ACL goes mobile


ACL Week

For newcomers and festival aficionados alike, the Austin City Limits Music Festival is a musical maze that can be difficult to venture. It is common to lose friends in a sea of middle-aged spectators laid back in their lawn chairs, or heading to the AMD stage to see guitar virtuoso Jack White and being swallowed by a line of beer guzzlers.

Although ACL’s mobile application cannot magically solve such problems, it’s built to make them and other problems easier to endure. The application offers multiple services: a day-to-day schedule organizer, map and group text. Here’s a brief how-to about using some of the app’s most useful features.

Schedule Organizer: In a matter of minutes the schedule organizer can put together your must-see acts for the day, along with 15-minute reminders prior to each act’s performance. If you attended this year’s or last year’s Lollapalooza music festival in Chicago, then ACL’s mobile app should look very familiar, since concert promotion company C3 handles both ACL and Lollapalooza.

“It’s nice to see how similar they are,” junior Alejandra Ramirez, who attended Lollapalooza last year, said. “Just like Lollapalooza’s mobile app, the ACL app allows me to organize my schedule as well as check out bands I have never heard before.”

With time to kill, users can check out a new band, look them up through the app and even visit the group’s website. Through ACL’s very own Slacker radio station, which is also a part of the app, festivalgoers can even listen to tracks from ACL artists.

Zilker Park Map: More than 350 acres, Zilker Park is a huge recreational area. And with 70,000 people attending ACL each day, getting through the park can be very strenuous. The mobile app’s interactive map, unlike a paper map, can pinpoint users’ exact location. The screen will refresh, showing users what they are close to and can even notify friends of the user’s location.

St. Edward’s University junior and ACL volunteer Brency Cuellar believes the app is an eco-friendly alternative to paper maps.

“The mobile map will definitely make it easier to help people that are lost,” Cuellar said. “Plus, using the mobile map saves the city money by cutting down on paper usage.”

Group Text: Mobile app users can send a group text to their friends whenever they get separated from each other. Messages are sent and received immediately, informing friends of each other’s whereabouts.

“The group text is the most helpful,” Ramirez said. “[During Lollapalooza] I could add my cousin who had the app too. This was cool because I didn’t have to scroll through other numerous contacts on my phone. I would send a message through group text and have a reply instantly.”

ACL Wristband Register: Beginning this year, ACL attendees will be able to register their festival wristband through the mobile app, or at multiple check-in sites at the festival. Registering your wristband allows you to receive a new one on-site if your old one gets damaged. It also gives you the opportunity to be a part of two contests: a three-day VIP upgrade and a VIP trip for next year’s ACL.

“Another cool feature is that whenever you run your wristband by one of our check-in sites, it will automatically update your Facebook status around the park,” C3 employee Lindsay Hoffman said. “There’ll be multiple check-in boxes throughout the park for you to update your status.”

The ACL app is not cluttered with information and it’s very user friendly. The only thing lacking is a transportation map. Fun Fun Fun Fest’s mobile app comes fully equipped with a transportation map, including various parking spaces and bus stops near Auditorium Shores, where the festival is held. Although there are shuttles that will take you to ACL, finding them could be difficult.

Festivals are always going to have problems that you cannot control. But at least with the mobile app, you’re much less likely to miss this year’s hottest acts or lose track of your friends.

Printed on Tuesday, October 9, 2012 as: App to alleviate festival confusion