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Hilltop Views

The Student News Site of St. Edward's University

Hilltop Views

The Student News Site of St. Edward's University

Hilltop Views

OPINION: Follow these essential tips to maintain a fun, safe Austin City Limits experience

Scarlett Houser / Hilltop Views

Whether you are new to the Austin City Limits experience or an ACL veteran, everyone could benefit from a few tips and tricks in preparation for the music-filled weekends ahead. ACL weekend one will be held Oct. 6-8 and weekend two will follow on Oct.13-15. Here are my top tips to keep you cool, calm and collected as you sing your heart out and dance the summer blues away under the Texas sun all weekend long.


1. Invest in a hydration pack

My number one ACL tip is to invest in a hydration pack. Being able to have water on you at all times without the annoyance of carrying around a water bottle is a blessing. Most hydration packs also contain pockets to store power banks, hand sanitizer, sunscreen and more. You can easily dance and wave your hands in the air all while making sure you are staying hydrated in the heat. Temperatures are expected to be in the high 80s, so drink up.


2. Know where the hydration stations are

Even after you have invested in a hydration pack, there is no guarantee that the pack will last you throughout an entire day. Knowing where the hydration stations are is another way to stay hydrated.


3. Know your travel plans

Knowing how you’re getting back home or back to your hotel is key when visiting ACL. Ubers, Lyfts and other ride-sharing apps can be really expensive around the festival. I suggest either driving yourself and parking on one of the neighborhood streets near the park or arranging a pickup spot for a friend to carpool. If you don’t have access to a car, walking to a location farther from the festival can make your Ubers and Lyfts a lot cheaper.  


4. Dress for comfort

As much as I love getting dressed up, comfort is key at ACL. By all means, look as cute as you want, but stuff like heels, skirts you have to pull down every three seconds and non-breathable fabrics can make ACL feel like a living hell. I recommend things like tank tops, tennis skorts, lightweight t-shirts and shorts to make your festival experience as light and breezy as possible. If you have longer hair, try putting it up or braiding it to keep it out of your face and off of your back. 


5. Bring Sunscreen

Protect your skin by bringing sunscreen. ACL does not allow you to bring aerosol cans into festival grounds, so I usually bring a small stick sunscreen or liquid sunscreen to make sure my shoulders, face, neck and chest aren’t turning pink throughout the day. I also suggest bringing a hat to protect your scalp, but not a hat that is too tall so you don’t end up obstructing someone’s view behind you. 


6. Eat before you go, food is expensive 

That $20 burger might look yummy but is it worth the wait and price? I say no. Food and drinks are notoriously expensive at music festivals. If you aren’t down paying up to $40 for a meal, I say skip the lengthy lines and eat a hearty meal before coming to the festival. It will make the post-ACL P-Terry’s taste that much better. 


7. Be familiar with Zilker and the official ACL map

As a directionally challenged person, ACL is a nightmare, but being familiar with the park itself can help ease some of this anxiety. I like to set the map as my lock screen so it is easily accessible. I also recommend making the lineup your home screen so you do not have to search through your camera roll to find when your selected bands are going on stage.

8. Preload your wristband

Preload your wristband with your debit or credit card information. ACL has made it very easy to go cardless by allowing attendees to add their card information to their wristbands making it easier to purchase merchandise, snacks and drinks. No one wants to lose their card in a crowd of 200,000 people, so play it safe.


9. Want to buy merch? Be there early

Getting there early is a plus if you want to buy merch. Nothing is worse than seeing a t-shirt you like and then, upon waiting in line, finding out it is sold out in your size. The best time to shop for merch would be around 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. before the later crowds join in. Trust me, you won’t regret snagging that Foo Fighters tee before the rush.


10. Be Respectful

ACL is full of first-timers and longtime ACL attendees. It doesn’t matter which group you fall into; everyone is there to have fun, soak in some rays and enjoy live music. Throwing things into crowds or at performers, holding up posters, pushing and other disruptive behavior is not chill festival etiquette and could get you in serious trouble. Remember to be respectful of the artists, vendors and your neighbor. Remember everyone is there to have a good time and enjoy the various artists, so if you can be anything, be kind. 


I hope these tips will help guide you through the best ACL experience you can have. See you there!

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About the Contributor
Emma Sutton, Staff Writer
Emma Sutton is a junior a majoring in writing and rhetoric with a concentration in journalism and digital media. It is her second semester writing for Hilltop Views and first semester as a staff writer. She loves writing about all things pop culture but also has a soft spot for baseball.

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