Austin City Limits, 2014


Matt and I got a healthy dose of live music this October! We attended the first Saturday of this year's ACL music festival in Zilker park, and then the very next week managed to snag tickets to a live taping at ACL Live in the Moody theatre. 

We last attended ACL in 2011 and had an interesting time comparing that experience against this year's. Last time we had more trouble finding transportation, but we also had more exciting celebrity sightings, and ultimately the best front row experience for Coldplay. 

This year, we had a long, but easy trip from the Domain to Downtown on the MetroRapid bus (no parking, but not rapid so you win some- lose some). It was a treat to catch a bus at our own front door and the walk from the Barton Springs stop to the park is a pretty short clip. 

We were a lot more relaxed in our approach for catching different shows (we sat down a lot more and brought a light picnic blanket and empty water bottles). 

And of course, we enjoyed some really incredible food from the ample options in the local-only food court. 

This year we found that we were really surprised and appalled at the inescapable cloud of smoke hanging over the entire usually smoke-free park and the number of families we saw who were clearly ignoring the discomfort of their very young children as the day wore on, so they could enjoy themselves in some terribly un-family-friendly ways. 

Matt really enjoyed the Trombone Shorty show. It featured the UT band and a live stream to the UT game, where they also aired the fight song played at the park. The girl pictured told her fellow concert goers (us) that she just HAD to find room to hula hoop. Nothing says ACL like uncontrollable hula hooping urges.

My favorite band this year was the Broken Bells. By this point in the evening we had enjoyed a filling dinner, staked out a spot on the hill, and had some time to relax as the weather cooled. 

The end of night head-liners were wild. We caught the first half of Skrillex, which was a trip! He came out on top of what looked like "the BAT" from the Dark Knight rises, and the crowd went wild. After being told to put our hands up too many times to count, we wandered down to the Eminem show. It was hilarious to watch a generationally and culturally diverse crowd all so engrossed in singing along to his best hits. Definitely one of those Keep Austin Weird moments.

We managed to catch several entertaining artists to make the most of our day, but both quickly agreed that we would much rather spend our future efforts on making it to ACL Live tapings before going back to the wild crowds in the park. 

We quickly got the opportunity to do just that a week later when I won tickets to see Spoon's taping!

I happened to have a pre-event walk through and tasting at Mulberry (yum!) for work the same afternoon, so when it was over I parked, picked up our tickets from the theatre, and sat at Jo's while waiting for Matt to join me downtown. It was the perfect option for a quick bite and quiet place to reboot before the show. 

Grabbing a quick bite before an ACL Live Taping

It's always luck of the draw on these lotteries, and we got really about the worst possible tickets this go around. However, the theatre is very tall and narrow, so even in the worst seats, you still have an entertaining perspective of the band- which is why we are so in love with this experience! If you arrive early like I did, you often have a choice of standing on the floor and dancing along, or sitting in the balcony if you are lame like us :). 

If you go, you have to stroll around on the balconies - which are both indoor and open air- and enjoy the colorful Austin crowds as they buy their pre-show refreshments and peruse the galleries of photographs of the artists who have previously performed. 

The energy for the home-town band was special on this visit, but we love this venue, the excitement of winning free tickets, and the great Austin vibes so much that it's safe to say we would probably enjoy a show here even if our least favorite artist was headlining. If you haven't tried to win tickets yet, you should- it's definitely one of the best perks of living in the "Live Music Capital of the World"! 

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