The Austin City Limits Music Festival is a large, outdoor music festival that takes place each fall at Zilker Park in Austin, Texas. ACL started in 2002 and each year features over 150 musicians, artists and bands. The three-day festival plays over two consecutive weekends and has the same headliners and top acts for each weekend. This format allows people to see dozens of their favorite bands or artists all in one location. ACL wristbands are typically for all 3 of days of the festival, however there are a limited number of single day tickets available.
There are eight stages across the park that ACL artists play on throughout the day. The stages include the AMD stage, Austin Kiddie Limits stage, Austin Ventures stage, the Barton Springs stage, BMI stage and the Honda stage. The gates on Friday open around Noon and the shows finish on Sunday night once the last headliner completes their set. Fans roam around the park listening to music from the myriad of different artists. There is also plenty of delicious food and beverages that are sold by some of Austin's coolest restaurants. There is a large beer garden with television sets for music fans who want to check their favorite football team while having a cold microbrew.
The music at ACL Festival is outstanding and tons of major artists have played, including: Arcade Fire, Beck, The Black Crowes, The Black Keys, Bob Dylan, Coldplay, Dave Matthews Band, Dixie Chicks, Dwight Yoakum, The Eagles, Foo Fighters, John Mayer, The Killers, Lionel Richie, Muse, Oasis, Pearl Jam, Phoenix, Queens of the Stone Age, REM, Robert Plant, String Cheese Incident, Tom Petty, Van Morrison, Widespread Panic, Wilco and Willie Nelson. TicketCity is located in Austin and has been a great source for ACL tickets since the very first year of the festival.
2014 ACL Festival Lineup Preview
The lineup for the 2014 Austin City Limits Music Festival has not been released. It will likely be announced in spring 2014 right before ACL tickets go on-sale to the public. It has been announced that ACL Festival will again be over two weekends in 2014. The dates for 2014 ACL are October 3-5 (first weekend) and October 10-12 (second weekend).
The headliners at the 2013 Austin City Limits were Depeche Mode, The Cure, Muse, Kings of Leon, Atoms for Peace and Lionel Richie. Other top acts to play were Phoenix, Wilco, Vampire Weekend, Artic Monkeys, Queens of the Stone Age and Fun. 2013 was the first year the festival was offered over two weekends and the crowds were large on both weekend. Heavy rains came late on the second weekend and forced the cancellation of the Sunday shows.
ACL has always been played at Zilker Park, which is a large grassy park in the center of Austin next to Lady Bird Lake (aka: Town Lake). The central location is easy to get to from all parts of the city and public transportation is readily available for festival attendees. There are numerous restaurants and bars that line the street just outside ACL Festival's main gate. Just across the street is the famous Barton Spring Pool, which is the largest (and coldest) natural springs pool in Texas.
Austin City Limits Musical Festival Event Guide
Where are the best places to stay when in-town for ACL Festival?
Hotel rooms book up very early for ACL, so make sure you mark your reservation well in advance. There are a variety of good spots downtown that are a short ride or walking distance – those include; the W, the Four Seasons, the Hyatt Regency and the Hilton. For a truly special experience book a room at the Driskill Hotel or Stephen F. Austin Hotel – these two historic hotels are located right on Congress Avenue in the heart of downtown Austin. The Hotel San Jose and Hotel Saint Cecilia are hip spots on South Congress that cater to festival goers.
What are the best restaurants to eat at when in Austin for ACL?
If you are coming to Austin, then you need to try the BBQ or TexMex. The hot spots for barbecue are Franklin’s and Salt Lick. Also check out Iron Works, which is old school barbecue and Lamberts, which is fusion barbecue. The best TexMex in Austin are Matt’s El Rancho, Maudie’s, Chuy’s, Santa Rita and Lupe’s Tortillas. Vivo or Fonda San Miguel are not traditional TexMex, but excellent choices for Mexican food.
What year was the best lineup at ACL Festival?
Picking the year that had the best ACL Festival lineup is like picking your favorite color – it is entirely subjective. With 100+ bands there is truly something for every music fan. Selecting the all-time best ACL lineup, just based on the headliners, is difficult, but it would be hard to top the 2005 or 2006 lineups just based on pure rock star power.
- 2013 - Depeche Mode, The Cure, Muse, and Lionel Richie
- 2012 - Black Keys, Neil Young, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Jack White
- 2011 - Kanye West, Stevie Wonder, Arcade Fire and Coldplay
- 2010 - Phish, Muse, The Eagles and The Strokes
- 2009 - Kings of Leon, Dave Matthews Band, Pearl Jam and Ghostland Observatory
- 2008 - Foo Fighters, Robert Plant, Beck and David Byrne
- 2007 - Bob Dylan, Bjork, The Killers and Muse
- 2006 - Van Morrison, Tom Petty, Willie Nelson and John Mayer
- 2005 - Black Crowes, Oasis, Coldplay and The Allman Brothers Band