One of the best ways to experience Austin is by attending one (or more!) of its many festivals. The Austin City Limits (ACL) Music Festival is one of the largest live music events in the country, taking the famed "Austin City Limits" TV series outside the studio and into scenic Zilker Park. In 2021, the fest will be held October 1-3 and October 8-10, and features more than 100+ performances on eight stages. Here are our insider tips on how to have fun and survive the fest.
Credit Charles Regan Hackleman.
ACL Health Policy
A printed copy of a negative COVID-19 test result will be required to attend ACL Festival 2021. The negative COVID-19 printed test result must be obtained within 72 hours of attending ACL Festival. Patrons who are fully vaccinated may show proof of full COVID-19 vaccination instead of proof of negative test. Information related to masks will be released closer to the festival dates. Find the full policy at aclfestival.com/safety
Getting to the Fest
There are plenty of ways to get to ACL. Hop on a CapMetro bus; MetroRapid Route 803 is the suggested route. Another option is ride sharing, with Uber serving as the official ride share partner of ACL Fest. Just type "Austin City Limits Music Festival" or "Zilker Park" into your app as your destination, and this will update your dropoff to the nearest dropoff point around the festival.
Take the scenic route and pedal to the fest. Bring your bike or grab an Austin MetroCycle from one of the 50+ stations in central Austin and head to the bike parking on Stratford Drive, near the MoPac Pedestrian Bridge. Or, rely on the pedal power of a pedicab. Several different pedicab companies (such as Capital Pedicap) operate in downtown Austin, with varying rates. If you’re within walking distance, the Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail takes you right to Zilker Park.
Credit Greg Noire.
How to Dress
Temperatures can climb into the high 80s in Austin in October, so dress for summer weather. And be sure to wear comfy shoes that are good for trooping through grass. Festival-goers are allowed to bring in empty, plastic or aluminum reusable water bottles and hydration packs, which can be refilled throughout the day at free water-filling stations to help beat the heat. And don’t forget the non-aerosol sunscreen (3.4oz or less!
What to Carry
Only clear plastic, vinyl or PVC bags smaller than 12"x12"x6", small clutch purses, and small fanny packs are allowed into the festival (read: no backpacks). But you’re welcome to bring in your own picnic blanket or individual collapsible chairs. Plus, don't forget the personal-sized hand sanitizer! Get the full details here.
There are ATMs at several locations throughout the festival grounds, and some vendors accept credit cards. But the easiest way to pay for food and goods is with your wristband, using ACL Cashless, (simply register for the service when you activate your wristband).
ACL Eats, Salt Lick BBQ. Credit Katrina Barber.
What to Eat + Drink
The ACL Eats Food Court features local food trucks and area restaurants serving up everything from tacos to vegetarian bites, along with craft beverages. Wine enthusiasts will want to head over to the ACL Wine Lounge, while suds lovers will find nirvana at the Barton Springs Beer Hall.
Phone charging stations are located around the grounds. Rather tune out? Head to the Silent Disco from 8-10 p.m. each evening at Tito’s Handmake Vodka Stage, where you can strap on a pair of headphones and groove to three guest DJs.
Late Night Shows
Keep the party going at official ACL Fest Late Night Shows. Some of your favorite festival artists will be performing at iconic Austin venues, ranging from Stubb’s Bar-B-Q to Emo’s and more.
University of Texas mascot Hook Em posing with fans. Credit Katrina Barber.
What to Do Before + After the Fest
Looking for fun things to do around Austin before or after the festival? Check out Top Things to Do in Austin for the best things to see, eat and drink while in town.
For questions about ADA Access and Accommodations at ACL Fest, email email@example.com.
More ACL Fest Info
Have questions? Find all the answers at the official ACL Festival site, where you can download the ACL Music Festival mobile app and connect through social media.
Photos courtesy of C3 Presents.