Local Austin acts to watch on their hometown ACL Stage

Sage Dunlap, Life & Arts Associate Editor

While the Austin City Limits Music Festival attracts artists from around the globe, some performers require just a short trek across the highway. This year’s ACL lineup contains numerous local acts, and The Daily Texan compiled a list of unmissable Austin-based artists taking the ACL stage this coming weekend.


Mama Duke — Saturday, Oct. 8, 12 p.m. Barton Springs Stage

Winner of two Austin Hip-Hop Awards, including Artist of the Year and Female Artist of the Year, Austin-based rapper Mama Duke will make her ACL debut this October. The lyricist navigates the hip-hop genre with confidence and introspection — evidenced by her 2020 album Ballsy. Mama Duke’s set will make a must-see for any rap fans attending the festival.

With biting hip-hop flows on tracks like “I Feel A Way” and “Ghost” sure to ripple through the crowd, igniting a sea of jumping and moshing below the stage, festival attendees looking forward to the rapper’s set should prepare to sweat. 


Sarah and the Sundays — Friday, Oct. 7, 5 p.m. BMI Stage 

The indie-rock ensemble will take the BMI stage Friday night with a breezy, largely acoustic set, showcasing a catalog of songs from the group’s most recent album, The Living End, as well as older songs. Underlining stories of love and heartbreak with mellow tunes and beachy guitar melodies, Sarah and the Sundays’ set will appeal to fans of big indie names like Rex Orange County or fellow Austin-made band Dayglow.

To prepare for the band’s late afternoon slot, fans should check out blithe, laid-back indie hit “Moving On” and upbeat breakup anthem “I’m So Bored.”  


Buffalo Nichols — Sunday, Oct. 9, 1:45 p.m. Tito’s Stage

Attendees looking to hear soulful country melodies and sizzling strings should check out Buffalo Nichols’ performance. Nichols, born in Houston, moved to Austin in 2020 and made waves in the city’s blues scene with the release of his 2021 self-titled album. The singer-songwriter’s music brings a raw emotive quality, fusing inspiration from blues, folk and jazz influences to create a magnetic live presence.

With just one album released on streaming platforms, attendees should listen to his 2021 project in preparation for the festival. Country fans will enjoy brassy banjo bangers like “How to Love,” while lovers of softer ballads should check out the melodic showstopper “These Things.”


Darkbird — Sunday, Oct. 9, 1:15 p.m. BMI Stage

Bold and wistful, alternative rock band Darkbird will bring a powerhouse performance of nostalgia-tinged rock to ACL. The Austin-based group combines stinging guitar with synth-pop production to create a timeless and sultry sound perfect for fans awaiting Paramore’s set later that night.Attendees can expect to hear a collection of songs from the group’s recent EP, Ballad of a Junebug, released in April. Synth-pop sensation “Heartbeat” recalls glossy 1980s pop stars like Pat Benatar, while “3-2-Wake Up” brings a more shimmery, breezy 2000s pop sound. Overall, fans can expect to sample a variety of genres during Darkbird’s midday set.