It’s festival season! I’m a BIG ACL girl! There’s nothing better than a sunny weekend in Austin with back to back to back concerts. It’s a great time to enjoy your favorite artists, discover new ones, eat good food, and have a blast with friends. If you’re going to ACL for the first time, it can be a little intimidating, so here’s 5 tips that I’ve learned through my experiences at ACL!
Tip #1: Emergency Contact Lock Screen
A lot of people like to set the daily lineup as their lock screen so they can reference it easily, but for a large festival like ACL, I always like having my emergency contact information instead. You. Will. Not. Have. Phone. Service!! There may be a few hot spots at random vendors, but prepare for the fact that your phone won’t have service 99.999% of the time. I usually make a small graphic for my lock screen that has my name and the name and number of one or two emergency contacts. This isn’t just for if you lose your phone (which could happen), but also for if something happens to you. Make sure at least one of your emergency contacts is someone who isn’t at the festival. It’s a good precaution, and you never know…it could save you if something happens.
Tip #2: Have a Meeting Place
If you are going with a group, ALWAYS have a designated meeting spot. A lot of people like to bring flags or other objects to hold into the air, but it’s always safe to have a place where you can all go to find each other if the group gets separated. This is super helpful if your group wants to see different artists because you can split and then coordinate when to meet back at your special spot. Try to pick a less populated area, where it will be easy to spot your lost group member. Last year, our little group decided to meet between our locker and the water station. This meeting place came in handy many times, and it helps everyone feel calm and safe if the crowds get the best of you.
Tip #3: Rent a Locker!
If you’re anything like me, you’re probably thinking about how to save money and cram as much as you can in your bag so you don’t have to pay for a locker, but trust me, the locker is worth it. When me and my friends finally decided to get one, it was a lifesaver. You’re going to want to carry as little as possible, especially if you’re seeing one of the headliners because a) carrying too much hinders your ability to mosh and b) you have a higher chance of something getting stolen. The lockers are so nice to store random items like sunscreen, sunglasses, or even that extra taco you didn’t finish. 😉
Tip #4: Wear Comfy Shoes!
COMFY SHOES COMFY SHOES COMFY SHOES!!!! I can’t stress this enough. I don’t care if they don’t match your outfit. You will be on your feet all day, and will probably have about a 10-15 minute walk back to your car, depending on where you park. My first ACL, I wore some boots that I had worn before, and they had never given me problems. At the festival, I was practically limping by the end of Day 1 and had horrible blisters for a week. Trust me, comfy shoes are not going to ruin your epic ACL fit. That girl on Instagram with the 4 inch go-go boots barely made it three hours before she retired under a tree to kick her shoes off. Also keep in mind that whatever shoes you wear will be trampled and destroyed, so your white shoes won’t be white for long.
Tip #5: Be Kind!
This may seem like a strange tip…but hear me out. Be kind and respectful to the artists, staff, and other guests at ACL. It goes a long way. Everyone is there to have fun and enjoy the music, so be conscious of all of the people around you…
Artists: Remember that video from ACL 2019 where someone stole Billie Eilish’s ring as she walked through the crowd? Yeah, I was there, and it totally killed the vibes. These musicians are here to entertain you, but their job is difficult, and they deserve to be respected. They are putting in a lot of hard work to make your experience enjoyable. Don’t ruin it for them.
Staff: The staff at ACL works SO HARD! Their days are long, and they have to deal with a lot of difficult situations. Always be polite and thank staff whenever you can so that they know you appreciate everything they do. ACL would not happen without them!
Guests: I get it, everyone wants to be on the barrier, but try to think of how you would want people to treat you if roles were reversed. Don’t cut legitimate lines, physically push someone away from the barrier, or do anything that could cause tension in the crowd. Waiting for a set to start is a great time to make friends! Be kind, help others, and do your part in making ACL a great experience for everyone!
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