Austin City Limits Captivates Texas During Solar Eclipse Weekend


A few weekends ago, tens of thousands flocked to Austin, Texas to see some of their favorite artists perform at the longtime exalted Austin City Limits Festival. While it was October and fall had begun, the sun managed to provide a marvelous glow and warmth to the festival for both weekends! Having a lineup featuring Portugal the Man, The 1975, Thirty Seconds to Mars, and Hozier to name a few, the weekend was sure to be one for the books.

ACL Fest is huge on making sure people can recycle and compost properly, and this year they partnered with TURN cups to provide reusable cups for all drinks that could be returned to enter you in a drawing for upgrades such as VIP wristbands and more. Of course, ACL Eats returned this year and provided attendees with tons of amazing food options by partnering with some of the best food trucks in Austin. Along with ACL Eats, the festival had an area designated for wine drinks that included colorful picnic tables under a big tree with decoration and lights creating an atmosphere inside the festival to get away from the chaos and relax. Austin Kiddie Limits made a return again this year to provide a fun experience for those with children attending the festival, which is an amazing way the festival shows their support for parents who love ACL. With all these features, along with the sponsor stands like Hulu House, American Express photo experience, and T-Mobile Club Magenta, there was never a dull moment at the festival.

Day 1

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Ambient Dream Pop artist Ethel Cain took the IHG stage Friday afternoon for an unforgettable performance. It was obvious that simply her presence was enough to make fans swoon, and with having a packed crowd, she certainly had her hands full. Singing songs like ‘American Teenager’ and ‘A House In Nebraska’, Cain provided an ethereal set of emotion and bliss that transformed the area into a movie. Being a powerful figure in the music industry for the LGBTQ+ community via her transition story, the performance was highly powerful for a multitude of people attending. Amazingly, she came down to the rail multiple times to be close up and hands on with her fans, which certainly made the year of those lucky to be at the front. With such a personal and heartfelt performance, Ethel Cain left her fans in awe at the talent and wonder she provided.

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Next up on Friday was Trap Hip Hop artist Lil Yachty. Taking the American Express stage, Lil Yachty had a huge crowd for his set. Bringing no disappointment to fans, Yachty provided an energetic set complete with backup vocalists on stage to help enhance the performance. While the beginning started off a bit slower, he quickly shifted gears to a bigger, more energetic set that featured some of his best songs. Overall, Yachty gave a performance that matched his music and fans were certainly satisfied whether this was their first time at his concert or their tenth.

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Lastly was Portugal the Man taking over the Miller Light Stage. Bringing Alt Psychedelic Rock to ACL, this band had people flocking to catch their set before getting a good spot at one of the closers. Something really cool about the set was the beginning where two native american girls were allowed to speak on the change that is needed for their people in our country. It was a beautiful thing Portugal did in allowing these girls to have a huge venue to share their message. A big aspect of their set was the visuals and lighting. While the stage was relatively dark in having the band mainly as silhouettes, the light show provided was definitely a unique factor for the day. Along with that, the energy provided was tremendous and flowed into the crowd to provide an amazing set for not just the fans but the artists too. If you’ve never been to a Portugal the Man concert, then you truly are missing out on a powerful essence of music and performance.

Day 2

The second day of the festival had a really cool opportunity for attendees. Those that arrived when the gates first opened were able to experience a ring of fire solar eclipse while they were at the music festival, and the best part was that Austin fell almost perfectly in the path of the eclipse! It was certainly an extraordinary event for the eclipse to fall during the festival.

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First up for Saturday was Alt-Rock band Thirty Seconds to Mars. With frontman Jared Leto taking the Honda stage, the crowd was packed with fans of him and his band. Being a huge name in film and music, he made sure to bring a show that went above and beyond, literally! To start out, Leto appeared high above the stage on a platform singing his opening number. If you’ve been to a festival with them performing before, you know where this is leading. As the first song came to an end, he jumped off the platform and fell all the way down to the stage in a moment that was baffling, jaw-dropping, and overall crazy for fans to witness. This was just the beginning for Thirty Seconds to Mars. Leto performed a few more songs with the same overflowing energy that poured into everyone within sight. The outfit he wore was astonishing and matched the essence the band provided that day. Being the most lively artist of the weekend, Leto made sure to hold nothing back. Hoping off the stage at one point, Leto not only came close to several areas of the front rail, but also made sure to go down the aisle that split the crowd, giving tons of fans a close up and personal experience. After giving the fans a more interactive moment, Leto allowed the photographers to all come on stage to take photos for two songs. This was a crazy experience since most photographers don’t get stage access, especially at a festival, so it really showed the bands appreciation for what we do as photographers. For the whole set, Leto and his band members never lost energy, but actually kept increasing their spirit and enthusiasm, which made for a truly unforgettable hour at ACL.

