Austin City Limits Music Festival

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Austin City Limits Music Festival
ACL Festival
Aclfestival logo.jpg
Austin City Limits Music Festival 2012.jpg
Austin City Limits Bud Light stage, 2012
GenreMusic festival
Location(s)Zilker Park
Austin, Texas, United States
Years active2002–present
Most recentOctober 4–6 & October 11–13, 2019
Next eventOctober 2020
WebsiteOfficial site

The Austin City Limits (ACL) Music Festival is an annual music festival held in Zilker Park in Austin, Texas on two consecutive three-day weekends. Inspired by the KLRU/PBS music series of the same name, the festival is produced by Austin-based company C3 Presents, which also produces Lollapalooza.[1] The reputation of the ACL television show helped contribute to the success of the first festival.

The ACL Music Festival has eight stages where musical groups from genres including rock, indie, country, folk, electronic and hip hop perform for fans. The concerts continue from 10 AM to 10 PM on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday during the festival with various stages spread out in the park. Approximately 450,000 people attend the festival each year.[2] In addition to the music performances, there are food and drinks, an art market, a kids area for families, and other activities for attendees.

Founded in 2002, the festival began as a one-weekend event and remained as such through the 2012 date. On August 16, 2012, Austin City Council members voted unanimously to allow the Austin City Limits Music Festival to expand to two consecutive weekends beginning in 2013.[3]


The Austin Eats food court in 2004.

The Festival's food court, called Austin Eats, was modeled after the Jazz Fest in New Orleans.[4] Austin Eats features vendors from local Austin restaurants an offers gluten-free and vegetarian options.[5]

The ACL Art Market features numerous art vendors and is located in the center of Zilker Park; all booths are open throughout the duration of the festival.[6]

Relationship to television series[edit]

The historic Austin City Limits television series focused for many years on Texas singer/songwriters, country and folk performers, and instrument specialists. That has changed as the award-winning television series now resembles the Festival lineup and spotlights artists of every musical genre from rhythm and blues to rock, jazz, and alternative. Now that the festival is an established destination, it brings major bands to the television show that might not otherwise have made the trip. In past years, Pearl Jam, My Morning Jacket, Wilco and The National have all performed for both the festival and the show.[7] Performers who have appeared on both the PBS show and the Festival in recent years have included:

International expansion[edit]

Auckland City Limits[edit]

In 2015 it was announced that the Auckland City Limits Music Festival would debut at Western Springs stadium in Auckland, New Zealand in early October 2016. The festival will showcase over 40 artists from a broad spectrum of musical genres, and highlight local culinary, artisans, festival fashion, an area for children, and a new festival forum for speaking on and exchanging cultural and innovative ideas.

Sydney City Limits[edit]

In spring of 2018 Sydney City Limits made its debut at Brazilian Fields and Parade Grounds at Centennial Park in Sydney, Australia. This festival was one day and featured 28 bands on four stages. It had many of the same activities as Austin City Limits such as Sydney eats, Sydney market, and Sydney kiddie limits.


2002 was the inaugural year of the festival. Unlike subsequent years, it was a 2-day event only. The festival, arranged by Charlie Jones and Charles Attal founders of C3 Presents, was thrown together in a matter of three or four months. The 2-day festival hosted 5 stages and 67 bands. One-day passes were $25. 42,000 people attended the event when only 25,000 were expected. The festival has grown every year since.


September 19–21 marked the second year for the ACL Music festival. With 100 bands performing, tickets increase to $65 for a three-day admission pass. Children under 10 were admitted for free when accompanied by an adult with a ticket.



Jack Johnson at ACL 2004

The 2004 festival took place on September 17, 18, and 19.

The 2004 festival had eight stages, and, on the second day of the festival, a top attendance of 75,000 people. This spike in attendance forced the festival promoters to lower capacity per the request of surrounding neighborhood associations.



The 2005 festival took place on September 23, 24, and 25.

The 2005 Austin City Limits Festival won Pollstar's Festival of the Year Award. This was also the infamous "Dust Bowl" year where dust kicked up by the festival crowd made it difficult for audiences to breathe. The following year, sprinklers were installed in Zilker Park to remedy this problem. Organizers reduced the daily capacity of the event by 10,000 fans because of neighborhood disputes in the previous years. Three-day passes were sold for $105.


Last minute replacement acts included:

Several acts were scheduled to appear, but cancelled due to transportation issues arising from Hurricane Rita, they included:


The 2006 festival took place on September 15, 16, and 17.

After sweltering heat in 2005, festival organizers attempted to relieve festival goers from the Texas sun by adding more misting and water stations and more tents for shade. Organizers also added a mobile phone texting feature to the festival. AT&T’s Blue Room offered options for fans to watch live streaming bands playing from the comfort of their own homes.

Ben Kweller suffered a nosebleed during his set. He attempted to stem the flow by inserting a tampon, thrown to him by an audience member, into his nostril. The tampon expanded painfully and then he removed it. Kweller performed two more songs until he had to leave the stage.[8] The next day when The Flaming Lips performed, lead singer Wayne Coyne asked the audience to throw tampons at him to help mop up his signature fake blood. It continued to rain tampons on the band for well over two songs.



