I Went To Three More Days Of ACL

Surviving ACL 2014On Monday, I was tired. The four days between ACL Weekends included a day of recovery, a full week’s work of the day job in three days and quite a bit of time editing photos. Then three more days of fun, jams and mud – and not necessarily in that order. But it was time for entertaining out of town guests, playing tour guide, eating the best festival food and navigating through the depths humanity with a soundtrack provided by festival bands.

The first weekend, we were “working”. By working, we went to see a band, retreated to the media tent to give my back a respite from two big assed cameras and give RayRay and Nathan’s live a pasting. Here is the place ACL excels over all other festivals for us. The vendors, sponsors and staff all work hard to make our lives lovely. Kind, El Chili, Tom’s, Daily Greens, Jim Beam, Tito’s, Miller Lite, Topo Chico <- THANK YOU ALL!

You have seen the results of that first weekend HERE, HERE and HERE.

So yeah, we have a skewed and privileged view of the festival.

Weekend 2, I have a group of friends that are part of a yearly ritual to stand on the grass, drink $8 beers, curse the masses and dance anyway. Let’s talk about life at the fest. Full disclosure, I was able to get the necessary wristband to bring in a detachable lens camera. Judging by the looks of things, I was the only person that tried to bring in a detachable lens camera that was stopped. Again, thanks to the media/PR team for helping me bring the crowd perspective.

One of the greatest things ever added to ACL was the craft beer tent. Get me out of the sun, get me the scores, get me a damn good beer for the same price as the regular bars and take a seat at a picnic table or pop a squat on astroturf. It is a melting pot of sports fans and husbands left behind as wives go see Paolo Nutini.

Next, East Side Kings dominates brussel sprouts. It was a salad type thing based on the sprouts of love accompanied by greens and veggies, truly brilliant. The steamed buns, the fried chicken, both also delicious. We also had the Tamale Addiction tamales (duh). Organic, local, vegan option, love you people, the best hot sauces in the fest. Near the food was merch, and quite a bit of it. Mydol, hats, vintage tees, flash tattoos (the single biggest thing fashion-wise this year), ACL-branded gear – local people selling sundries.

Let’s talk music. Chromeo may have been my favorite thing. It is dance music for people that normally hate dance music. If you like dance music, you will severely boogie. Environment. There are other bands that are meant for be listened to in a field. Interpol strangely worked. The Rosebuds were fantastic early in the day and they played “Get Up, Get Out”. The Replacements were better and worse; musically better on the first weekend, the festival spectacle of overalls and a hammock on stage made second weekend more fun. The BMI stage was my other favorite thing. Future Unlimited destroyed their set and Rey Pila confirmed praise from the previous weekend while Beat Connection were about the nicest bros with hits to back it up. CHVRCHES had a bigger crowd this time around, while Beck was overpoweringly loud the second weekend so Outkast fans suffered. Miniature Tigers was initially coldly received by the group I dragged their way, but a few lyrics were decoded and we laughed a bit and then danced. We skipped the headliners. Meh.

So finally, a portion of the crowd just craved a little too much attention. “Who let you leave the house wearing that?” was a commonly used phrase. Just stop. Also, don’t leave trash in mud; the people that went shoeless paid the price for your transgressions against the environment. And please recycle. Some enterprising rock and recycle types just checked trash cans (many of which were right next to recycle bins) and were able to fill several bags to gather the freebie tees. Start behaving like a community and less like spring-breakers in a third-world country. Some of us live here. I felt so bad for the great lawn on Monday when we drove by, trampled and dusty after WE1, battered and bruised after WE2. Eventually, ACL will be asked to scale back sales because the City will get tired of closing our best green space for months at a time for rehab. Until then, get online 10/21 for your shot at $225 Early Birds because you know you are addicted.

And now, scenes form the fest…