Austin City

Real Estate has been making jangly indie rock since its debut album was released in 2009. Its latest album, Atlas, is a more focused, detailed work than anything the band has done before, folding more nuance and ideas into their already lovely sound. The Daily Texan sat down with Alex Bleeker, the bassist and occasional singer of the band, to talk about the making of Atlas, preconceived notions about the band and what it is like playing at festivals.

The Daily Texan: For your new album, Atlas, you wrote and recorded about 20 songs, which is double than what’s on the album. How did you figure out what you wanted to present on the album? How did you manage to narrow it down?

Alex Bleeker: Some of the songs just weren’t good. Some of the recordings weren’t finished. We chose what we thought were not only the best songs to be on the record, but also songs that would come together in a cohesive way to make a sort of complete sounding album.

DT: So you view the album as a cohesive statement rather than just a collection of songs?

AB: Well both. It’s a cohesive collection of songs. We hope.

DT: Many people have called Atlas your most mature album to date. Do you think that’s a fair characterization?

AB: Yeah, I would agree with that. Actually, because we are maturing and getting older, just chronologically, it would be harder to make it less mature. But what I think people mean by that is that [the album] is more dynamic and the lyrics have a little more depth to them and chord progressions are maybe a little bit, in some senses, jazzier. There’s more of a counterpoint complexity going on to the album than on the previous two, and that one is probably true.

DT: Was that something you were actively aware of when you were recording the album? That you wanted to make something more dynamic? 

AB: It just sort of seemed to be emerging that way as the songs were taking shape, and that’s part of the creative process I guess. We didn’t say, ‘Let’s make a more mature record,’ and then set out to do that. It’s just what happened organically. 

DT: Was it different recording with Matt Kallman [keyboardist] and Jackson Pollis [drummer] as opposed to making your previous album with just the three of you?

AB: Yeah, it was two people who hadn’t been in the studio with us before, so they each brought a unique, different energy. We were able to record a lot of the basic tracks of the album live with Jackson instead of building tracks one by one with overdubs. So that definitely changed the album. Jackson’s better at drums than we are, so we had that going for us, and the same thing with Matt on the keys. That’s his main instrument, whereas, on Days, we were doing simple parts on our own.

DT: How is it for the band to play festivals? Do you enjoy it? Did you enjoy playing at Austin City Limits?

AB: It can vary. Austin City Limits is an exceedingly well-run festival. Everything is tight and conscious, and they treat the artists really well. And the stage crew is amazing. We had a really, really great experience there last weekend. That was great. Sometimes, it’s just the opposite of that, where no one knows what’s going on and — pardon my French — it’s a complete clusterfuck. So it can vary from festival to festival, but Austin City Limits is one of the best ones I’ve ever played, for sure. 

DT: There’s an intimacy to the music you make with Real Estate. Do you ever worry that might not translate in festival settings just because how large it is?

AB: Sometimes, I guess. You have to sort of change the dynamic of the performance, choose more upbeat songs or try to be more high energy than you are with your own indoor, headlining show. People aren’t necessarily there to see you, they might just be checking you out. People didn’t buy a ticket to see you, so you don’t know what level of familiarity they necessarily have with your music. Sometimes at a festival you have to change your appeal to a broader audience. 

DT: When you were recording Atlas, did any of the preconceptions of the bands weigh on you or the band as a whole? That you’re a “chill” band that fills a particular niche people can be dismissive of? 

AB: Hmm. We stopped paying attention to those claims early on because, the nature of the Internet, people started regurgitating what was already on there. Something that gets said about you early on just gets repeated over and over and over again. And that’s not anyone’s fault, but I think that maybe there’s a little bit of a pressure on us. Because our second album was well received, so you want people to like us and you want to keep it going. There’s that at the beginning of the process, but then you have to let that go and relax in order to make good music. Because you really can’t listen to press or think about what your fans are going to want. You just have to trust yourself and your instincts, because that’s what got you there in the first place. 

DT: You have to make music for yourself and no one else. 

