What to Wear:
While I could give you style tips on what to wear to ACL, that’s not what this blog post is about.
Not everyone lives every day like they’re going to Coachella – maybe just me, but who knows, maybe you do too. And not everyone wants to spend a pretty penny or hours on end digging through their closet for outfit choices (also maybe just me) for this one time of year.
However, my only style tips/advice for those of you going to ACL, be yourself and most importantly, be comfortable.
If I could tell you one thing to purchase for the festival, it would be a pair of comfortable, inexpensive combat boots. These are my #1 from Target at $30.
Whether you like the look or not, no one is going to be looking at your feet, they’ll be stepping on them.
What to Bring:
Security during ACL gets tighter and tighter every year. Specifically on what you can and can’t bring. However, I still have a list of essentials that fit in my 14” x 11” x 5”, the maximum dimensions for bags this year.
Whether it’s to meet up with other people, record your favorite performer, or to take those epic city backdrop photos, you will need & overuse your phone. Make sure you have at least one or two extra charges. This year I’m bringing this charger. It’s under $25, lightweight, and gives up to four charges depending on your device.
It doesn’t matter if you’re VIP or ODB, the porta potties may not always be the best situation, especially toward the end of the night. Trust me: Bring Your Own Toilet Paper.
Hand Sanitizer or Wet Wipes
See above. These two things will come in hand-y. Get it?
Small Towel & Fan
With 75,000 people packed into 350 acres in what feels like 90 degree heat: it will be hot, sweaty and this year, it will be muggy. Use a small towel to wipe the stickiness and a portable fan to keep it from coming back.
Non-Essentials but Highly Recommended
I am not a meteorologist, but I do know this year has been more rainy in Austin than any of us ever expected. Run to your local CVS or Target and grab a cheap poncho. Then throw it in your pocket, purse or bag in case of a sudden downpour.
Dust and grass are two of the most common allergy triggers at any time of the year. Spoiler alert: You’ll be either walking in grass, standing in grass, sitting in grass, laying in grass, or maybe even rolling around in grass (that's still none of my business). If you’re attending ACL the second weekend, you’ll most likely be surrounded by a big crowd and a lot of dust kicked up from the first weekend.
If you have allergies, take your medicine before and after ACL. Then during ACL: bring the handkerchief to put over your nose & mouth to avoid dust and other allergens. You even might start a new fashion trend.
This can be used for style or something to sit on when you want to take a break and relax while watching a show. The right kimono is lightweight, easy to remove and won’t collect grass when it meets the ground. Just steer clear of mesh or lace. Otherwise, this can be used as a great alternative for a small blanket.
Empty Water Bottle
Whether you’re thirsty or thirst-ay: an empty water bottle can keep you hydrated and/or relieved from taking several trips back & forth to the beverage tents.
Dark Sky App
Many of my friends who live in Austin are concerned about the rain this year for ACL, but let me tell you, there is a way to manage that! This app: Dark Sky. It tells you exactly when it’s going to rain and for how long. No, this isn’t sponsored or an affiliate link, but after several planned outdoor adventures and events, this has come in handy. Yes, you do have to pay, but it’s worth it.
Do’s & Don’ts
Risk your things getting confiscated
Check out the official FAQ to see what’s allowed & what’s not allowed this year at ACL. I know I’ve tried to be sneaky in past years but this year (and every year), your safety is key. And while you don’t mean any harm by adding in those items to have a little extra fun: these rules were created for everyone to.. let’s be honest: spend more money at the festival. Don’t risk your personal items being taken at the gate, leave them at home.
Take the shuttle buses from the festival back to downtown
While this may seem like the best way to get home, in my personal experience, it is NOT. I do not recommend this method of transportation unless you’re leaving from the festival early.
If you know me personally, I don’t spend much time working out or worried about fitness, but if I did, I almost guarantee the amount of steps you take to get back to the shuttle is equal or greater to the amount you’d take walking back to the drop off spot downtown.
My advice: Exit by the Austin Kiddie Limits stage and head EAST on Barton Springs Road until you’re able to find service for a Lyft, Uber, Pedi Cab or another form of transportation.
Plus, there are so many other places to stop, drink and continue the fun on your way out of the festival on Barton Springs Road.
Spend too much time missing out on the music
All is fair in friends & festivals. If there’s someone or something you want to see, be a little selfish. Unless someone else spent money on your ticket and/or all the time trying to get you to the festival, do what’s most important to you. Even with spotty cell phone service, I guarantee you’ll find your friends later.
Keep a map and schedule with you
Your battery & cell phone service may end up being limited so it’s best to keep at hand who you want to see and where you want to go. But remember, you can always ask somebody.
Be aware of your surroundings
Unfortunately not everyone is there to have fun and enjoy live music.
Knock on wood, I can say I have never been involved in cases of theft, but I do have friends who have.
Pro Tip: Don’t leave your snazzy iPhone Xs in your back pocket or bag unattended. Keep your eyes open, a hold on your things and your gut in check.
Have a meeting place
Pick a meeting place (the information tent, the Austin Capitol replica, or the infamous ACL photo frame) and a time you’ll be leaving that location for the next show.
Everyone will have their own agenda. Then limit the time you wait in case your friends or group decide to do something else last minute.
Make sure texts between friends are succinct
Make every iMessage count. If you have to use your phone to connect with friends, say everything you have to say in one detailed message.
Poor cellular service meets multiple messages equals lost friends and plans all over the place.
Have fun, be present and enjoy all that ACL has to offer
In the today’s world of social media it’s easy to get caught up in instagramming and snapchatting every moment.
One thing I’m working on is being more present, off my phone and focused on what’s right in front of me. Nothing is better than experiencing live music in real time in this beautiful city.
Plus, I’m sure a thousand other people have the same wobbly footage of Paul McCartney that you can re-watch with a simple search.
ACL is one my favorite parts about Austin. Every year it comes just two weeks after my anniversary and reminds me of all the fun, friendships and live music this city has to offer. So enjoy it. Put please don’t move here.. like I did (I’m only kidding).
What’s your experience been like at ACL? Let me know some of your must haves, do’s and dont’s.
Please comment, like or share if you enjoyed this post, felt inspired or learned something new.
Stay ACL Prepared,