The Austin City Limits Music Festival Checklist

Attending festivals is hard work, man.

So why not be prepared?

Image via

Image via

This past weekend, I attended the eleventh annual Austin City Limits Music Festival. This year marked my fifth time attending the festival, so I’d like to consider myself a professional ACL-attendee.

To some of you devil-may-care types, this checklist may seem a little over-worried-Bubbe, but – trust me – the items come in handy. While my friends poke fun at me for being twenty-three going on eighty, they also thank me when issues arise and I happen to have the solution at hand.

So without further ado, may I present the ACL 2013 Checklist. Feel free to print it off and edit it to fit your own needs!

☐ [fully charged] cell phone – this is probably obvious to most but you’d be surprised how quickly your battery drains at ACL! Be smart and show up with 100% battery life so you can at least make it an hour.

 the official #aclfest app – available for both the  as well as the iPhone, the app lets you create your own custom schedule ahead of time and help [physically] map out your ACL weekend.

☐ backpack or large bag with pockets – trust me, you’re going to want a carry-all.

☐ spare cell phone charger and/or backup battery – because your cell phone will die before the day is through… and festivals are a scary place if you don’t have a working phone. I brought my charger and a Mophie case, and I still ran out of juice.

☐ reusable water bottle – though you cannot bring food or liquids into the festival,  a reusable water bottle still makes my list. There are CamelBak-sponsored water bottle refill stations throughout Zilker Park. For free. Compare that to the $3 per water bottle that you have to spend otherwise and I’m pretty sure you’ll agree that it’s worth it to bring in that bottle.

☐ at least $40 in cash – parking, pedicabs, beer, festival t-shirts, food… all of these things require money. Though now many/all of the festival shops take credit cards, you don’t want to be the shmo holding up the line to get out your amex. Just hand over the green and run along.

☐ sunscreen, spf 45+ – Austin is sunny. I mean, like, really sunny. And nothing makes a festival miserable quite like being a scorched little lobster after day one. So put on liberal amounts of sunscreen before heading to the festival and remember to reapply every two hours!

☐ hat – same line as the sunscreen. Whether it be a cowboy hat or a baseball cap, your face will thank you.

☐ sunglasses – you know how I said Austin is sunny? I wasn’t kidding.

☐ bandaids – I never leave home without bandaids, so you bet your bum that I wouldn’t enter a festival without them!

☐ tissues – Austin is in the midst of ragweed season currently. What’s that? You’re not allergic to ragweed? Well I didn’t think I was either and I was sneezing up a storm. Just make your life a little bit easier and bring along a few tissues.

☐ hair tie –when you undoubtedly get too hot, you’re going to want to pull your hair up off your back and out of your face.

☐ bobby pins – see the above, use for added style. You’ll see some great, pinterest-worthy hairstyles at ACL. Some braids better than Kirsten from American Girls’s. If you weren’t a stylist in a past life, don’t worry. I find that simply twisting the front locks and pinning them in the back and then [this part is optional] pulling the rest into a twisty low chignon is ACL-fashion-proof and also somewhat simple.

☐ comb – Zilker Park is right on the water so you get the diverse range of Austin’s weather. Super hot and humid one minute, 60° and windy the next. If you don’t want your hair to turn into a rat’s nest, just bring a comb along for the occasional touchup.

☐ mini-deodorant – in the event you go out at night, you don’t want to pull a Pumba and clear the savannah/bar upon entrance. For all who got that Lion King reference, I applaud you.

☐ sneakers – I find the festival to be the most comfortable when I’m wearing closed-toed  shoes. Between the dust and the staggering masses, your toes will be cleaner and less bruised by the end if you just don a pair of tennis shoes for the weekend.

☐ flip flops – in the event that the weather gets too hot for sneakers and socks and you don’t want to be that hippie/mess walking around shoe-less, flippie-floppies are a reliable option.

☐ poncho / raincoat – occasionally (very, very occasionally), it rains in Austin. It rained during ACL last year and I was ever so thankful that I had thought to pack a poncho in my bag. Austin’s weather is highly unpredictable so – on the off chance that it ends up being necessary – it might be worth to invest in and pack a $5 plastic poncho.

☐ sweatshirt / pullover – this weekend, it got chilly (below 75°) two evenings. That’s sweatshirt / sweater / pullover weather if I’ve ever heard of it.

☐ tide to go pen – I use my Tide To Go pen roughly three times a week, so obviously I wouldn’t go near a festival without having one in my bag. Accidentally dribble some Amy’sice cream down your shirt? Don’t look like a slob: use Tide To Go! Your P.Terry’s burger or Frank’s hot dog falls in your lap? Easy, shmeezy. Use your shirt as an extra napkin after eating some Salt Lick BBQ? Duh: Tide To Go.
All of the restaurants mentioned above are food vendors this year at ACL.

☐ koozie – to keep your beverage cool (and not have to buy one for $3 at the festival).

☐ picnic blanket – so you don’t get your bum dirty when you inevitably decide to take a load off and lay down in the grass / dirt.

☐ chapstick – because nothing is worse than dry, chapped lips with no end in sight. Try to buy one with SPF 30+ so your lips don’t get burned.

☐ foldable chair – the past two times I’ve been to ACL, I’ve brought collapsible chairs with me and I’ve been infinitely happier. There’s nothing better than comfortably parking yourself in the grass on a chair, your beer in the built-in cup holder, listening to some Eric Church. Just make sure you can swing the chair over your shoulder or carry it in your bag… otherwise it’d be a pain in the bum to lug around.

And remember to have fun!

Did I leave anything off the checklist? Who are you excited to see this year at Austin City Limits Music Festival?

Keep an eye out on my blog for my complete ACL review, coming later this week!


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