AB: Um, I don’t think that is necessarily true. I would not agree with that statement actually. All music is for everyone. It’s not about making music for no one else. I definitely love the communal aspect of other people enjoying it. But you can’t allow other people, outside opinions, to affect your own creative process. 

Photo Credit: Marshall Tidrick | Daily Texan Staff

On Oct. 3, Elizabeth McQueen performed at Austin City Limits Music Festival with an unusual accompaniment. A group of five high school girls made up the horn section of McQueen’s act, playing just as well as any professional. This is because the girls were trained by professionals.

The girls were part of Anthropos Arts, a charity that connects professional musicians with kids in Travis County who can’t afford lessons. ACL provided a space for the organization as a part of ACL Cares, an area of the festival where select organizations can set up booths and provide information about their missions.

Dylan Jones founded Anthropos Arts in 1998 when he was coming into the Austin music scene. He founded the charity in response to his own experience of taking lessons as a kid. Jones said his teacher was a lifesaver when he was going through a troubling time.

“When I was a kid, my parents were able to pay the 20 bucks, or whatever it was, for a lesson back then, but I did a little bit of research in schools and realized that in the vast majority of Title I schools, there are literally zero kids taking private lessons,” Jones said.

Title I schools have a high percentage of low-income students, whose families typically would not be able to pay for private music lessons. Jones said the Anthropos Arts booth at ACL Cares allows the students to come to a festival they otherwise would not have been able to afford to visit on their own. For five girls, being allowed to perform with McQueen, one of Anthropos’ newest teachers, was just the cherry on top. McQueen said the girls were not intimidated in front of the huge crowd.

“It was exactly what I wanted to happen,” McQueen said. “Most of the girls are drum majors at their school, so they’re just total badasses to begin with, and they just totally nailed it.”

McQueen, a vocal teacher at Anthropos, said she thinks Anthropos Arts is a great way to take advantage of the high-quality, professional musicians in Austin. 

“We are flush with musicians in Austin,” Jones said. “Between the University and the music scene, we never lack teachers. We’re connecting that resource with the unfortunate surplus of kids living in poverty.”

Anthropos communcations director Viviana Kennealy said the program does more than just teach kids to play instruments; it’s teaching them to take commitments seriously and be self-motivated. For the past 10 years, 100 percent of seniors in the program have graduated in schools that have average graduation rates of 65 to 70 percent. 

“We pick kids based on their willingness and desire to do it, and, from there, we stay on them a lot about grades,” Jones said. “Having the extra two or three people in their lives through the Anthropos program that can be checking on them about their grades has been the biggest turning point.”

McQueen, who recently stopped touring after eight years as a vocalist with the band Asleep at the Wheel, said she signed onto Anthropos Arts when Jones asked her to join without really knowing what it was. But, after one semester, McQueen said mentoring the kids has become the highlight of her week.

“There’s a lot to learn, and there’s a lot to be inspired by,” McQueen said. “A lot of these kids are not going to become professional musicians, but they are going to see that you can follow your passion and thrive and also have time to give by watching their teachers do that.”

St. Vincent performs at the first weekend of the 2014 Austin City Limits Music Festival on Friday.

Photo Credit: Jenna VonHofe | Daily Texan Staff

Clad in Converse tennis shoes, shady hats and countless metallic temporary tattoos, festival-goers welcomed the first weekend of the Austin City Limits Music Festival with open arms. With a lineup just as up-to-the-minute as the fashion trends, the weekend was packed with must-see shows. Here is a recap of The Daily Texan’s most memorable ACL


The Scottish synth-pop trio woke up Friday’s drowsy crowds with a lively performance. While their stage presence could have been filled with the typical flashiness of an electronic show, the band opted for a more understated setup, letting front woman Lauren Mayberry’s energetic vocals stand out on hits like “Recover” and “The Mother
We Share.”

St. Vincent

St. Vincent’s live performances define her as an artist: calculated but with room for improvisation. Annie Clark took to the stage Friday evening looking ethereal, delivering a dreamy performance grounded with sharp choreography and heated guitar riffs. “The reason you’re here and the reason we’re here is because we never gave up hope,” Clark said to the cheering, fan-filled audience.

