Welcome to the weekend, those en route to Austin. Or wish they were in Austin. This weekend marks the 11th Austin City Limits music festival, in Zilker Park in the Texas capitol.
Below, I outline ACL, for those on their way and those who missed out.
When does it run?
Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 12-14.
Is it sold out?
Big time. All regular weekend and one-day passes are sold out, and have been since May 22. But you can get schmancy VIP passes at $1,050 each and Platinum Passes at $3,600. About 50,000 people go.
What time does it start every day? Is it worth going early?
Around 11:15 a.m. And yes, there's some great acts like Caveman, Asleep at the Wheel, the Deep Dark Woods, Alt-J and the Kopecky Family Band that play super-early in the day?
Wait, the who, who and who? Just tell me who the big acts are.
The headliners are the Black Keys (8:15 on Friday), AVICII (8:15 on Friday), Jack White (8 on Saturday), Neil Young and Crazy Horse (also 8 on Saturday) and Red Hot Chili Peppers (8:15 on Sunday).
HERE IS THE FULL 2012 ACL SCHEDULE, BY DAY.
What makes ACL different from the other music festivals?
ACL is basically in downtown Austin, a notoriously awesome party town. It is not in the middle of a desert or field somewhere, like Coachella and Bonnaroo are. It's on par with Lollapalooza, the Chicago-based fest that is also run by C3, the fest producers who are actually based here. So, in a way, this is their home territory, which shows in the familiarity with the vendors and the lay of the land.
ACL is also heavily rock-based, as is reflected in its headliners. It skews a little older in its programming, a little safer, but the upshot is early end-times, so that you're not wasted at tired at 1 a.m.. Instead, you're wasted and tired at 10 p.m. They have night programming at local clubs with some of the same bands that you missed during the day so that you, too, can get a lay of the land.
How about the park itself, how's the weather? Texas is hot, I hear.
Yeah, it is hot. It's also gonna rain a little bit this weekend.
WHAT, BUT I THOUGHT IT'S TEXAS.
It's rained the last couple of years, too. Just be glad, it keeps the temperature down.
What else are the perks?
Man, get this: NO SMOKING. Now, I know you're trying to quit...
It's hard man.
I know buddy. But there's no smoking, so all patrons including kids can breathe your BO safely. It's one of the biggest no-smoking fests in the country.
What about parking?
There's no parking at the fest. Bike, walk or take a shuttle there.
Again, It's really close to downtown. Not gonna say this makes things simpler, but organizers are centered around sustainability, "green" festival-going and recycling and hug the earth stuff.
What are you doing there all weekend?
I'll be taking photos, interviewing artists, reviewing the big shows and pulling out artists-to-watch. Stay tuned.
I can't go. Is there some way I can watch stuff?
About a third of the bands will be webcast through the ACL YouTube live-stream, including the headliners. Read more about that here.