ACL survival guide: stay hydrated, charged, prepared

Kaiya Little, Life & Arts Desk Editor

The serene grounds of Zilker Park will soon be filled with lively concertgoers at this year’s Austin City Limits Music Festival. Braving the crowds, weather and endless entertainment options can be an intimidating task without the proper preparation.

To help curate the best festival experience, The Daily Texan gathered the best tips, from food and hydration to prioritizing safety as well as fun, to help all attendees survive and make the most of both ACL weekends.


Food & Hydration

Between back-to-back sets and hours in the lingering not-quite-fall heat, the necessity of proper hydration and nourishment cannot be stressed enough. While hydrating before arriving on festival grounds is important, an on-site water bottle is crucial, and be sure to keep an eye out for refill spots. Additionally, ACL boasts food vendors from around the Austin area, packing the best food and drink options for any mid-festival craving. Leave the growling vocals to the actual singers — not your stomach.


Keep charged

A portable charger will keep attendees’ phones alive for any and all snappable moments. Having full juice means more pictures, live music to squash post-concert sadness and ready access to the festival schedule throughout the day. To preserve battery, festival goers can disconnect every now and then by checking out festival merch or vendor booths.


Phone a friend

In the midst of the concert craze, ACL will be easier to navigate with a friend or two. For both safety and fun, maintain a buddy system at the festival and check-in frequently. Discuss a central place to meet throughout the day, and make a plan for accessing emergency services should anyone get lost or need help.


Make an itinerary 

ACL offers an abundance of musical performances from a wide variety of genres — many of which occur simultaneously. In order to see as many great performances as possible, come to the festival with a loose schedule in mind. Additionally, try to be mindful of locations and map out the best routes ahead of time.

A lot of this year’s performers include big names in music that will draw large crowds, so getting to the performances early will be key to getting a good view during sets. To secure barricade spots at ACL, arrive at the show beforehand and prepare to be patient and safely rush to the front row as soon as possible. In doing so, the opportunity to discover a new favorite artist might arise!


Pack light

For attendees looking to carry their festival essentials, a small bag or fanny pack makes a perfect compartment. To stay comfortable, minimizing physical cash and change can create more space and keep bags lighter. ACL offers a digital wallet option with the purchase of a wristband, making food or drink purchases more convenient with just the tap of a wrist.


Getting back

After making it through a long and successful day of live music, don’t forget to coordinate a ride home. Only utilize safe and trustworthy services and always have a parking or rideshare plan. As crowds flood out of Zilker Park, it can be difficult to find friends in a swarm of over 50,000 people. Make sure to establish a meeting place ahead of time to ensure an easy, enjoyable process to round out a joyous day of live music.