Foster the People

Foster the People sounded better live at the Samsung Galaxy Stage on Friday evening than it does on its albums. Lead vocalist Mark Foster was calm and relaxed while his bandmates brought energy to the performance. Dedicated fans sang the words to every song, helping those who only knew the band’s smash hit, “Pumped Up Kicks,” to stay upbeat throughout the show.


The majority of Beck’s set came from his upbeat, late ’90s and early 2000s albums. Straying from the expected, the rocker played his most well-known hit, “Loser,” early on in the set. Beck commented on the audience’s lackluster energy and proceeded to slow down the pace by playing music from his 2014 release, Morning Phase

Mac DeMarco

“Hey, I’m Mac. I’m here to play some music,” the Canadian singer-songwriter said as he entered the RetailMeNot stage, a cigarette in hand. DeMarco took to ACL in his typical slacker style, performing a laid-back set from his latest album, Salad Days, punctuated with lewd jokes, conversations with audience members and dreamy guitar melodies.

Iggy Azalea

The Australian rapper’s crowd Saturday afternoon was so huge that it could easily have been a headlining audience. While most of her songs were her originals, Azalea also incorporated feature tracks, such as Ariana Grande’s “Problem.” When she sang her signature “Who dat? Who dat?,” a screaming crowd replied with an enthusiastic “I.G.G.Y.” 


An hour before Eminem was scheduled to appear on stage, the crowd had already started chanting. “Marshall! Marshall!” and “Shady! Shady!” Marshall Mathers did not disappoint, performing songs from each of his albums, such as “The Real Slim Shady” and “Without Me.” After finishing his set list, Eminem returned with an encore of “Lose Yourself” as the crowd jumped along to a spectacular finale to end the night.

Miniature Tigers

Brooklyn-based Miniature Tigers walked the line between teenybopper and electronic ’80s pop with their Sunday performance, showcasing their signature breezy
harmonies. Charlie Brand, lead singer and guitarist, took a break to lead the noticeably younger crowd in a cheer, shouting, “Fuck school. No, I’m just joking. Stay in school.”


Outfitted in all black despite the afternoon heat, the alternative punk rockers performed a heavy set on the Honda Stage. The unshakable fans defined AFI’s performance, supporting a stage dive from lead singer Davey Havok within the first two songs of the set.

Jenny Lewis 

Just as the sun was beginning to set Sunday evening, Jenny Lewis took the Austin Ventures Stage dressed in her trademark pastel blazer. Opening with Rilo Kiley’s “Silver Lining,” Lewis paid homage to her former band and followed with tracks from her latest solo album, The Voyager


To see more photos from Weekend one of Austin City Limits, check them out here -

Local electronic-pop band Sphynx is performing its first show at the Austin City Limits Music Festival on Friday. Sphynx, known for its energetic live shows and its mix of modern electronic and retro styles, is quickly becoming known in Austin’s music scene. The band will release its first full-length album in 2015 after the release of two EPs. The Daily Texan sat down with the three members of Sphynx — keyboardist and singer Cory Dennis, guitarist and singer Aaron Miller and drummer and bassist Todd Harris — before their debut ACL performance.

The Daily Texan: How did you guys form Sphynx?

Aaron Miller: We came up with the idea during [Cory’s] bachelor party in, like, 2009 to start writing music together again.

Todd Harris: Cause we had been in a band with three or four people called The El Guapos in high school, and we did that for four years. Before that, we’d jam together for a little while, and even before that, [Corey and Aaron] had been playing together since they were two-years old. So it was kind of like a progression of musical projects.

AM: We just decided that we would start writing music together again, just the three of us, because it seemed like we were the only three around out of our group of friends that really wanted to keep doing music. That was obvious to us at that point in our lives. Then, I guess, just by virtue [and] being fans of pop music and always growing up with that ‘60s and ‘70s stuff, we wanted to start pop music and writing music.


