, making the classic rock headliner not quite as large as in years past where it was Stevie Wonder or Neil Young.
Best Guess – Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
Other probable acts: CHVRCHES, Chromeo, The 1975, Sleigh Bells, The Head & The Heart, Warpaint, Darkside, James Blake, Capital Cities, Little Dragon, The Naked & Famous, Cage The Elephant, Gary Clark Jr., Sam Smith, First Aid Kit, White Denim
Longshots that would be cool: St. Vincent, Damon Albarn, Chance The Rapper, Janelle Monae, Lauryn Hill, Pharrell, Nas, Lana Del Rey
Who do you think will play ACL this year? Sound off in the comments below.