Enjoying ACL is contingent upon surviving ACL. Newcomers to ACL interested in experiencing one of the greatest music events that Austin has to offer should consider the following advice:
1. Irksome itineraries
“It’s really fun to jump around between concerts. That being said, the distance between the stages is kind of big sometimes, and there are a lot of people, so plan where you want to go ahead of time,” communication studies junior Daniel Athey said.
With headliners like Jack White, Red Hot Chili Peppers and The Black Keys drawing the largest crowds, nabbing the perfect seat for a particular show can be a tricky feat and will likely require fans to wait several hours in advance at a stage. A loose itinerary can ensure optimal music intake and prevent missing a particular show. Fans equipped with smart phones should download ACL’s mobile app, which can help with scheduling.
“Don’t feel bad about missing a band that you wanted to see, because it’s worth it just to see the most that you can. It’s what you can see, not what you can’t see,” Plan II freshman Sam Trejo said.
2. Tackling Transportation
“Don’t drive. Take a bus or walk. It’s impossible to get out afterwards with a car,” Plan II and business freshman Akshay Jotwani said.
Especially because environmental awareness is at the heart of the festival’s intentions, lugging around a four-ton hunk of metal might be more of an inconvenience than it’s worth. The available parking for cars near the park is sparse and subject to fees.
Shuttles will run each day from 10 a.m. until 11 p.m. between Republic Square (Fourth and Guadalupe streets) and Zilker Park. Taking the shuttle, riding a bike or even walking are all perfect ways of reducing the festival’s carbon footprint and departing conveniently.
3. Evading Ear Damage
Depending on your proximity to the stage, earplugs might be a worthy investment. Remember that musicians wear earplugs and often recommend their loyal listeners to do the same.
While a cheap pair of earplugs only protect against 30 decibels, it can knock the volume down to levels that don’t cause permanent ear damage and can clarify the music by filtering out the sound of the crowd.
4. Wacky Weather
Hope for the best, prepare for the worst. Keeping an eye on the weather forecast for ACL weekend will give fans a better idea of how to arm themselves against the elements. Whether it’s rain or shine, the three-day show will go on.
“The water stations exist for a reason, and that’s because people faint and have health problems every year from dehydration. Don’t be one of them,” Athey said.
On a given day at ACL, 70,000 fans will funnel into the gates bordering Zilker Park. With such a concentrated group of people all trying to access mobile networks at the same time, cell phone reception is going to be dodgy. Expect to be separated from your friends and establish a meeting area ahead of time that can be easily spotted from a distance.
“Many people take poles or balloons so friends can spot them out easily,” advertising sophomore Victoria Zapata said.
Above all, first-timers at ACL should strive to learn from their mistakes. However, avoiding the most common pitfalls of ACL will only improve upon an experience that is already guaranteed to entertain.