The past two weekends, over 140 artists created the lineup of the 14th annual Austin City Limits Music Festival. With several big name headliners like Of Monsters and Men, The Strokes, Drake, and The Foo Fighters, it is no wonder that an estimated 450,000 music fans swarmed Zilker Park to catch a glimpse of his or her favorite band.
Since 2013, the festival has been composed of two three-day weekends, each featuring different performers and has sold out every year since its humble beginnings. One of the best things about the ACL festival is that there is truly something for everyone and that it is continuing to diversify and expand. While the ACL festival has not historically been geared toward hip hop and rap music (click for more info), performances by Drake and other rappers like G-Eazy brought fire to the stage with high energy sets and are beginning to define the culture of ACL.
Drake’s performance featured Atlanta rapper, Future, for two songs from their hot off the press mixtape, What a Time to Be Alive. The festival, which is typically better known for rock and pop music, did not disappoint in these genres either. The Foo Fighters claimed the largest crowd on the Samsung Galaxy Stage and the most media buzz from the once in a life time collaboration with legendary guitarist and Austin native, Gary Clark Jr., who joined the quintet for a single off of their latest album, Sonic Highways titled, “What Did I Do?/God as My Witness.” As if this was not enough to satisfy eager fans, Grohl and company also performed a mesmerizing cover of Pink Floyd’s “In the Flesh?” to end the show.
The Strokes stormed the stage of ACL for the second time this year opening their set with 2001 debut Is This It. The majority of their performance was composed of pre-2011 hits sans “Welcome to Japan” and “Machu Picchu.”
The Strokes ended their performance with “What Ever Happened,” a song that has not been performed anywhere since 2011, leaving some fans in tears. Of Monsters and Men also made an appearance at the festival playing mostly tracks from the band’s sophomore album Beneath the Skin.
Continuing on the alternative rock/pop spectrum, twenty-one pilots and Walk the Moon both delivered ground shaking performances that kept fans singing along for the entirety of the hour long sets. Nearing the end of all six festival days, the well known Indy-rock band Brand New set up camp on the HomeAway stage for a more intimate show featuring material from all four of their studio albums.
Despite the 90-degree weather, fans remained loyal to the event which is now considered the eighteenth best music festival in the country. Even though the name is not dropped with the same distinction as South by Southwest or Lollapalooza, music enthusiasts are predicting that this festival will continue to grow in popularity over the next few years.