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Closing the night at the Honda stage was the heavily praised Alt Indie band, The 1975. Led by frontman Matty Healy, this band from Manchester has made waves in the industry with their sound. Currently being on a North American Tour, ‘Still at Their Very Best,’ the band set ACL as their last festival in the United States before their recently announced hiatus. That being said, the crowd was huge as most fans saw this as possibly their last opportunity to see The 1975 live for the near future. Playing some of their most popular songs such as ‘Somebody Else’, ‘I’m In Love With You,’ and ‘Love It If We Made It,’ Healy and the band gave ACL their all and left no fan disappointed. The display screens were black and white for the whole set, creating a safe, homey feel to the night. As always, it wouldn’t be a 1975 show without Healy taking some shots on stage from his flask and brandishing a lit cigarette to puff on during the set. Whether someone was a fan from the start, new to their music, or had never heard a song from them before, The 1975 gave everyone a show that solidified attendees enjoyment for their unique art.

Day 3

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First up for the last day of the festival was Country artist, Corey Kent. Taking the BMI stage on Sunday afternoon during golden hour, Corey had a smaller crowd for his set which made it a more personal concert for his fans. Don’t let the smaller stage fool you, he brought the same energy as the headliners did, and gave everyone a set filled with his top songs. He even made sure to play a newer song that had yet to be released so his fans could get something special out of his ACL set. Playing hits like ‘Wild As Her,’ ‘Something’s Gonna Kill Me,’ and ‘Highways,’ Corey didn’t hold back and gave an hour of country music that would make anyone turn their head and listen. Since he resides in Texas, this was a set he won’t forget soon and was something meaningful to him as an artist since he got to perform for the state he loves. While ACL doesn’t bring in many country artists, it was a nice shift from the other genres of the weekend, and fans who attended would agree that Corey Kent left it all on stage.

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Next up for Sunday was the highly anticipated Hozier. Having made a name for himself throughout the years since his breakout song ‘Take Me To Church,’ Hozier has created a unique sound by mixing blues, R&B, and Indie genres together. Interestingly, this style he created has grown huge for his fans, giving him a following of over 28 million listeners on spotify. This was obvious with his crowd size at the American Express stage. While he wasn’t closing the night, the amount of fans that attended his set made it seem like he was the only artist at the moment with how far his crowd stretched. Performing some of his biggest hits, Hozier gave his all to ACL during golden hour of all times, which was the perfect setting for his style of music. The glow gave fans a much richer experience and helped create the euphoric atmosphere for his set. Never letting down on energy, Hozier provided all attendees a set overflowing with talent that had everyone on cloud nine.

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Closing the night on Sunday was EDM artist Odesza. This music duo has been making huge waves in the electronic music industry with their enchanting sound and unique concert experience. Incorporating things like a snare drum line, full trap sets for both of the artists, intoxicating light shows, and special guests, Odesza made the last night of the fest one to never forget. By providing fans with a concert experience unlike any other, these guys were the ones to see before the festival came to an end. Along with the fascinating lights and visuals, the guys used fireworks along with ‘dancing’ flames to give a powerful moment to some of their best drops. It seemed like everyone in attendance would’ve been fine if they continued for over two hours, and with a crowd like that, Odesza could definitely feel the energy and even fed off it with how they performed on stage. While EDM isn’t everyone’s first choice in music, the guys of Odesza have created an incredible experience with their concerts, which should be attended by everyone at least once in your life.

Even though some genres of music are left out more than others at ACL, those who attend experience unforgettable memories while seeing some of their favorite artists. And if the price for a ticket might seem a bit steep for some, when you really think about it, the cost to attend doesn’t even come close to the amount someone could spend in order to see all these artists individually. All in all, Austin City Limits was a weekend filled with amazing music, great friends, and delicious food. Texas locals and out of towners alike are certainly looking forward to what this festival has to bring for 2024.

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