The 15th Anniversary of Austin City Limits Music Festival has come and gone, and it was #lit. Although the line-up was less stacked than the 2015 festival, C3 more than made up for that with remodeling the way Zilker is set up and revamping the entire atmosphere. Not to mention, my friends just, like, know how to have a good time and I was extra excited because my college roommate, Caroline, finally got to go with me after years of living together and very few visits to my hometown. ACL is basically the opening to the holiday season in Austin and the holidays are here!
IF YOU’RE LOOKING FOR MY OUTFITS, KEEP SCROLLING DOWN.
Disclaimer: I am not a photographer and, although I am typically able to take a half-decent picture and usually take plenty, I really dropped the ball this time. I apologize.
Friday opened up with Caroline and I arriving late due to violent hangovers cured solely by Bloody Mary’s and P. Terry’s. We ventured around to ST. LUCIA and Flying Lotus. While we didn’t miss any of Flume, we didn’t get the full experience because we were so far in the back. Does anyone else have this problem – I have such a hard time “connecting” at a concert if I can’t see the stage or feel like my ears are bursting from the sound. Otherwise I just feel like a distant spectator. The best of the day that we saw was, by far, Major Lazer. Although I’ve been a fan of their music, I knew very little about the group but they brought a SHOW. It’s always nice when performers, especially ones like DJ’s who sometimes solely rely on lights and screen graphics, have something live going on on their stage, and Major Lazer had just that with their beautiful and fun dancers. Their sound has traveled all over the map while holding true to a reggae and dancehall mix, but I’m a huge fan of the Caribbean pop influence (see: Lean On) they’ve incorporated. The entire show was the exact happy-go-lucky dance party I expected and they did not disappoint. In fact, that probably pushed me right into “Major Lazer Fan Club,” as well as “Diplo Is Hot” category. Plus they brought out Bevo and continued to refer to him as “Hook ‘Em” and everyone was just like “…ok” because it was entertaining but also slightly awkward. Only thing I was bummed about was them not bringing out Wild Belle to sing Be Together. What a wasted opportunity!!!
Bummed I Missed: Prinze George, most of ST. LUCIA
Saturday began earlier for us (read: 3:30, despite gates opening at 11:30 a.m.) but I chose to camp out at HomeAway, in order to hopefully get a good spot for The Chainsmokers. Not to be #that #person, but I have been a Chainsmokers fan for more than just Roses and Closer (hi, Until You Were Gone), and let me tell you, there’s not a lot worse than being trampled by people who are only there for the chorus of Closer when you actually enjoy the rest of the artists’ music. Anyway. My mind was totally blown by AlunaGeorge, who I knew very little about and whose songs I knew very few of. She was incredible!! She was actually singing, which was cool because her songs don’t seem like they’d be easy to do that. She was the perfect way to get ready for The Chainsmokers, because her act got me all types of ready to move, shake, and p-a-r-t-y. We managed to get pretty close for The Chainsmokers (shouts out to Nicole’s broken foot) but I will tell you, I barely remember it, for no other reason besides I was so awe-struck by seeing them for the first time I couldn’t even believe it. They brought out Desiigner which was WILD and Phoebe Ryan, who’s featured on their new track, All We Know, and the whole experience was just amazing. Although their set isn’t groundbreaking or life-changing, they put on a really good show – if that’s the kind of shit you like. Seeing as I’m a fan of The Chainsmokers and knew what to expect, I was more than happy with the beats, pace, and the fact that they don’t have a huge discography to choose from, so they make up for it with playing Red Hot Chili Peppers, random rap songs, and songs that people know and enjoy, with the inclusion of their own sounds. Not to mention they have a super exhilarating smoke and lights show going on at the same time. This was my high for Saturday, as I’m not a huge Kendrick Lamar fan and we only really saw about 10 minutes of his show total.
Sunday was not as full as the other days, and we wandered down a little later than we had planned. We briefly saw Miike Snow, but I was very concerned about getting a good spot for HAIM so we headed over to HomeAway early. Which brings me to: C3, ACL people, anyone, please do us all a favor and just fix HomeAway. Give it another screen. Give it more room. If you’re going to treat it as a scapegoat mainstage, make it more mainstage-friendly. That is a brutal crowd, people. I digress. HAIM was incredible and I’m not just saying that. They’re cool af. That’s the best way to describe them – super freaking cool. And rock stars. I was a big fan of HAIM when their debut album came out, and then they kind of got lost to me under all of the new music that has come out, but they blew me away at ACL and I’ve been rocking to them all over again. It was crazy insane and the way they match their lights with their drum beats and guitar solos and really make the songs hit with everything else onstage…wow. They’re badass and I can’t wait for their new music, which they previewed that Sunday. Next was Mumford & Sons and, despite not being a huge fan of them, I thoroughly enjoyed the show. Perfect ending to the weekend, because although their songs are more slow and folky, they know how to have fun and they were doing so, by jumping into the crowd and playing around with their songs, as well as making sure not to mellow the mood too much. (The worst part about Sunday last year was that although The Weeknd made it end with a literal bang – I missed fireworks this year – his show made me hyped for more.)
As Brea so eloquently put it, going the first weekend is terrible because then you just want to go back. So that’s what we did. She managed to get me out early enough to see Saint Motel, who were amazing! I didn’t know any of their songs beforehand, and we were dancing and jamming to the entire thing, and thoroughly enjoyed his dramatic ending – lying down in the middle of the crowd and not getting up even when it felt like maybe he should. That resonates with me on a personal level. That show was probably the highlight of my day. Our main purpose in going back was to see The Chainsmokers – and it wasn’t worth it. The second round of their show was dismal compared to the first, feeling a lot clunkier and with zero – that’s right! none! – special guests. So although the OG Weekend One > Weekend Two, I will say I very much enjoyed getting to go back for an extra day to see bands I had previously missed.
You can listen to my still-growing and very well loved ACL 2016 playlist here.
Don’t forget to buy your tickets for (Weekend One, to hang with me) ACL tickets for next year! I’ve already started my layaway plan – it’s a beautiful thing.
I pulled five outfits for ACL and ended up wearing two of them. These outfits are (for the most part) versatile for all festivals and even in every day life. The best part was, the only thing “new” that I was wearing was the Beyoncé Lemonade album cover merch tee I received last minute and obviously had to wear. Although it isn’t pictured, I got more than enough compliments on it for me to be sure it was a huge hit.
Sunglasses are from Shevoke.