DT: For those who haven’t heard you before, how would you describe your sound?

Cory Dennis: Glam rock/desert noise to sum it all up. But to actually describe it, I don’t know.

TH: It’s throwback, which is in right now. A lot of people are doing retro stuff, and we really enjoy that. We’re hopefully throwing our own twist on it. A lot of modern production mixed with an older David Bowie, Prince influences.


DT: What are some of the influences on your work?

AM: I think kind of like a meld of some more, like, modern dance production influenced us, and we’re all big fans of, obviously, David Bowie, Talking Heads, Michael Jackson. We also really like ‘70s prog, hair metal stuff like Asia, and Yes and stuff like that. More so at later in the Sphynx history, I guess, we’ve gotten more influenced by that stuff. And as far as like production, Cory’s a producer, so he’s interested in a lot of different dance and sub sounds and melding the technique of retro influences with modern technology.


DT: How many albums do you have out?

TH: We actually don’t have a full album out right now. We have two EPs, at least a couple of singles too.

AM: We’re working on a full album right now.


DT: You have an album coming out, “Golden Garden,” in 2015. How would you describe it?

AM: You know, it’s the first full Sphynx album, so I feel like it’s kind of us settling in and identifying what our sound is as a band. When you make a full album, it’s kind of like a statement of experimenting with the other singles and be settled on this sound.

CD: The first two EPs were more development.

TH: This one is definitely more theatrical, a little more complex than the other ones. It’s still pop-y and dance-y, but it has a little more vibe to it. Not as party-dance vibe, but it’s still rowdy and fun.


DT: How did you get booked?

AM: Kind of just through a lot of years of gigging in town and getting to know people. It was something that had been a goal of ours since basically we started playing music. Growing up in town, it’s been the benchmark. It was just like, ‘Oh, if we could play ACL one of these days.’ We started doing shows with C3, who’s a company that puts on ACL because they book a lot of venues here in town, like Lamberts, Parish, stuff like that. Just kind of started a relationship with them and doing shows with them, and, basically, we asked really nicely if we could play ACL this year. Weren’t sure what’d they say, but we were, like, we have this new music coming out; 2014 has been the year that we’ve gone into doing the band full time, so we could do it this year.

TH: Didn’t expect the response we got by any means.


DT: How often do you tour and where do you go?

AM: Northwest, Midwest, Utah, Colorado

TH: We’ve done it two times now — up to Portland and back. It’s always been good to go through mountain towns and hitting up the different ski resorts and the different weird towns. We played Spokane for the first time, close to Canada. We played Whitefish, Montana. We’re going to go up to New York in a couple of weeks.

CD: We’re gone a little over a hundred days a year.


DT: You’re touring with Stepdad in the next couple of months. How did that get set up?

AM: We made friends with those guys about a year ago. We’ve opened for them in Austin, and we’ve been fans of theirs, so when we saw that they were coming through, playing at Empire, we sent a email about opening for them. Ended up becoming really good friends with the band, which is not that common actually, but we just hit it off with those guys. We kept in fairly regular contact with them. They set up doing their fall tour with them, which we’re excited about that. It’s a bunch of new cities for us.

TH: It’s the first support tour that we’ve actually been able to go on, with a band that actually has tour history.


DT: Overall, what’s it like being part of Austin’s music scene?

TH: It’s a mixed feeling. Right now, it’s especially really good. Just from being from Austin — it’s kind of rough seeing how many people are coming here and how big it’s gotten. But being a band in Austin, it’s awesome because Austin is on everyone’s mind across the world; everyone is looking at Austin. To be able to be a band that was born and raised in Austin, it’s actually helped us a lot. People will be like, ‘Oh, you’re from Austin’ and then they’ll check us out in different towns because they know the rep that Austin has.

AM: It seems like the spirit of the city is really full of bands right now because Austin has become more of a big deal than it used to be. On the other hand, the thing with the Austin music scene is that it’s also super saturated. There’s 30 really good bands, instead of three good bands, so it takes a while for people to know about you.


