Five Reasons Not To Attend ACL

1. The Crowds

As with any major festival, there are thousands of people clamoring around each other in a heated, sun-screened swarm of deck chairs, umbrellas, flags, and people who actually want to see bands and elbow their way to the front.  Bottom line: there’s way too many fucking people to have any sort of intimacy with the performer you’re watching.  Chances are, you’re probably just watching them because you are NOT missing whoever’s next from far away.  A word of advice for ACL virgins: stick with someone ALWAYS because you may never see them again if you lose them.  Find a meeting place, a landmark, and forget about your cell phone working.  It will not. Especially if you’re on AT&T.

2. The Lineup

ACL is different from other major festivals (namely Lollapalooza, the other C3-curated major event) in that it caters to not only the hip, young crowd and aging forty-somethings, but also a slew of older people (see #3 below).  And thus the lineup for ACL is adjusted for this crowd accordingly.  Unfortunately for you, the trendy guy, that means the park is split between safe filler acts and over-hyped blogger bullshit that sucks bad in a live setting, particularly one of this size.  And not to mention this year is particularly “meh” in terms of bands and scheduling.

Let’s examine.

Safe fest groups that will suck:

Blues Traveler

Pat Green

Slightly Stoopid

The Gaslight Anthem

Manchester Orchestra

Temper Trap

Silversun Pickups

Norah Jones



Cage the Elephant

Blogger Bands that would work better in a club:

The Soft Pack



Beach House

Bear In Heaven

Broken Bells

The XX


White Rabbits



Morning Benders

Unbelievably horrible headliners:



The fucking Eagles?

Now, in all fairness, that’s not even half the lineup.  The rest is bands actually worth watching, mixed in with unknowns on small stages you won’t even visit anyway.  You know, all that crap in between the two big stages?

3. The Boomers

There will be thousands upon thousands of people who are wrinkled, wearing those big floppy hats, and napping in their lawn chairs all day for no reason.  The only came there to see the Eagles….maybe Asleep At the Wheel.  The rest of the time, they are sleeping.  While this may seem harmless, have fun suddenly running into their abandoned chairs in the dark of night when they’ve moseyed on over to watch the awful headliners.  My advice? Catch the National and get the fuck out of there!

4. The Lines

Yeah, I hear you: “Come on man, it’s a festival! Of course there’s lines!” True, but while the completely manageable lines of FunFunFun and SXSW are quick-moving and efficient, the ACL lines are particularly dreadful.  If you can even find where they begin amongst the constantly shuffling sea of people.  Bathrooms, expensive beer and food and water, and a long wait are what you’re in store for, so be prepared.  When you tell your friend, “Hey, I’m gonna go get a Heineken,” don’t say “I’ll be right back.” Because you won’t.  It will take about half an hour, at least.

5. The Park

Don’t get me wrong – I love Zilker Park.  I love that we have a giant festival just a walk from downtown, and all the awesome afterparties are deep in the heart of the action.  The atmosphere is amazing and completely fun.  But then again, not really.  This goes back to the “crowds” issue a bit, but the plain and simple fact is that Zilker is too small for a party this big.  Where Bonnaroo, Coachella, and Lollapalooza (with their outdoor areas and spacious city parks) have succeeded, ACL has ultimately failed.  And to top it all off, the city has allowed C3 to cram thousands more in this year.  At least the forecast is nice this time.

8 Responses to “Five Reasons Not To Attend ACL”

  • kim Says:

    Haha, this is great. Really great. Do you remember a mere three years ago when we would have sold that beloved meatloaf vinyl just to help pay for a ticket? I think the point is that we’re getting old.

  • Le-A Says:

    I just don’t understand. Why don’t you like Muse? Or Switchfoot?

  • Rob Says:

    I agree with Kim….in that we are getting old. I went two years ago, and while I enjoyed it…I swore to never do this again because of all the reasons you listed.

    And I feel pretty special to be the first on your blogroll/friends. Granted, I know it’s alphabetical, but still….thanks!

  • MeanRachel Says:

    Love this. As a native Austinite, I completely avoid ACL every year. If you DO go and end up hating it, I’ve done your heavy lifting for you:Write your own ACL Rant.

  • Jonas Says:

    have you actually even seen the bands you said were so horrible???? have you ever been to any of those other fests???

    you seem very bitter. did you get lost one year and your friends didn’t care about finding you?

  • kim Says:

    rut-roh. you’ve gone and made people angry…. how typical.

  • Natalie Says:

    Hey, just a minute, Mr. Grouchy Pants Knowitall, I went to the fest all 3 days, wasnt it the 8th, 9th and 10th?
    You post was on the 6th.. I was wondering, as i read ur post, were we at the same event??? I do agree, some of the bands were not ACL material, LIKE THE EAGLES, Yawn, time to go. But Muse???? C’mon now! And, bout the sleepy old people, I saw MANY MANY more young 20 somethings ALL sprawled out like they were at home, forgetting that there were a jillion other people around them, so… I maybe… GET YOUR F-ING FEET AND YOUR SHIT OUT OF THE WALKWAY! AND THE SIGH THAT SAYS “NO CHAIRS” TRANSLATES TO DONT PUT UR F-ING CHAIR THERE! And put some clothes on too. I kept having to repeat to myself: NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE STUPIDITY OF PEOPLE.
    Anyway, Like I said, all three days, never had to wait long at all in any line, except Cap Metro, what a cluster fuck they are.
    So, Mr. Grouchy Pants, you just bitchin for fun or what?
    Hugs and kisses!

  • Dennis McCarty Says:

    No kidding. Quit your damn whining & go home & drink your ovaltine. I’m a native Austinite and have been to every single ACL & I freakin LOVE it. Lines? Geezus are you kidding me? Get a VIP pass if you’re gonna whine for crying out loud.

    See you guys out there today!!!

Leave a Reply