From the time the gates opened Friday morning until they closed Sunday night, the unforgiving Texas sun beat down on over 75,000 festival-goers as they took pictures, bopped along to live music and flocked to any available shade at the Austin City Limits Music Festival.
Fans lined up 45 minutes early to secure their spot for Kaytranada’s set, which featured electronic dance music and head-bopping beats.
The day seemed to be going off without a hitch, until news broke on the ACL Instagram that Lil Uzi Vert had cancelled his performance and festival-goers scrambled to reconfigure their schedules.
To replace the rapper’s performance, DJ Jai Wolf extended his earlier set on the T-Mobile stage, drawing a larger crowd to his second performance at the much-larger Honda stage. The set showcased the artist’s ability to keep a crowd’s energy up throughout multiple performances in the blazing heat.
Australian-born artist Tame Impala delivered his headlining set as expected, performing a host of the psychedelic dance tracks. Fans crowded around the Honda stage, enjoying the cool air that arrived with the setting sun.
On the American Express stage, iconic rock band Guns N’ Roses drew fans new and old. While the set was a trip down memory lane for some, the recognizable tune of “Welcome to the Jungle” brought attendees from every generation together.
One of Saturday’s highlights was Billie Eilish’s bass-heavy, energetic performance on the Honda stage. Her fans laughed along with the 17-year-old as she complained about burping after eating Chipotle and belted the lyrics to her opening track “bad guy.” Even with a boot on her injured ankle, Eilish, clad in neon green (from hair to nails and shoes), ran and jumped around the stage. She commanded fans to do things such as create mosh pits and jump like kangaroos during “copycat.”
Childish Gambino walked onto the American Express stage with the intention of making up for his abrupt ACL performance cancellation in 2018. Clad in loose pants and no shirt, Gambino delivered animated facial expressions and dance moves throughout the 90-minute set.
Complete with smoke and backup dancers dressed in school uniforms, Gambino performed “This is America,” one of his most notable tracks, evoking cheers from the crowd.
Sunday’s lineup peaked later in the day, with the most notable performances beginning around 6 p.m.
Country artist Kacey Musgraves was greeted with deafening cheers from the crowd as she walked onto the American Express stage, acoustic guitar in hand, to perform “Slow Burn.” Interaction with the crowd was a trademark of the performance, as Musgraves asked fans to high five their neighbors, “put up two middle fingers” and sing along to her pop-country fusion tracks.
The sound of Third Eye Blind’s “Jumper” echoed throughout Zilker, as fans stopped to sing along while en route to the next performance, bringing generations together for an anthem-packed performance.
Rapper Lizzo took over the Miller Lite stage as the highlight of the day. She opened the set by belting “Cuz I Love You” with the audience, complete with vocal runs that echoed throughout the park. Lizzo made an effort to include every attendee, inducting them into the “Lizzo Choir” to fill in melodies throughout the set.
Lizzo, amazed by the size of the mile-long crowd, took a moment to look back on where she came from.
“I remember when I used to play festivals,” she said. “I would look at the main stage and be like, ‘One day all those people are gonna be waiting for me.’ And that day is today, b----.”
The final night of Weekend One saw attendees split between headliners Cardi B on the Honda stage and Mumford & Sons on the American Express stage. Because the rapper went on 30 minutes late, many people chose to go to Mumford & Sons rather than wait on the hill for Cardi.
Mumford & Sons opened with classic banjo-strumming tracks including “Little Lion Man,” providing a much-needed break from the EDM and rap-heavy festival lineup.