During ACL, Austin resident Jack Armstrong converts his backyard into parking spaces for paying patrons. Armstong can fit about 12 cars in his yard and offers one-day spaces as well as full-weekend spots.

Photo Credit: Rachel Zein | Daily Texan Staff

Just as New York City residents know to leave their homes by New Year’s Eve to avoid the hectic holiday, Austin residents know that driving or parking anywhere in the city during the Austin City Limits Music Festival is nearly impossible — especially around Zilker Park. 

Local businesses and surrounding residents, however, are finding innovative ways to accommodate the crowds and, along the way, pocket some extra cash.

One example is local food trailer park, The Picnic. During ACL The Picnic will not just cater to hungry mouths, as its Barton Springs Road parking lot will be open to people looking for a place to leave their cars.

“We have a managing company that handles the collection of money, but the parking lot is built,” said Alastair Jenkin, co-owner of The Picnic. “It’s just going to operate like a normal, paid parking lot — you just pay the guy.”

Drivers will be able to get one of The Picnic’s 80 parking spots on a first-come-first-serve basis, with each spot costing $30.

“The demand for parking has always been high for ACL,” Jenkin said. “There are just not many places to park.”

UT alumnus Jack Armstrong is a real estate broker who has lived in Austin for over 20 years. When ACL started, he saw the demand for parking spaces. Since then, he has been renting out his backyard and driveway for people to park in.

“I’m usually filled, but I probably won’t try to max it out this year,” Armstrong said. “I get people from years past that find me, and they come back. [They] always email me like a week or two before.”

Armstrong said about 12 cars can fit in his backyard and driveway, and he gives everyone a reserved spot.

“I print the people’s names, and they have their own spots,” Armstrong said. “They can come and go, and their spot will be there the next day.”

As far as pricing goes, Armstrong will charge $40 or $45 per day if a person decides to rent a spot for two or more days.

“It is hard for people to get access to my house because roads are shut down, so that’s always the hard part,” Armstrong said.

For Austin resident Sabrina Sklar, ACL became a chance to make money by renting out her condominium parking space.

“I saw a friend posting on Facebook, so I just said, ‘Eh, I’ll post [an advertisement] on Craigslist,’” Sklar said. “There are thousands of people that walk into the city with limited parking, and I figured I’d make some money.”

Hilary Simon, an elementary school teacher, tries on hats at the Antingua stand, one of the many vendors displaying wares at the Art Market. 

Photo Credit: Adithya Sambamurthy | Daily Texan Staff

Twelve years ago, Austin City Limits made its humble debut to the music festival scene, but even in its first year, the “multifarious fiesta” intrigued former Daily Texan staffer Brent Wistrom, who wrote in 2002 the first of the Texan’s many ACL articles.

Long before ACL became a music festival on Sept. 28, 2002, “Austin City Limits” was a popular TV show on PBS. “Austin City Limits,” which ran for 28 seasons before the festival began, was a music show that recorded live in Austin. One of the city’s “best-known assets,” the program premiered in 1974, originally featuring blues and country music. It featured more than 400 artists, including Johnny Cash, Norah Jones and Sheryl Crow, before producers decided to bring its live performances from the studio stage to the public arena. 

“One of the top 5 questions at the city visitors’ desk is how to get tickets to ‘Austin City Limits’ recordings,” Wendy Morgan, former director of music marketing for the Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau, told Wistrom. “This is the first time Austin City Limits has opened its doors to the world.”

In a separate article reviewing the festival, former Texan staffer Matt Dentler wrote that the approximately 30,000 people in attendance of the first day “seemed to know they were a part of history.” Artists including Los Lobos, Wilco and The String Cheese Incident performed during the first-ever ACL festival.

“It’s going to be more than just a cool concert, it’s going to be different from anything anyone has seen in this town,” Lisa Schickel, then-director of promotions at Capital Sports & Entertainment, told Wistrom.

