The Austin City Limits Music Festival (ACL) featured some familiar names but maybe too familiar; the only one I was really looking forward to seeing again was The National. Which is why I wasn’t in a hurry to buy an overpriced ticket this year. When the second weekend rolled around and a friend of mine had a spare 3 day pass, we made a deal and I got to go.
There were some new-to-me shows that I experienced and enjoyed including: Haim, Kaskade and Junip. Incidentally, I don’t want to write this post about music but about something in particular from this year’s festival. Something that goes beyond the amazing addition of the craft beer tent or the feeling of falling rain while the beat drops during Kaskade. During a great show from Grimes on Saturday, three people were pushing their way through the crowd. They stopped right in front of our group. I am not sure of their age but know they were young and it was evident that one girl “very far gone on some sort of substance.” She stumbled back and forth, bumping into everyone, even as she tried to stand still. Her friends, one of which I think was her sister, were not recognizing that this girl needed a break. She needed some shade and space and water. Then the thing happened, the thing that this stumbling, mumbling girl did not need – the two people she was with, left her. No one in my group could believe that she had been abandoned.
My group was made up of two couples and another couple guys that I had met just the day before, Friday of ACL. The seven of us stuck together and were there not just to enjoy the shows but to enjoy each other enjoying the shows. The girl being left behind, drove home the point that FRIENDS HELP FRIENDS. Had any one of us been in a similar situation, we would have made sure that person was taken care of. I can say I know this because we did have a couple close calls, where members of our group had maybe partied too hard. We made sure they had what they needed and cared for them. I truly hope that what I saw on Saturday was an anomaly and most people stick together and help each other in a time of need.
Sunday was rained out due to massive amounts of rain on Saturday night, meaning flooding, meaning I missed The National. Props to those few bands that did manage to play indoor shows throughout the city on Sunday. Though I was bummed to miss The National, I understand the need to cancel the final day of the fest. Many people in Austin had their homes or cars flooded; much bigger than whether or not I got to see a particular band.
Question now is whether ACL will do one or two weekends next year. Though, potentially more people get to experience the fest with two weekends, I know several folks that went twice. Additionally, I am curious how they made out financially with the prices dropping significantly from the first weekend to the second. I also think that so many festival details, that make ACL such a great fest, seemed to fall through the cracks. Maybe C3 has spread themselves too thin.