5 Tips To Survive Austin City Limits Music Festival


5 tips to survive Austin City Limits music festival 2017

Austin City Limits Music Festival is upon us!  It’s the best weekend of the fall in Austin. I’ve been to this music festival 5 times, and every year I learn a little trick that makes me think, “why didn’t I do that last year?”

I’ve got to say, this year’s line up isn’t my favorite I’ve seen….but it’s definitely not a bad one. I’m excited for a bunch of these artist, like The Killers (um, HI BRANDON FLOWERS), Red Hot Chili Peppers (I just have a feeling that’s gonna be a good show, y’know?), and Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness (I’ll be singing along to every one of those songs!).

If you’re an ACL Fest pro, let me know some of your best tips and tricks in the comments section! And if you’re an ACL virgin, here are a few of my best suggestions to help you get the most out of this three-day weekend:

5 Tips To Survive ACL Festival 2017

1. Bring your own water bottle….no exceptions! It’s a long day, and you’ll have to work hard to not get dehydrated. Since everything is festival-priced, a box of water will cost you way more than you think it should cost. But there are free water-filling stations all over Zilker Park for those of us who bring our own re-usable water bottles!

2. But don’t bring much of anything else…  I hate to have my hands full of stuff all day long, and carting around a big, heavy tote gets painful. So I bring a single (small) cross-body bag to hold the following;

  • My phone
  • A portable charger (I have this one and love it.)
  • Sunglasses (you’ll need these for sure for those 5 pm shows when you’re facing the Honda Stage.)
  • Toilet paper/tissues (because without fail, the porta potties run out of TP by the end of the day!)
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Maybe a blanket/sheet to lay out on the grass for a mid-afternoon nap in the shade….depends on the group you’ll be with all day.

3. Just pay for a pedi cab to take you to to the entrance! I fought this for years, thinking, I’ll just walk…I don’t want to waste money on a pedi cab… Friends: just do it! It’s the best $10 you’ll spend. Have an uber drop you off as close as possible (the roads are blocked off to cars at a certain point), then the pedi cab will zip you right up to the entrance. Instead of walking a mile, save your valuable energy to max out your concert-going experience!

Bonus tip: except for the cash you need for the pedi cab, don’ t bring cash/cards. Use ACL Cashless to link your credit card to your wristband, and then you won’t be worried about losing anything valuable. I’ve found that the fewer valuable items I’m carrying around, the more I enjoy the festival. Leave the expensive sunglasses at home, and rock a pair a cheapo ones instead. 

4. Pick out your 3 outfits ahead of time. And you really do need three pairs of clothes…you’ll be gross and sweaty at the end of each day! Also, be sure to wear comfy shoes. I’m talkin’ sneakers, birkenstocks, flip flops…something like that. I see people walking around in high heeled booties all day, and just think “ouch.”

Looking for outfit inspo? I’ve got an entire pinterest board dedicated to ACL Festival fashion!


5. Tryyyyy to limit alcohol on day 3….I know, this is a boring tip. There’s no doubt about it: if you do ACL Fest right, you’ll feel like crap on Monday morning. It’s just supposed to happen. I try to limit my booze intake on Sunday and drink lots of water so I can at least semi-function on Monday morning. Some people go cold turkey and have no booze on Sunday, but I’ll usually enjoy at least one beer throughout the evening.

If beer isn’t your thing, ACL Fest added a wine tent this year. Wahoo!!



It’s the best weekend! I’ll be there all three days of weekend one, and I’m PUMPED. Current status: pouring over the weekend one schedule to try and figure out which bands I’m going to prioritize! I’m thinking that Foster The People will be one of those bands that I get to the stage early and try to get close up! Also, Vance Joy. I adore that man. That’s all.

I’m also looking at the food lineup at ACL Eats. Their motto is “far from funnel cakes and turkey legs,” and that’s so true! ACL Eats does a great job of highlighting some of the fun food  options in Austin. A few I always try to grab:

  • Mighty Cone
  • Chi’Lantro
  • East Side King
  • Peached Tortilla
  • Sno Beach
  • Tiff’s Treats

Oh gosh. I’m way too excited right now! Time to sign off so I can actually do something productive with my day instead of scouring the ACL Fest website all morning!

XO, Kelsey


6 comments on “5 Tips To Survive Austin City Limits Music Festival”

  1. Ooo good tips! Add a hat for shade. SUNSCREEN! Tissues are great for blowing your nose also! The dust is AWFUL by day 2 so I would recommend a bandana to cover your face when walking around. #worthit. And take immune boosters (vitamins, emergen-C) before, during, and after because it’s easy to crash and get sick after. (Speaking from experience! urrgghhh) Lots of water will help with that too! I love the craft beer tent! Thanks for the reminders, Kelsey! It’s *almost* time! 🙂

  2. Great post! I’m hoping to go this year, it’d be my first time! I love that it’s a day festival and you can go home and sleep in your comfy bed every night 🙂 Also, fingers crossed I spot Beyonce and the babies

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