Each year since the debut, ACL has increased in popularity, size, and, especially, price. The price of a one-day ticket has skyrocketed from the original $25 to $90, and the price of three-day passes rose from $45 to $225. The original ACL lineup boasted 70 bands. This year more than 130 artists will be performing. While 30,000 people was “astonishing” for ACL’s first year, the festival now averages 75,000 people per day.

“More than 25,000 tickets have been sold,” Wistrom wrote. “The festival is not expected to sell out due to the event area’s size.”

In 2014, it is not a question of whether ACL will sell out of tickets, it’s a matter of when.

No one knew how big ACL would get. Schickel asserted the possibility that it “might” become a permanent part of Austin’s hectic concert schedule, but nobody could be sure. At the time, Schickel said ACL was only scheduled to go on for the next three years. Fortunately, it has flourished into 2014 and shows no signs of going away.

“The first day of the two-day Austin City Limits Music Festival proved what many had hoped: Not only could this festival be realized, it was a fascinating, carefree time,” Dentler said.

In the past 12 years, ACL has transformed from a public television show, to a small festival, to a musical mecca where artists from around the world gather. 

EDM artist Kaskade performs on Friday of Weekend One at the Austin City Limits festival 2013 on the Honda Stage. In order to keep up with other music festival such as Bonnaroo and Coachella, ACL is beginning to add more EDM and DJs to its weekend lineups.

Photo Credit: Sam Ortega | Daily Texan Staff

Catering to the demand of an increasingly popular genre of music, this year’s Austin City Limits Music Festival lineup features more electronic artists than ever before. Since 2009, ACL has included a few electronic dance music artists each year, but no past lineup can compare to the amount of DJs that will set up at Zilker Park for the next two weekends. 

The festival, known for sticking true to its usual host of rock, pop, folk and jazz artists, has made a surprising change by featuring a once-limited genre. This year certainly boasts the most diverse lineup thus far, with electronic artists like Skrillex, Calvin Harris and Zedd headlining alongside Eminem and Pearl Jam. Tyler Pratt, an on-air producer and host for KUTX, said he thinks the 2014 lineup is proof that ACL is trying to pull in more top-40 artists.

“Electronic music is huge right now,” Pratt said. “ACL has to compete to stay in the big four music festivals — the other three being Bonnaroo, Coachella and Lollapalooza. Most people can only go to one. Because of competition, they have to include EDM.”

EDM is a term that has only become popular in the past five years. While this terminology might be new, electronic music is not. After becoming popular during the ’80s in the European underground dance scene, the genre first appeared in America in the late ’90s. Although it wasn’t well known, music festivals dedicated solely to EDM started emerging across the country.
Electric Daisy Carnival in California and Ultra Music Festival in Florida were among the first events that drew relatively small crowds of dedicated EDM fans.

Flash-forward to 2006, when Daft Punk’s appearance at Coachella music festival drew a large amount of attention to the genre. The show was a spectacle with an elaborate setup, which featured a pyramid-shaped stage and light show. In 2009, EDM made it onto mainstream radio with the help of several top-40 artists such as David Guetta, The Black Eyed Peas and Cascada. From there, electronic music exploded. Electric Daisy Carnival and Ultra began drawing their biggest crowds yet, and the number of festivals that showcased only EDM artists multiplied. Other music festivals, including Lollapalooza and Coachella, started incorporating EDM into their lineups to keep up with the trend and draw bigger audiences. 

Despite this growing trend, ACL remained hesitant to include electronic music in its lineup. That is, until now. For years, ACL has built up a reputation for showcasing authentic live music across varying genres. Since EDM features a primarily computerized setup and a DJ, some longtime ACL-goers see the infusion of the genre as a sign of the festival going against its traditional festival roots.

“Music is constantly changing [with] what’s trending,” said Courtney Brown, Austin native and nine-time ACL attendee. “It’s no surprise that music festivals evolve as well. I understand that ACL is changing, but it’s going in a different direction.”

Pratt, meanwhile, said that he thinks ACL’s inclusion of more EDM was inevitable.

“The problem is that ACL is part of a big corporation,” Pratt said. “They want to make a lot of money and bring in a lot of people. They’re obviously looking at the trends to see what’s popular.”

