Wrap up another one. Well, not quite.
For the 12th year, Austin’s Zilker Park has played host to a three-day blowout of bands and beer, fun and sun, with a cross section of locals and visitors rocking out to some of the world’s biggest touring acts.
The weather was perfect, if not a bit chilly Saturday night, but as Sunday’s very different fest-closers Atoms For Peace and Lionel Richie underlined the full spectrum of music that had gone on for 11 tree-shaking hours each day, one big question remains.
Are you ready to do it all again next weekend?
“I’d say, without a doubt, this was the smoothest festival we’ve ever done,” said Charlie Jones, a partner in C3 Presents, which also hosts Lollapalooza in Chicago’s Grant Park every August. “This is our 12th year of doing this and most of our staff has been with us since the beginning, so we’ve got it down.”
Aside from Muse’s set Friday starting 30 minutes late because of generator problems, the shows ran on schedule and without incident.
C3 confirmed that the dates for next year’s ACL Fest will again be in the first two weekends of October (Oct. 3-5 and Oct. 10-12).
Besides adding an identical second weekend — Mirrorpalooza? — ACL this year expanded the styles of acts that fit under their booking umbrella. Streetwise reality rapper Kendrick Lamar, mainstream country star Eric Church and Top 40 R&B nostalgia act Lionel Richie show just how far ACL has come from its roots booking indie rock and Americana.
Charles Attal, who’s in charge of booking the fest, said Lamar’s sensational Saturday set, and the delirious reaction from fans, proved that cutting-edge hip-hop has a place at ACL. That many of the same people were going nuts for Church on Sunday evening shows just how much the lines that once defined musical tastes have been blurred.
“In this day and age, genres are gone,” Church said in an interview an hour before he hit the stage with his brand of Hank Williams meets AC/DC strum and twang. “The gatekeepers are no longer controlling what you can listen to, so music is becoming much more diverse.”
Sunday afternoon, Attal said he was curious about how Lionel Richie, about as hip as ’80s perms, would go over with a crowd that has been grooving to the likes of Passion Pit, Vampire Weekend, the National and Little Green Cars all week. Attal said if Richie whips up the crowd, it’s possible that C3 might use the Sunday headlining slot for more “heritage” acts.
One thing that’s for certain is that the two-weekend format is here to stay. “There’s just too much of a demand to keep it at one weekend,” said Attal, who said fewer than 5,000 wristbands remain for next weekend.
Zilker’s Great Lawn will reopen from Tuesday to Thursday, with the stage and production areas cordoned off. Then it starts all over again.
Let’s hope the gorgeous weather of this past weekend will be back along with the bands.
Our complete coverage from the weekend, including reviews, scene reports, photos and videos.
Today in Life & Arts: Our team’s highlights from weekend one.
Wednesday: We’ll host a live chat at 2 p.m. about the first three days and look ahead at the second weekend in Zilker park.
Coming Friday: A special Austin360 with more on the second weekend.