Saturday afternoon at the Austin City Limits Music Festival’s very first second weekend was marked by two things that didn’t happen.
It didn’t rain. (Before headliners the Cure and Kings of Leon hit the stage at 8 p.m.) And the Longhorns didn’t lose. (What?)
Despite the wealth of musical talent onstage, many of the fest-goers — ACL officials said 75,000 three-day passes sold out for the second weekend — kept one eye on the sky, another on the game.
That’s the great thing about the game being played so early, Daniel Venek said at the new Barton Springs Beer Hall. Hard-core University of Texas fans could watch the Red River Rivalry unfold, then go out and enjoy the remaining bands.
“This is a great idea regardless of the game,” Venek said, waving one hand around the beer hall. His other hand clutched a Left Hand Milk Stout. “All these great beers, the bigger space. You can hear the Austin Ventures stage from here.”
“I thought for sure we were going to lose,” said Mike Anselmo, whose fiancee, Alyssa Legler, graduated from UT’s LBJ School of Public Affairs. “We watched it at Little Woodrow’s before heading here. We left with two minutes to go in the game. It was done.”
It rained briefly Friday night, and showers were still predicted for later Saturday night and Sunday. The 90-plus-degree temperatures and grueling humidity contributed to a host of guest ills.
The city of Austin tweeted that 14 patients were transported Friday for maladies often associated with music festivals, such as overdoses, allergic reactions, fractures and seizures.
Saturday around 2 p.m., a middle-aged man went into cardiac arrest and was taken to University Medical Center Brackenridge. EMS commander Mike Benavides said a bystander performed CPR before responders arrived and shocked him with a defibrillator numerous times until his pulse returned.
Pat and Sam Pieggi, educators from Toronto here for Canada’s Thanksgiving holiday, were ready for the weather — whatever it brought.
“We have ponchos,” Pat Pieggi said. “We are Canadians. We come prepared. We left the fleece back in the hotel, in case it gets cold.”
Sam Pieggi: “Hey, this is like home: humid with a thunderstorm to come.”
Statistician Dave Andrae was comforted by the familiar rhythms of ACL Fest.
“I think it’s been very similar to last year,” he said, “although the crowds have been a little smaller, which is good. And the sound has definitely improved.”
Outside the park, lighter traffic was evident.
“I’m seeing the least amount of neighborhood parking in eight years,” said Austin police officer Melanie Rodriguez, standing sentinel in the shade on Dawson Road. “If people would just not try to skirt the system, it would all be easier.”
For folks willing to walk a bit — or shell out $10 per person for a pedicab — the Hyatt Regency Austin, 208 Barton Springs Road, opened a seven-story, 794-space parking garage this week.
Rodriguez has seen more attempts to park in Zilker than in Bouldin. First, she checks to see whether the vehicle bears a blue neighborhood pass on the rearview mirror. If not, she asks the driver for a specific address.
“If they are guests, I say, ‘Fine, but you need to park in the driveway,’ ” she said. As often as possible, she urges use of the shuttle system, which has experienced few glitches this year.
Down the hill at the Elks Lodge, a handwritten sign announced that its lot was full, or at least already reserved, with slots going for $25 a day or $60 for a three-day pass.
“We’ve been doing this since ACL started,” said the lodge’s past exalted leader, Kathleen Davies. “We booked up this year really quick.”
Pedicabber Mark Moser waited in the steamy heat farther down the hill. “Business was a lot better last year,” Moser said, “mostly because there were fewer pedicabs out.”
An earlier report estimated that 500 cabbers pedaled around downtown last weekend. For the past two years, the Denton-based Moser has worked full time by crisscrossing the state, working festivals and big sports events, such as the Cowboys’ and Rangers’ games in Arlington.
“People usually give 10 bucks,” he said. “Sometimes they are more generous at festivals.”
On the field, excitement built for breakout act Kendrick Lamar, who drew a huge crowd; hometown heroes the Bright Light Social Hour; and marquee attractions the Cure and Kings of Leon, which elicited widely varied reviews last week. Another breakout from weekend one, Vintage Trouble, brought out Austin blues player Carolyn Wonderland for a few songs in the early evening hours.
Amid all the pounding music, much of the attention early in the afternoon was directed 200 miles away at the Cotton Bowl. Engineer Bobby Timmons kept faith with his Horns.
“It was over from the get-go,” Timmons said. “Oklahoma didn’t stand a chance. It was (expletive) phenomenal.”
Additional material from American-Statesman staff writers Gary Dinges, Ariana Auber and Andra Lim.
Statesman at ACL
See more live coverage, including reviews, scene reports, photos and videos at austin360.com/acl, where you’ll also find all our coverage of weekend one.
Coming Monday: A special wrap of the second weekend of ACL Fest.