Though this year’s ACL lineup may be adhering to a growing trend, the festival hasn’t lost sight of its roots. If anything, highlighting a new genre diversifies the lineup, and hopefully, welcomes more festival-goers eager to embrace the ACL tradition.

Photo Credit: Jack Mitts | Daily Texan Staff

Austin City Limits Music Festival will extend to two weekends this year, and though the influx of an expected 225,000 visitors will necessitate road closures and increased shuttle bus service, city officials do not think the addition of a second weekend will present difficulties.

The Austin Police Department will use data gathered from previous years to prepare for and monitor the weekend festivals, held annually in Zilker Park. Both Barton Springs Road and Stratford Drive will be closed between Oct. 4 and Oct. 6 and between Oct. 11 and Oct. 13.

“With any event, we always have a debriefing afterwards with event promoters and various city staff,” William Manno, commander of specialized patrol and events planning, said. “We talk about what did not work … so when we start the planning stage for the next year’s event, [we discuss] what was identified [and] what has been done to mitigate those issues from last year.”

Alongside the Austin Parks and Recreation department and the transportation department, APD will monitor the two festival weekends from a command post outside Zilker Park to address any safety issues in a timely manner, Manno said.

“Our goal is, as citizens recognize that there’s an issue, we try to correct it that night, and we’ll put it in place for the next night if what we did worked,” Manno said.

Jake Dirr, Austin Center for Events spokesman, said the event’s additional weekend will not have a dramatic impact on transportation schedules in Austin.

“This event doesn’t require a large amount of road closures … and it’s the same plan that we implement more or less every year,” Dirr said. “Now we just implement it for two weekends [which] doesn’t require a whole lot of additional planning.”

Manno said many residents of the neighborhoods around Zilker Park have complained about people parking near their houses, so APD will have a greater presence in the area to enforce parking restrictions.

“ACL has reimbursed the [police] department [for] the cost of the officers for this traffic mitigation and enforcement in the neighborhoods, so this is not costing the taxpayers,” Manno said. 

Because Zilker Park does not offer parking for most festival visitors, a free shuttle leaves from Republic Square on the corner of 4th and Guadalupe. During the 2012 festival, 85,158 patrons used the shuttle.

ACL will pay Zilker Metropolitan Park a total of $53,060 for the event, according to the contract between the festival and the city. The festival contributed $102 million to the Austin economy in 2012 in its standard one-weekend format.

Although each band is different, the majority of bands visiting for ACL will stay downtown during the festival weekends but will not stay in Austin during the week.

Zilker Park closed for event set-up on Sept. 23 and will remain closed to the public until Oct. 26.

Read about what the two weekends mean for local business owners and visitors here. 

Photo Credit: Jack Mitts | Daily Texan Staff

Two weekends of Austin City Limits makes the festival easier to attend but harder for locals to avoid. 

Following a unanimous decision by Austin City Council, C3 Presents — the independent company that puts on the festival — has been permitted to double ACL from one weekend to two weekends. This year’s ACL Fest will be held Oct. 4-6 and 11-13, with the majority of bands playing both weekends. 

The doubling of festival time means a greater influx of out-of-towners. Emily Jackson, front desk clerk for Hostelling International Austin, said they are completely booked. 

“All 49 of our beds are booked for the weekends, but there’s vacancies in between,” Jackson said. “We’re seeing people come from Mexico, Australia and Germany, but most are from within the United States.”

Jackson said the majority of the bookings last from Thursday through Sunday, an indicator that most of the guests are going to ACL.

“Normally on festival weekends it’s like this,” Jackson said. “Our price is normally $28.30 per night and during ACL it’s $37.50.”

Most businesses report higher expectations for the two weekend format. Food vendor The Mighty Cone, known for its easy-to-eat chicken in tortillas, are doubling its inventory. 

The Mighty Cone has been catering ACL since the second incarnation in 2002, when the festival reached out to owner Jeff Blank to run a food booth. 

