Austin City Limits, produced by C3 Presents is back! The only thing we didn't miss was this Texas heat. Taking place at Zilker Park, located just miles away from downtown Austin, Zilker is a massive landscape with a beautiful view of downtown Austin. The heat was deadly, but ACL did a great job providing cooling fans, shaded areas, water stations, and more to keep everyone safe. This is one of our favorite festivals because of the musical diversity C3 brings to the lineup. There was tons of great music all weekend long from hip-hop, EDM, pop, and Reggaeton. ACL kicked off last weekend, Friday, October 1 to Sunday, October 3. Since the lineups almost mirror each other for both weekends, you can use this recap as a way to see who you should check out weekend 2, kicking off today.
Friday, October 1st was day one of ACL with tons of great acts to see. Gates were supposed to open at noon on Friday, but were rescheduled to open at 3 PM due to heavy rainfall the night before. If you have ever been to Texas, one thing to keep in mind is that the weather can change on you at any second. Regardless, everyone took it well and was just ecstatic that Day 1 was finally here.
We decided to skip on MGK and check out a Texas local and native by the name of Disco Cowboy. Originally from Blanco County, this man has been spinning since the mid-2000s. If you want a good mixture between country music and club music, this is the set to see! I've heard the name, his mixes, and told myself... "I have to see it in person". He blends country music classics into an electronic/pop style that even if you aren't a huge fan of oldies and country, you can't help but groove. The best part is it's all on vinyl! If you want to get a little insight into his persona and style, check out his clothing brand "Vinyl Ranch." It's super unique and resonates with the OG Texans who still like to hit up the nightclubs, and we are here for it! If you wanna hear some Dolly Parton gone funky, this is where you will find it.
At ACL you can expect tons of acts to bring their A-game, but one that really caught our attention was Megan Thee Stallion. Everyone practically came in running to the Honda Stage, crowding together so they can see Megan. The crowd roared as she walked on stage in a monochromatic pink outfit with "Stallion" written in blue rhinestones across her top. Stoked to be back in her home state of Texas, Megan did not disappoint with her high-energy and Hot Girl moves, as she delivered with her top hits like "WAP" and "Body." Her ability to rhyme with just about anything, mixed with shouting out her "Texas hotties," made everyone feel like they were watching their best friend perform on stage. To top it all off, superstar Miley Cyrus jumped on stage during Megan's hit "Do it on the Tip," to twerk in support. Megan performs Friday from 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM at the Honda Stage.
The energy didn't stop there. From double life pop star to cover queen, Miley Cyrus showed up and showed out at ACL last weekend at the Honda stage. Cyrus performed quite the rock set transforming some pop & hip hop songs into rock covers like "We Can't Stop", Cher's classic "Bang Bang" and even "23" with Wiz Khalifa. Her uncanny similarity to Janis Joplin draws a lot of the older listeners, despite her half-life history of being known as a child star. Her set Friday night proved that she has the powerhouse vocals and endurance to keep up with the rock (and still the pop) music industry. If you weren't impressed by her Bangerz tour music in the first half, she surely made up for it in her trippy rock visuals. Miley performs Friday 8:00 PM-9:30 PM at the Honda stage.
It was a great way to end Day 1 of ACL and had us very excited for what the rest of the weekend had in store.
Day 2 was a bit warmer than Friday, as it seemed the storm passed through. Getting into the festival was quick, simple, and very efficient. We really love how on point and organized this festival is from entering the festival, getting a drink, and leaving the festival.
We started out with an up-and-coming Reggaeton artist who just turned 21 this past Monday, Lunay. Coming all the way from Corozal, Puerto Rico, Lunay has worked with some of the biggest artists in Latin music like Bad Bunny, Daddy Yankee and Ozuna. Even Justin Beiber is behind this young man, having him play at his show in Las Vegas this weekend. We were really excited to get some Latin music in this weekend and this was the spot to be! Playing at the Titos Handmade Vodka Stage, people were chanting the words "Soltera" as he ran upstage to show ACL that reggaeton is alive and thriving. Lunay performs Sunday at the Titos Handmade Vodka Stage at 4:30-5:30 PM.
After some reggaeton, we headed over to the Lady Bird stage to see Doja Cat. When we say this woman can perform...she can really perform. One of the better sets we saw this weekend, Doja Cat brought a whole theatrical set filled with colorful jungle-fairy-like visuals to the Lady Bird stage Saturday evening. There was no dulling her shine that day and I think everybody who got to catch her set can agree. Without missing a beat Doja danced around, owning the stage, singing her popular and Tik Tok viral songs like "Get Into It (Yuh)" and "Say So," leaving everyone in awe and drawing one of the biggest crowds that day. Easily one of my favorite performances, Doja proved this weekend that she deserves her spot at the top as one of the newer artists in the industry. Doja performs Saturday 6:20 PM-7:20 PM at the Lady Bird Stage.
Following Doja we headed over to one of our favorite acts at the moment, RÜFÜS DU SOL. Their performance at the Honda Stage, had everyone catching the feels with some of their classics like "You Were Right", "Underwater", and "Treat You Better." The wide-open sky, the euphoric sounds, thousands of souls singing their music in sync... these are the performances that we live for.
No matter how many times you see them, they never seem to get old. We thoroughly enjoyed hearing their brand new song "On My Knees" and seeing the crowd's reaction to it. I saw them right before Covid-19 shut down back in March 2020, and you can tell their transitions are significantly different from that show. We highly recommend catching them on Weekend 2 if you can, even if it's just for a song! You can see them perform Saturday 8:20 PM- 9:20 PM at the Honda Stage.
