How to Survive a Music Festival – ACL Day 1

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Austin City Limits Music Festival – Bud Light Stage

Austin City Limits music festival 2010 – the trip that made us realize Austin was the place for us. So this year, we geared up again and dove into three days of music, sweat, mud, crowds…oh yes, and music.

Here are some tips I’ve learned for surviving a music festival:

Hydrate! – At every single festival, there is a list of naysayers who point and jeer at our group when we wander through the ticket line strapped to a Camelbak. Austin City Limits doesn’t allow bringing in outside beverages, but they do let you bring in a Camelbak full of ice. And Camelbak sponsors a free drinking water hose. See where I’m going with this? Yes, it looks like we’re about to trek through the Andes, but we’re still going strong (for free!) when other festival goers start to drop from heat and/or too much non-water beverages… Having an ice pack strapped to your back? That also feels pretty nice standing in the Austin sun.

Sunscreen – We arrived at the festival a little late last night – around 6pm – and already half the people we saw were sporting a pretty bright sunburn. I can see why that might happen – the gates don’t usually open until 11, when the temperature is pretty cool. Then add in the alcohol, and presto! Bright as a tomato. So bring a small bottle with you and remember to re-apply throughout the day, even when it’s cloudy.

– Skirts or dresses for ladies – Three words: port-a-potty. Those things are nasty enough on their own, before the heat and the 70,000 festival-goers. Just imagine dropping pants, shorts, or the pocket-contents of either on the floor of a port-a-potty. Skirts and dresses ladies, stick to skirts and dresses.

– Shoe shopping anyone? – Last night we walked back to our car behind a young lady who thought attending the festival in a cute outfit, with the hippest new shoes, was an excellent idea…until she had to walk two miles to her car after 10 hours of walking back and forth between stages, standing in long lines for a beer or one of the famous Mighty cones, and jumping up and down with the crowd during The Black Keys‘ performance of Lonely Boy. So give yourself an excuse for some extra shoe shopping and find some comfortable shoes. I found a pair of Croc mary janes that do the trick for me – they are cute, stand up well to mud (and who knows whatever else you stand in at a festival), and don’t leave me with too many blisters at the end of the three days.

A little bit of prep is so worth it when no sunburn, hangover, blister, or lost keys/wallet can stand in the way of watching the sun go down while listening to the etherial sound of Florence & The Machine standing in the most amazing city that you now get to call home 🙂

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Florence & The Machine

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The Black Keys

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M83

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