Austin City Limits Music Festival (ACL) is an annual music festival, which is held in Zilker Park in Austin, Texas. It is a three day event which attracts over 65,000 people each year. You can listen to many music styles there such as hip-hop, reggae, electronic, dance, country and even folk. Despite this, ACL, first of all, is a premier destination for rock fans. ACL Festival was inspired by Austin Limits TV show, which, for decades, focused on Texas musicians, songwriters and instrumental specialists. Firstly set in 1976, this TV show became the longest –running concert show in America and even received a National Medal of Arts from President George W Bush. It is also the only TV program which has ever received this award.
ACL Festival, along with Coachella, Lollapalooza and Bonnaroo are the top rock festivals in the United States. Since 2002, when ACL first began, the line-up became more and more impressive each year; Robert Plant, Tom Petty, Bjork, Beck, John Mayer, Bob Dylan, The Killers, Massive Attack, Oasis and many more performed there.
In 2010 the list of headliners was also striking. The list of 130 performances included The Eagles, The Strokes, Muse, The Black Keys, Broken Bells and Phish. The Eagles were probably the most anticipated band during this ACL Festival. An older crowd showed up and camped for hours in order to get a nice view and enjoy the so-called classic rock. “Hotel California” appeared quite early during their performance and transformed Zilker Park into a giant karaoke platform, I doubt if anyone expected anything else. The Eagles played in a slow and quiet mood for the first half of their performance, mostly singing 70’s classic hits: “Take It To The Limit,” “I Can’t Tell You Why,” “Lyin’ Eyes,” and “Witchy Woman.” Then, once again, “Life’s Been Good” brought another karaoke session. The Eagles’ 90-minute performance just flew by. The crowd soon had another opportunity to listen to them once again. For an encore they brought two amazing songs “Take It Easy” and “Desperado”.
Phish was surprisingly too “normal” for himself. His two hour concert (only half the time his concerts usually play for) stayed safe and played only the greatest hits. The crowd, which expected improvisations that Phish is so famous for, didn’t really hear them. Phish remained reserved, songs like “Talking Heads” and “Cities” were kept short. Although, there was an exception; playing “You Enjoy Myself”, the quintessential Phish song, he arrived finally into mind expanding territory. Phish didn’t really get “weird” during his performance at ACL, as it was largely predicted. His fans were there for him, many of them had enjoyed his concerts many times before, at this Austin Limits festival and, for sure, will enjoy his concerts after the festival, because he is Phish, and the next time will never be the same again.
The ACL Festival is going to have its 10th anniversary in 2011 and, no doubt, the organizers will do their best to ensure the unforgettable experience of the audience.