Returning to the big stage for the second year in a row, Billie Eilish took on the Lady Bird Stage to close out ACL for the day Saturday. Although we had the hardest time deciding how much time we would spend at RÜFÜS DU SOL and how much time we would spend seeing Billie, we were not disappointed either way. This girl really knows how to own the stage and keep her energy high, leaving us curious if she ever gets tired. Bending backward, suspending over the crowd, climbing up and down a slanted stage, this girl really did it all, almost as a "thank you" for bringing her back again.
Although hard to hear her sometimes over the screams from fans in the crowd, she performed even her softest songs like "My Future" and "Happier Than Ever" with such simplicity and ease. Performing her most popular hits like "Bad Guy" and "Bury A Friend" showed us how much she was really enjoying herself. Much different from her set in 2019 where she was making statements and proving herself, she had a much more relaxed "this is me" aura about her that the crowd really couldn't get over. Billie closes out the Lady Bird stage Saturday 8:30 PM- 10:00 PM.
Day 3 was probably the hottest day at the festival. Everyone was flocking to shade and fans, doing everything to stay cool. It was a bittersweet feeling on the last day, but that didn't stop anyone from enjoying the fact that ACL is back!
Chris Lake, better known as the boss at BlackBook Records, gave ACL some energy that was needed on the final day. His set was at a perfect time, the sun was slowly setting and you could feel the crowd start to get tired, but he woke everyone right on up! It was great to see kids dancing to his music "Turn off the Lights" along with their parents. The previous two days, there wasn't a lot of electronic music so the electronic music fans packed this stage! He is playing at the same time this Sunday at the Miller Lite stage 5:30 PM-6:30 PM PST.
Erykah Badu. Some know her as the queen of neo-soul and others as an actress. She showed off her incredible pipes during her set on Sunday at the Miller Lite stage. Sporting her familiarly large hat, colorful fringe, and slightly late in true soul diva fashion, she was able to relax and sway the crowd after a long day of festivities. Performing at 7:30 pm, things were darkening around Zilker Park setting the mood for her set with Soul Train playing on repeat behind her. Throwbacks like "On & On" and "Love of My Life (An Ode to Hip Hop)" got the OG Badu fans reminiscing and attendees passing by stopping to hear her sing.
Aside from her eccentric style, her music style can stop you dead in your tracks with influences from 70s soul and 80s hip-hop. With her ability to portray her passion through her long note holds and use of a live 10-piece band, her set is one to remember. Catch this OG Friday 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM at the Miller Lite Stage.
Due to some schedule changes for the last day of ACL, C3 Presents had to make some arrangements to fill their headlining spots in place of Stevie Nicks and DaBaby. They booked someone who is no stranger to Austin, Tyler, the Creator who he came with his usual fun self nonetheless.
Sporting a beach vibe with a Hawaiian shirt and khaki shorts, Tyler embraced the vacation theme with a suitcase and a moving boat that he climbed onto while rapping. He performed his popular hit "Yonkers," which he played in Austin first, capturing some nostalgic feelings for himself and his fans. Lucky for his fans he let his quirkiness and comedic self out in between songs like "Wusyaname" and "Tamales," sending laughs and turning curious listeners into fans. Although a late addition to the lineup, we loved being able to witness Tyler enjoy himself in Austin again. He will close out the weekend once again at the Lady Bird Stage 8:30 PM- 10:00 PM on Sunday.
After an eventful weekend, we checked out a show at Emos Austin a part of ACL Nights. We had to close out the weekend with more Chris Lake. He will not perform at an after-party this weekend, so we had to make sure to see him in a more intimate setting. Compared to his ACL set, this set was organic and true to the Chris Lake that we know and love. There was tons of energy when we walked into the venue as Chris had some of the best visuals that I've seen in a long time. The blue LED lights accompanied by the strobes created a subtle and intimate feel, reminding me of the old-school warehouse vibes. He played some of his classics intertwined with new music from Anti Up, his duo along with Chris Lorenzo. We also had the chance to ask Chris about his Sunday in Austin.
1. In your own words, what was ACL like for you? Was there anything that made it unique or stands out to you compared to other festivals you’ve played?
Chris Lake: I loved playing at the festival! It’s always exciting playing at a festival that’s not solely focused on electronic music. On my stage, I played between two fantastic artists, Cautious Clay and Erykah Badu. I find that an exciting challenge. The energy was fantastic in the crowd. I loved it.
2. How did you try to make the set different at ACL vs the set at Emos?
Chris Lake: Well I just try to mix it up a bit. First off Emo’s was a dark room so I took advantage of that and played some darker beats. I pulled out some deeper cuts I’ve not played in a long time as well. It was fun!
3. What can your fans expect from you in the remaining months of 2021?
Chris Lake: I’ll just be closing out the year with some more events across North America as well as working on signing music for my label, Black Book Records, and releasing some of my own tracks. Keeping it simple!
Make sure to download the ACL app for iPhone & Android to add some of the artists to your "favorites" list so you don't miss them. Overall, this is a festival that lives up to its hype...and more! ACL returns today, October 8, for their second weekend. Single-day tickets & 3-day passes are still available here if you are in Austin. You don't want to miss one of the best music festivals that Austin is known for. If you can't make it, ACL is throwing after-parties all weekend long once again.