Austin City Council approves ACL extension


Thomas Allison

Audience members cheer for TV On The Radio Saturday afternoon at the Austin City Limits festival.

Joan Vinson

Austin City Council approved the extension of ACL Aug. 16 after C3 Presents, the entertainment planning company that produces ACL, and the City of Austin finalized negotiations. The expansion will bring ACL to Austin for two weeks beginning next year.

Holding ACL for two weekends will give more students the chance to attend the TX-OU game, allow for greater sales opportunities for Austin businesses and give pedicab drivers an extra weekend to take advantage of the flux of people in need of rides.

“We are pleased that the Austin City Council passed the resolution to negotiate a new contract for the rental of Zilker Park for the Austin City Limits Music Festival,” C3 Presents spokesperson Sandee Fenton said.

According to a 2011 KXAN news story, ACL rakes in more than $73 million in visitor spending and total economic impact for Austin, so many expect the extra weekend will increase this number.

The extended ACL will operate exactly like traditional festivals, giving some people a second chance to attend.

The TX-OU football game is taking place Saturday, Oct. 13 this year, right in the middle of the ACL festival — students and football fans will have to choose between the two. Although students have the opportunity to attend both the game and the festival, psychology junior Paige Schutze said the price of each ticket might hold them back.

“Both the TX-OU game and ACL are expensive, so I think students will still end up having to make a choice between the two events,” Schutze said.

Advertising junior and pedicab driver Colby Belcher said ACL is probably the busiest time in Austin for pedicab drivers. Pedicab drivers line the streets at the end of each day of the festival waiting for tired festival goers to hitch a ride. It is a prime time for pedicab drivers to pick up passengers because those leaving the festival are exiting through the same gates.

“Most people leaving the festival are usually going to hotels or parking garages nearby, so it is easy to drop customers off and then loop back to the exit to pick up more people,” Belcher said. “ACL is like Christmas for pedicabbers.”

Barton Springs Road serves as a direct route into ACL, so hordes of people walk the street during the festival. More than 70,000 people attend each day, so the businesses on Barton Springs receive more customers than usual. Shady Grove manager Rusty Zagst said ACL brings a new clientele to his restaurant because of the number of people from out of town.

“Business during ACL can be a little troublesome because of all of the cars and traffic, but we do have the chance to expose ourselves to a new audience,” Zagst said. “Two weekends, bring it on.”