The 2007 Austin City Limits Music Festival occurred September 14, 15, and 16 in Zilker Park. Several acts, including Amy Winehouse, The White Stripes and Rodrigo y Gabriela, cancelled their appearances at the festival due to health reasons, the latter two on very short notice. The scheduled performance by Saturday headliner, The White Stripes was replaced by moving already scheduled Muse into the headlining slot.

Other notable moments include Friday when a propane tank was ignited and a fire broke out in the service area, burning down two trailers and several port-o-potties. Four people who were working at the festival were injured, two of them seriously. A second fire broke out on the speaker stack at the AT&T stage during Björk's set, but it was quickly extinguished and no injuries were reported.[9]



The 2008 edition took place September 26–28, 2008.

Official lineup:


The 2009 festival took place on October 2–4, 2009. This year's festival is most commonly remembered as the one when torrential rains which started falling on Saturday afternoon turned the new grass turf into slick fields of Dillo Dirt mud.

Performers this year included:


The Strokes performing at Austin City Limits in 2010.

The 2010 festival took place on October 8–10, 2010. The performers included The Eagles, Phish, Muse, The Strokes, and M.I.A.

Official lineup:


ACL Festival celebrated its 10th Anniversary on September 16–18, 2011.[10] The official lineup was announced on May 17, 2011.[11]

Official lineup:


Austin City Limits took place from October 12–14, 2012. The official lineup was announced on May 22, 2012.[12]


For the first time, the Austin City Limits Music Festival was split across two weekends with matching lineups: October 4–6 and October 11–13, 2013.

Weekend 1[edit]

Official lineup:

Weekend 2[edit]

Due to heavy rains and flash floods, the festival was cancelled on Day 3 of Weekend 2.

Official lineup:


Austin City Limits Music Festival was held over 2 weekends: October 3–5 and October 10–12, 2014. It was listed in Forbes as one of 5 American Music Festivals to look forward to.[13]

Weekend 1[edit]

Official lineup:

Weekend 2[edit]

Official lineup:


Austin City Limits Music Festival was held over 2 weekends: October 2–4 and October 9–11, 2015. The lineup featured headliners Foo Fighters, Drake, the Strokes, Florence and the Machine, and the Weeknd.

Weekend 1[edit]

Official lineup:

Weekend 2[edit]

Official lineup:


Austin City Limits Music Festival was held over 2 weekends: September 30 – October 2 and October 7–9, 2016. The lineup featured headliners Radiohead, Kygo, Kendrick Lamar, Mumford & sons, and LCD Soundsystem.

Weekend 1[edit]

Weekend 2[edit]

official Lineup:


Austin City Limits Music Festival was held over 2 weekends: October 6–8 and October 13–15, 2017. The lineup featured headliners Jay Z, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Chance The Rapper, The Killers, and Gorillaz.

Weekend 1[edit]

official Lineup:


Austin City Limits Music Festival, Weekend 2 in 2018.

Austin City Limits Music Festival was held over 2 weekends: October 5–7 and October 12–14, 2018. The lineup featured headliners Paul McCartney, Metallica, Arctic Monkeys, Travis Scott, Odesza, and The National. Childish Gambino was forced to cancel his performance after a foot injury, and Justice was promoted from an earlier time slot to replace him as a headliner. Phoenix and Lil Wayne were also added to fill the empty time slots, with the former playing on the first weekend of the festival and the latter on the second weekend.

To display the lineup for a given Year/Weekend, click on the [show] link way over to the right. --->

Weekend 1[edit]

Weekend 2[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "C3 Presents". C3 Presents. Retrieved 2013-04-15.
  2. ^ "Austin City Limits Music Festival". Topo Chico USA. Archived from the original on 24 July 2016. Retrieved 3 August 2016.
  3. ^ "Council Approves Two Weekends of ACL Fest". Austin 360. Retrieved 2014-08-14.
  4. ^ "ACL Music Fest – Austin Eats: ACL's food court, 10 years later – Food – The Austin Chronicle". 2011-09-16. Retrieved 2014-07-21.
  5. ^ "2014 Austin Eats | ACL Music Festival | Oct. 3-5 & 10-12, 2014 | Zilker Park, Austin, Texas". Retrieved 2014-06-25.
  6. ^ "2014 ACL Art Market | ACL Music Festival | Oct. 3-5 & 10-12, 2014 | Zilker Park, Austin, Texas". Retrieved 2014-06-25.
  7. ^ "Artists | Austin City Limits". Retrieved 2014-06-25.
  8. ^ "Rolling Stone, ''The 10 Best Shows at Austin City Limits''". Retrieved 2013-04-15.
  9. ^ "Austin Music Source". Retrieved 2014-06-25.
  10. ^ "Austin City Limits Festival Celebrates 10th Anniversary". 2014-09-14. Retrieved 2014-08-14.
  11. ^ ACL 2011 Lineup Announcement
  12. ^ "Austin City Limits Festival Announces Schedule | News". Pitchfork. 2012-07-26. Retrieved 2014-06-25.
  13. ^ "5 American Music Festivals To Look Forward To". Forbes. 2014-10-05. Retrieved 2014-10-07.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 30°16′3.216″N 97°46′1.78″W / 30.26756000°N 97.7671611°W / 30.26756000; -97.7671611