You have your tickets to the Austin City Limits Music Festival 2022, and even though it’s not until October, you’re ready to get packed right NOW. We understand – it’s only one of the biggest and baddest music festivals in the world.

ACL Austin is goin’ down this year on two weekends – October 7-9, 2022 and October 14-16, 2022, and the minute you buy your tickets, you’ll want to book your hotel or Airbnb, it gets very full here very quickly.

ACL as locals and attendees refer to it, started in 1975 as a humble blues show on PBS, the longest-running music series that has featured thousands of artists across time. Fast forward to 2002, they launched a diverse music festival across the 358 acres of Zilker Park in Austin, Texas.

Today, the city fills up with hundreds of thousands of visitors from around the globe, ears open to every genre imaginable, both indie musical acts, folks in the rock and roll hall of fame, and the biggest names in history coming together for over 100 performances crammed into two weekends.

Who’s performing at ACL this year?

We’re watching the lineup, and as of publication it includes:

What to wear, what to bring

Regardless of your gender identity, ACL, like most major music festivals, has a subculture of fashion, it’s wild. People wear everything from indie garb, glitter, and flowers, to straight up couture getups, but the general vibe is a slightly less douchey Coachella.

Here is Austonia’s dress guide from last year, it’s pretty accurate and will give you ideas on how to hide your sweat.

You’ll have dreams of being barefoot or wearing flip flops, but there is a LOT of walking, and you’re going to want to take our advice on bringing something more sturdy. And if it rains, it’s a mudpit – you’ll love that mudpit, but it gets nasty if you’re in flip flops. Bring options in footwear.

The truth is that even in October, it can be hotter than hell in Austin, which can shock first timers traveling in from cooler states. For that reason, you’ll want to bring sunscreen and chapstick everywhere during both weekends, and most importantly, stay hydrated. Most people have reusable water bottles or hydration packs, and try to spot the festival hydration stations as soon as you arrive (or just pay $3 per bottle all day, it’s your call).

Everyone has on a belt bag (aka bum bag, aka fanny pack, aka waist pack) because you’ll need to have your wallet and ID with you at all times. If that’s uncomfortable, wear it cross-body, but purses and bags aren’t always realistic for this setting.

Bring extra sunglasses, snag some high quality earplugs, bring a spray bottle with a fan in the lid, and if you have the gumption to really plan ahead, bring a blanket or inflatable seat – a ChillBo doesn’t require an air pump.

Where to stay when you visit

Okay look, if you don’t have your place booked yet, go do it now – things fill up really really quickly. Airbnb and HomeAway are the most common platforms used, there are hotel options, and you’ll want to be near Zilker Park if you can.

But it fills up so quickly that even surrounding suburbs fill up and use a rideshare in to town. The truth is that you won’t be going back and forth over and over, so the most important part is that you just have somewhere to sleep at night, even if it’s a trek out that way.

How to get around Austin during ACL

There are four festival entrances, so using a rideshare is the best option, and both Lyft and Uber drivers know you’re coming to town, so they’re on call en masse. There will be plenty of goofy electric scooters littering the area during the festival, but Austin isn’t a taxi city, never has been, so don’t count on that.

We do have some public transportation, but it’s not built to accommodate ACL, so make sure you’re ready to use a rideshare. Renting a car and parking at ACL is a nightmare – no one recommends it. If you are staying nearby, biking is a common option as well. But seriously, don’t try to drive yourself.

crowd at the Austin City Music Festival (ACL)
image courtesy of www.flickr.com

Thriving during the festival

So we’ve talked about logistics, but what about actually thriving during the festival?

On the first day, you’ll want to get the lay of the land and walk around to make sure you know where the water stations and bathrooms are, and where the stages are. Trust us, you may want to see two shows that are on different stages, so getting the timing and pathway down in your head right away will make that possible.

One way to thrive is to dig into the food! It’s not your average crappy carnival food, there are incredible local joints making sure you have a legit good experience. Local ice creams, mexican food fare, bbq, vegan food, everything – it all tastes incredible, so dive in.

Music is about seeing a human on stage, baring their soul. Dave Grohl once said, “That’s one of the great things about music. You can sing a song to 85,000 people and they’ll sing it back for 85,000 different reasons.”

ACL is an experience, so take your time and don’t just rush from show to show, get into it, soak in the gift these artists are giving you. Lay on the grass, close your eyes, take your time. Too many people just rush, and miss out on the actual experience.

Lastly, thriving means making it a fun time for the entire weekend. The last show ends at 10pm, so you have time to engage in Austin’s nightlife. You can hit up Dirty 6th or West 6th, but most people these days head out to Rainey Street to keep the party going.

Enjoy the Austin City Limits Music Festival this year - most of us locals will either be joining you or avoiding the area altogether to make room for you. Have fun!