“Last year, we sold about 45,000 cones,” Sara Courington, general manager of The Mighty Cone, said. “I’m in love with ACL’s commitment to local Austin food vendors because it’s respectful to what Austin’s all about.” 

Another local Austin eatery, Amy’s Ice Creams, shares the same optimism. 

“We aren’t necessarily expecting to see a 100 percent increase in sales but at least 80 percent,” said Aaron Clay, marketing and public relations director. “What’s interesting is that the weather is going to play an even bigger role; When the weather is between 72-88 degrees, it’s the best time to eat ice cream.”

Amy’s has been at ACL since the beginning and sold a reported $45,000 of ice cream at ACL 2012. 

Several music shows will also be played at venues like Emo’s, Stubb’s and Antone’s, all of which C3 owns or operates.

As part of its contract, C3 Presents will pay the city of Austin a base sum of $53,060 plus $3 per 3-day wristband sold. In 2009, the base sum was only $24,830. 

The festival is notorious for producing mass amounts of trash at the festival grounds, which C3 is legally obligated to take care of. 

“C3 rents the facility and they’re in charge of trash pickup. The department works with them, but we’re not in charge of clean up,” said Victor Ovalle, manager of Austin Parks and Recreation public information and marketing. 

C3 festival spokeswoman Lindsay Hoffman is more than confident about this year’s environmental workforce. Hoffman said C3 will have about 200 volunteers per day, as well as about 3,000 fans particpating in a recycling program. Other measures include composting, purchasing carbon offsets and providing eco-friendly food vending and merchandise. 

A week after clean up, the parks and recreation department will conduct what it calls “post-event maintenance.”

Ovalle said that the doubling in length is no cause for environmental concern.

“We’ve got good turf crews,” Ovalle said. “The good thing about C3 is that they’ve always helped us return the park back to normal.”

Read about how the two weekends of ACL will change transportation in the city. 

Austin City Limits Music Festival is a visual feast. College students walk around Zilker Park in cutoffs and bikini tops, the Austin skyline stands out against the violet sunset in the evenings and headlining artists sport some outrageous hair styles. The Daily Texan compiled a list of our favorite hair donned by singers and songwriters that you should be on the look out for this weekend.  


The middle part is hard to pull off for anyone. For HAIM, it is even more impressive as all three sisters part their long locks right down the middle. The look fits the ‘90s rock-influenced sounds created by Alana, Este and Danielle Haim, plus their drummer Dash Hutton. Maybe the group will influence your own festival fashions. Just check with an honest friend before trying the middle part for yourself. 

The Cure 

The men of The Cure may have aged, but their hair is just as lively as ever. The Cure’s hairstyle of choice is not quite an afro and not quite a mohawk. It looks like something that is probably achieved by the band sticking their fingers in electric sockets and hair-spraying it into place right before they take the stage. Beauty is pain. But don’t worry about The Cure because according to them, boys don’t cry.


Grimes’ setlist is not the only unpredictable factor at the Canadian electronic artist’s live performances. There is no telling what color Claire Boucher’s hair will be when she performs at this year’s ACL festival. It’s possible it could even change between weekends. She is like the real-life version of “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” character Clementine Kruczynski, whose trademark move is constantly dying her hair different vivid colors. Boucher’s hair has been orange, green, blue, pink, dark brown, platinum blonde and rainbow streaked. 


It would be unfair to say the members of fun. are entirely to blame for the awful hipster haircut trend of shaven sides with a tall, fluffy top. But they definitely are not helping. This hairstyle looks like the army regulation cut they probably gave soliders during World War II. Paired with suspenders or skinny pants, it is an obvious hipster alert. 


Most members of Dawes look like any other folk rock band, with bedhead and a little scruff, maybe a plaid flannel shirt. But drummer Griffin Goldsmith has something special resembling a cloud resting on top of his head. Griffin’s dirty blonde almost-afro looks so soft you could take a nap in it. Even though he’ll be at the back of the stage, audience members from all distances will likely see his curly locks bouncing to the beat.