ACL 2019 Preview: Big and Small Bands To Watch

If you can believe it, (I can’t) we’re less than a month away from two weekends of crazy fun at Zilker Park once again. Whether you’re a veteran fester or new to Austin City Limits Music Festival, we’re here to try and help you navigate a few days in the still-too-hot-for-October-Texas Sun with a few hundred thousand of your closest friends. Click past the jump to check out five of my must see bands, both obvious choices and more under the radar acts. You can buy your tickets / passes here.

Julia Jacklin

Big festivals may not seem like the perfect place for intimate and quiet sets from master songstresses, but on Sunday from 12:30-1:15 on the Honda Stage, we’re gonna have to all buckle up for a set of The Big Sad from Julia Jacklin and company. Jacklin released her latest album,Crushing,at the beginning of the year, and it’s packed both with power bops like “Pressure To Party” and soul crushing deep cuts like “Turn Me Down.” Regardless, Jacklin’s perfect crisp vocals are sure to be the best way to kick off day three of tunes.


Picture this: it’s 2:00pm on Sunday of Weekend Two. You’re a few beers in, the sun is raging, your feet are likely tired from standing, you’ve got a bit of a sunburn going. This is where the real ones show up and show out for IDLES set at 2:00pm on the Honda Stage. If you’ve never seen this band perform live, I’d suggest you take a peek at some of their Tiny Desk set from earlier this year. IDLES are an utter post-punk force, and you can bet they’ll bringing their intensity to ACL. Make sure you show up and show out to scream along with “Scum–” as that’s a whole day 3 festival vibe.

Caroline Rose

Weekend 2 really lucked out in what we call “undercard bands” or those who have a smaller font on the poster and fall near the bottom. One of those is Caroline Rose, who will be playing quite early on Sunday of Weekend 2 at 11:45am on the Miller Lite stage. This set is definitely one to show up early for, as Caroline Rose brings her funky indie rock with great fashion, often including pan flute solos of classic hits, or covers of Britney Spears songs. Rose makes bops with sing along worthy choruses, like “Jeannie Becomes a Mom.”


We typically don’t cover a whole lot of mainstream music on ATH, but even back in 2017, Lizzo was on our radar when she made waves at her SXSW performances. Fast forward two years and the rest of the world has caught on to the immovable force that is Lizzo and she has the #1 song on the Billboard top 100. “Truth Hurts,” “Juice,” “Tempo,” have been everywhere all through 2019, and I don’t care how niche or underground your taste in music is, it would be a crime to miss seeing an artist truly having her moment. Not to mention, there’s bound to be plenty of dancing, both onstage and in the crowd. She’ll be on the Miller Lite Stage both Sundays from 6:00-7:00…make sure you get there a little before her set starts, as she will undoubtedly draw the largest crowd that stage will see.

The Cure

I feel a little like a fool for even including these giants of rock and roll on this list, but recently someone told me that they were doubtful that a band who has been around for 40+ years would still be able to put on a worthwhile headlining set–and I just have to say that’s utterly incorrect. I happened to catch The Cure a few years back at the Erwin center, and caught their 40th anniversary concert film when it was showing at The Drafthouse, and Robert Smith and company still, undoubtedly, got it. Expect all the radio friendly hits you know by heart, as well as a few deeper cuts that will delight longtime fans. Don some dark makeup and tease your hair out a bit for their 2 hour long set on both Saturday nights from 8-10 on the Honda Stage.

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