Tales from ACL: Bringing a family has its own challenges and rewards

Justin Jones

UT alumnus Ken Aponte faced a difficult choice — bring his child to ACL or end a 12-year tradition.

His wife, Laura, put an end to the conversation by letting him know that not attending was not an option, even though they already have a one-and-a-half-year-old son, Oliver. The couple is expecting their next child, a daughter who is expected in just a few months, to attend as well.

“We just make sure we know where all the exits are and we’re good,” Ken Aponte said. “The crowd and the heat (are) a big issue. It’s mainly the heat this year. I feel like this is hotter than normal.”

Ken and Laura love the fest and said they’re glad they went this year. In spite of that, Ken did admit that his experience has changed since his college years.

“It’s a different experience,” Ken Aponte said. “I used to just drink beer with my buddies all day.”

After 12 years of attendance, the festival means a lot to Ken. While the less famous acts grow more obscure to him with every year, Ken said it’s the people that drive him back.

“The best part to me is being around friends,” Ken said. “We roll with a group of like 20 people, we have a good time. It’s more about friends than it is about music.”

As for the rest of the family, Laura Aponte said it’s all about the food, and Oliver was particularly enamored with canned water.