Fest Preview Friday: Local Love at ACL Festival 2018 (Weekend One)

Y’all! We are straight up one month away from another ACL Festival! I know you’re all stoked to see Paul McCartney and Arctic Monkeys and Childish Gambino and The National, but what would ACL be without a little love for some great bands making sweet tunes right here in our city? You know we here at the ATH love to keep it local, so you can bet your bums this is a post dedicated to getting yourself to Zilker Park early every day and showing up for that band you saw at Cheer Up’s a few months back. Or if you’re less versed in the local scene (how?) now’s the time for you to figure out that there’s some solid bands here (duh). Wanna be that knowledgeable guy/girl that gets to brag to your friends from out of town about what a great choice you’ve made to move to the Live Music Capitol of the World? Click through the jump to get a preview of your (possibly) new favorite Austin bands.

RF SHANNON: Friday 10/5 – 11:15 BMI STAGE

Local or not, RF Shannon is one of the bands I’m most excited to see in general come October. The project of Shane Renfro, this outfit has been growing their brand of desert psych blues for quite some time now. Their latest effort,Trickster Blues, which came out earlier this year, is full of hits that will surely translate well to a sunny lawn. You truly have no excuse to skip this one: it’s the first day of the fest, you already took off work, so slather yourself up with some sunscreen and make 11:15 your date with your first beer and first band of the 2018 festival. Having doubts? Take a listen to the hazy dream of “I’m Only Dying” from the band.



Molly Burch has been a buzzing local act for a while; you may have seen her open for a wide number of bigger touring bands in the past year or so, but she’s recently signed to Captured Tracks, and dropped two singles gaining wider attention. These new tracks have shown Burch with a bit more spark than her past work, with her stark vocals still at the forefront of the tunes. You can expect a chill set, but one with just the right amount of fire to be a graceful awakening to your day two.


Jackie Venson is the set that you didn’t know was going to stick with you for the whole fest, but I’m telling you this right now so you don’t miss out. Armed with a loop pedal, this lady commands the stage alone. I had the pleasure of catching her play about a month ago without having listened to a single tune and left the set utterly charmed by her captivating, St. Vincent-esque, shredding on the guitar. Easy to fall for, her performance is a must catch.


Sabrina Ellis is a force in the Austin music scene. You may know her better from the loud and fast presence of A Giant Dog, but Sweet Spirit gives you a little bit of a mellower vibe. Well, not really, but definitely more cut and dry rock music. You can bet the performance in a festival setting will be all high energy and furious rock and roll. This one isn’t even an early set; no excuses people.


If you haven’t heard of Golden Dawn Arkestra at this point, I’m going to have to ask you to crawl out from the rock you’ve been living under and get with the damn program. More than a collective than a band, this outfit will light your ACL day one on fire with their cinematic, psychedelic, outright contagious energy. Expect elaborate costumes and jams that will have even those that bring camp chairs on their feet and dancing along.

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