Austin City Limits returns to Zilker Park to celebrate its 15th anniversary. The annual, two weekend festival has come to be known for its eclectic talent and friendly culture that its hometown has come to be known for. When it comes to navigating the lineup and discovering your new favorites, we’ve got you covered.
The festival kicks off Friday with a good dose of electro rock from local Austin artist Bayonne, and the upbeat VHS Collection hailing from New York. After dancing to VHS Collection, immediately head to the Samsung stage for Eliot Sumner as a perfect, feel-good follow up before Frightened Rabbit or Ron Gallo for something a bit cheekier.
Catch Corbu if you are looking to start off your ACL weekend with a different experience. The electro-pysch duo gains cites cartoons and Daft Punk as sources of inspiration and have sought to create a trippy live show to go along with their music. Fans of Tame Impala, the Flaming Lips, and MGMT may connect with Corbu on the Cirrus Logic stage, seeing as their debut album of “space music” has been mixed by some of the same people.
Continue your early afternoon of discovery at BMI where Liza Anne comes on around noon for a sound that is ethereal yet haunting; heaven with a dark side. Although Liza Anne hails from Georgia and is categorized as a “folk singer”, those looking to get their kicks and country fix should head to see Asleep at the Wheel. If soul is what you crave, Los Coast keeps it local and paves the way for Raury if you still can’t get enough.
Jess Glynne arrives at the Cirrus Logic stage at 1 for anyone and everyone. You may instantly recognize her as the voice behind Clean Bandit’s hit, “Rather Be”, and her solo work is just as infectious. Follow Jess with another ACL must- see: Banks and Steelz, a.k.a Interpol’s Paul Banks and Wu-Tang’s RZA. Welshly Arms at BMI serves as a southern rock alternative and The Front Bottoms rep the indie crowd before the Strumbellas. Prinze George is synthy enough for those who plan to head onto Chairlift or Flight Facilities.
As the first evening begins, you may find yourself a little nostalgic at Blue October or even feeling a dose of good ole country girl power with Maren Morris at BMI. However, Foals on the Samsung stage with a cold beer and the early fall weather makes for the start of a good night. Cold War Kids keeps the night chill, Tory Lanez sets the mood for Flyinglotus, and St. Lucia is the perfect dose of glam rock before fellow South Africans Die Antwoord’s set on the Honda stage.
Prepared to be a little torn between Flume and M83 at 7. Both guarantee an experience. Our advice? If you are lucky enough to have seen one- go with the other, and if not- follow your friends into an incredible night either way. If Radiohead is your pick over Major Lazer, then Band of Horses is where you should pregame.
Those that came to see Kendrick will want to get back to Zilker early to see Jazz Cartier at noon at Cirrus Logic before Kamaiyah has you singing along and reminding you what it is that makes a chick bad. Alternatively, Israel Nash eases into Day 2 before Nothing But Thieves (Brit. Alt. Rock.) or The Gills (Newbies out of Nashville that know how to wake a crowd up).
Gallant is first up on the HomeAway stage and promises to deliver an amazing performance that will leave you with chills as he hits notes you never thought possible before continuing the good vibes at Saint Motel. Caveman and Lewis Del Mar are a little more indie and electric respectively, but both are good openers for Lucy Dacus or City And Colour before Jack Garratt.
Check out two new breakout stars at 3:30 and 4:30: Andra Day has been hailed by New York Magazine as “America’s Next Great Soul Singer”, and Aubrie Sellers proves talent runs in her blood as a second generation country star. NAWAS is perfect for anyone excited to see AlunaGeorge, while the first bit of Nao’s performance will get you in the mood for Melanie Martinez’s dreamy vocals. DJ Mustard also gets the afternoon going before LL Cool J and DJ Z-Trip, and School Boy Q before Kendrick Lamar. Head to The Naked And Famous, Cage the Elephant, and onto Two Door Cinema Club if taking the alternative route.
Just be sure to take an Intsa-break at 7 before praying for a Halsey appearance at The Chainsmokers and living out the last of summer at Kygo.
Fuel up with a stop at Voodoo if you haven’t yet had the chance before rallying for the final day. Sunday’s schedule starts off rock solid but with a twist of something for everyone- a little bit country at Shane Smith & The Saints, July Talk for an electric fix, and The Shelters for the purists.
Things get jazzed up around noon with Luke Winslow-King as well as two sassy, soulful divas to choose from- Jai Malano and Lizzo, who’s confidence makes her seem like a baby Beyonce. Avery*Sunshine follows Malano on the Tito’s stage with a refreshing breathe of smooth R&B.
If your idea of Sunday is a little lighter, then around noon check out Brett Dennen’s indie-folk with a Cali twist on the Samsung stage before vibing to Wild Child. Experience extreme style envy at Wild Belle (from both sides of the brother-sister duo) that is only to be continued at Kacey Musgraves, or see Odd Future’s Domo Genesis get Dapper on the Miller Lite stage followed by a bit of reggae care of Chronixx & Zincfence Redemption.
If in the mood for something new, check out Marlon Williams’ kiwi spin on alt-country. And if you don’t know what an autoharp is, let Basia Bulat introduce you in the best way possible.
Celebrate another Lost Weekend late afternoon with Pete Yorn at 3, and then vibe over to Break Science if you didn’t know / don’t believe that Kendrick Lamar and Tycho could be successfully mashed up.
Southern rock is done right at 4, with plenty of grit between Quaker City Night Hawks and Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats. Bob Moses is the perfect 5 o’clock follow up immediately after at Cirrus Logic, or balance out with Oh Wonder’s airier sound.
Depending on what type of mood colors your Sunday evening, Gregory Porter has the Grammy to prove he should be the go-to for the jazz set, Chris Stapleton reps Nashville, and Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds brings soul from Brooklyn. Miike Snow takes the Honda stage at 6 and just like Karlsson’s other project Galantis, it’s a guaranteed crowd pleaser.
Both Porter Robinson and Madeon are known for their talent as performers, but the two together on the Cirrus Logic will allow for one last rager before rolling over to LCD Soundsystem to round out the weekend. For the non-EDM crowd, the Haim sisters and Young the Giant provide the indie rock pregames before the modern gypsy sound of Mumford & Sons ends ACL with plenty of stomping, clapping, and “Woah – Oh – Oh’ing”.
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